Robert Siciliano Identity Theft Expert

There are 437 million debit cards in circulation and their use is on the rise. Criminal hackers are paying attention. Study shows fraud and losses are expected to rise as much as 10%. When a debit card is compromised the money stolen comes from your bank account opposed to the banks or credit card companies.

Further, there are many more layers or protection for the credit card holder versus the debit card holder. Federal laws max out liability for credit card fraud at $50.00 as long as the card holder disputes the transaction within 60 days. Debit card holders only have 2 days to notify the bank who issued the card to keep the maximum liability at $50.00. After that the liability jumps to $500.00 within those 60 days. If you wait beyond the 60 days whether for a credit card or a debit card then your liability could be the entire card balance!

Your mom didn’t tell you that did she?

Problem here is once the debit card is compromised you may not find out until your checks bounce or the card is declined. Once you have funds back in the account they can start all over again, unless you nuke the account. Sometimes canceling the account is the only option.

Known scams;

Bait and switch: When making online purchases you may be prompted to make an additional purchase that you think is a one time fee, but is actually an ongoing monthly debit that is almost impossible to get out of. That’s when canceling your card is the only way out. While this isn’t criminal hacking, its criminal, or at least very slimy marketing. Solution; Read the fine print before you start agreeing to stuff. Just be smart.

Email Phishing: Unless you have been living in a cave, then you have received a phishing email. The problem here is criminal hackers are selling phishing kits to each other that are being designed by prolific hackers accompanied by teams of psychologists and sociologists. They know what makes you tick and click links. They also have an editorial calendar reflecting the scam of the holiday seasons or breaking news. They are organized and sophisticated. Long gone are the days of misspellings and weird emails. These are professionals. Further, as we “turn off the paper” and get more and more statements online, criminals are duplicating that process sending “statement notification” emails. Solution; if you believe it to be a phish, just delete. Otherwise NEVER click on links. Go to your favorites menus or manually type in the link in the address bar.

ATM, Gas Pump Skimming; Skimming is one of the financial industry’s fastest-growing crimes, according to the U.S. Secret Service. Also, the worldwide ATM Industry Association reports over $1 billion in annual global losses from credit card fraud and electronic crime associated with ATMs. Thieves actually place a hard device on the face of the ATM that looks like the ATM. It’s almost impossible for a civilian to know the difference unless they have an eye for security, or the skimmer is of poor quality. Often the thieves will mount a small pinhole camera on the side of the ATM in a brochure holder to extract the victims pin number. Its not just ATMs that are potential marks, gas pumps are just as vulnerable. Solution; pay very close attention during the transaction. If something seems wrong it is wrong. Look for 2 sided tape, removable features on the machine, card sticking inside the reader, or additional mirrors or brochure holders that may have a small camera inside.

1. Prevent new account fraud. Get a credit freeze. Go to and follow the steps for your particular state. This is an absolutely necessary tool to secure your credit. In most cases, it prevents new accounts from being opened in your name. This makes your Social Security number useless to a potential identity thief.

2. Invest in Intelius Identity Theft Protection and Prevention. While not all forms of identity theft can be prevented, you can effectively manage your personal identifying information by knowing what’s buzzing out there in regards to YOU.

Robert Siciliano Identity Theft Speaker discussing ATM skimming on Fox News Here and credit card fraud on CNBC Here

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