Color of Money: Protect yourself from debit card crooks

Michelle Singletary on

I won't use any ATMs that don't belong to my financial institution. I limit the use of my debit card to just a few places. I don't use it to get gas, since the pumping machines have been particularly vulnerable.

Be leery of stand-alone machines and ATMS located in convenience stores, especially if they are placed in a spot out of the view of store clerks. FICO said that most compromises occur at non-bank ATMS.

-- If you use an ATM and your card isn't returned immediately, contact your financial institution right away. It might be that the crooks staged the capture of your card.

-- Be mindful of the people standing around you. If someone is positioned just a little too close, don't complete your transaction. (I give the person a look that says, "You better back up.")

-- Regularly check your bank account. I have set up online alerts for all my accounts -- credit and debit. I get an email whenever a purchase or withdrawal is made.

-- Be sure that all your contact information -- address, email, and mobile number -- is updated on all your accounts. You don't want a possible fraud alert from your bank to bounce back.

I'm not telling you all this to put you in a panic. But just be careful out there.


Readers can write to Michelle Singletary c/o The Washington Post, 1301 K St., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20071. Her email address is Follow her on Twitter (@SingletaryM) or Facebook ( Comments and questions are welcome, but due to the volume of mail, personal responses may not be possible. Please also note comments or questions may be used in a future column, with the writer's name, unless a specific request to do otherwise is indicated.

(c) 2017, Washington Post Writers Group



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