My friend did not use her debit card very often. But one day her financial institution’s fraud department alerted her that that her card was being used to simultaneously charge $1000 at a truck stop in El Paso AND charge hundreds of dollars at various home furnishing stores in Rockwall. My friend was in neither place while those debits were occurring. Fortunately, after filling out and signing some forms, she was able to get her money back. But what happened? And how do you prevent it?

In her case, there were a couple of possibilities. She had recently used the card to buy lunch at a restaurant in the area. As is typical in these types of establishments, her card was out of her sight for a few minutes while the debit transaction was being processed. The server could’ve used an easily concealable handheld device to “skim” the card and store the information for later use. Skimmers are easily available online and can be used in situations like this to steal card information. Continue reading