Protect yourself from debit and credit card skimming

You may want to think twice next time you use your debit card.

The FBI says criminals are coming up with new, more sophisticated ways to get their hands on your debit and credit card numbers. It's important to monitor your accounts now, more than ever.

Marc Futoran got an alarming phone call from his bank about a suspicious transaction. "Someone in Canada was apparently buying train tickets in France with my debit card number," said Marc Futoran.

Futoran knew he still had his debit card in his pocket. He had no idea how someone got his card number, but said the bank told him it may have been a skimming scheme. That's when computer-savvy thieves access debit and credit card numbers online or with the help of a computer program.

"My number was one of the ones that came up as a potential useable. They decided to use it and they got away with some of the money," said Futoran.

The FBI said thieves are putting a new twist on the old technique. Criminals don't just skim your information from a device on an ATM.

"Even online, there are people that are selling credit card and debit card numbers, so you can actually go online to sites and purchase known credit card numbers and debit cards," said FBI Special Agent Vicki Anderson.

Futoran is grateful the thief only withdrew $111 from his account. Experts say the charges aren't always going to be big and elaborate. "A $100 charge on this card, $100 on somebody else's card, it adds up for the bad guy. And it may go unnoticed, because it's such an insignificant amount in some people's credit card statements," said Anderson.

Fifth Third Bank is now warning other customers to be vigilant in monitoring their accounts. "Online thieves are becoming increasingly smart about how they get into your account, so it's really important to make sure you use a secured website when you're making online purchases, and that you're checking your statement daily to ensure accuracy of your transactions," said John Slavik, the Northeast Ohio Retail Regional Manager for Fifth Third Bank.

With the sale of debit and credit card numbers rampant on the internet and the programs that make it easy to skim your number, be extra vigilant.

Consumer Reports recommends you don't use your debit card online. Google your name to see if your card numbers have been stolen or can be easily found online.

Print this article Back to Top