Is it just me or has this come as a wake up call for personal privacy and banking protection?
I remember when the debit card first hit the scene. In California, a certain gas station charged you if you used the debit card, a 20 cent transaction fee. But the banks were pushing the use, because it would reduce the number of humans it would take process your purchases, and some would reward you for not using checks and swiping instead.
It seems we have come full circle! It just might be safer to use checks again.
I shopped at Target during the recent data theft, not once but several times. It is the closest multi-retailer (general merchandise/groceries/pharmacy) to me. I don’t have any idea, if any of my data was stolen. I waited about 3 days:
- to see what Target would tell us
- listened to the news about what we should do
- and then I went to the banks.
So far the only answer that has really been given is monitor your statements. I don’t know about you, but it is not always easy to remember where you spent your money, I mean really… if you manage a house you swipe a lot!!!
We have all been conditioned that the cards are a safe way to transfer money from your account to the retailers account, debit was immediate, and we have been told that credit gives you protection of a credit card. Well I am here to tell you it does not. I did not do an in-depth study, I did not contact any ‘knowitalls’ in the banking/money industry. I did a little reading, here and here, asked a couple of questions and then put that together with some common sense.
I cancelled the possible compromised card and had the bank issue a new one. We monitor our accounts almost daily. It is so easy these days, but even with a checkbook, I forget that I WROTE a check and that is nearly as rare as hens teeth! After living in South Africa, where banking fraud, skimming credit cards, and phishing scams are frequent we are more vigilant than ever about banking and theft.To prove the point, the DH was looking at the banking info the on Monday, he asked did I buy anything from a place called Tickets Direct in Utah for $300 plus? Nope. He immediately called the bank to report the fraud (and cancelled the card). It took 4 days for it to be resolved, but the money was taken from our account while the charge was pending and eventually reversed. If you were living close to the ‘bank balance’ edge, then a $300 charge could cause problems. For the record, a CREDIT CARD is the only card that has real consumer protections, a DEBIT CARD does NOT!
To protect ourselves, we have opened another checking account. This one is not linked to our main account. It is with the same bank for easy transfer of money from one account to the other. Now we will have an account for shopping in the stores and online (-along with PayPal), and if compromised the thieves won’t get everything, just the limited funds we add to the account. I don’t want to wade through the mess if someone got access to the main account…. mortgage payment, insurance payments, utilities -never mind all the fees the bank will charge for overdrafts and the letter writing. The loss of actual money is not the worst thing that can happen. Your credit will be damaged and your identity could also be stolen or severely compromised. What I don’t understand is why the banks have not encouraged everyone to cancel the card they used at Target or other compromised retailer? It will cost a few cents… but better that than bankrupt customers.
What have you been told? What are you doing to protect yourself?
More later. Beth