by Tony Rushin
Question: What’s the fastest growing crime in human history? Hint: it’s growing even faster than liquor smuggling in prohibition.
Answer: identity theft – by a long shot.
Not a surprise that organized crime is heavily involved.
I recently sat through a session on identity theft at the Vistage All-City event in Atlanta. The speaker made it clear that there are two types of people in the world: those who have already had their identity stolen… and those who will. Identity theft can’t be stopped but here are two simple tips I learned to help you protect yourself:
1) Don’t use your debit card
2) Never use a free-standing ATM
Don’t Use Your Debit Card
Your credit card provides a “firewall” between the credit card company and your bank account and you have 60 days to report fraudulent activity on your account. Debit cards, on the other hand, go right to your checking account and you only have 10 days to report fraudulent activity – often before you get your statement. The highest risk locations for identity theft: hotels and gas stations. If you really want to use your debit card, at least don’t use it at hotels and gas stations. Here’s a good article: “Top 10 Places NOT to Use Your Debit Card”.
Never Use a Free-Standing ATM
Here are the ATMs I’m talking about:
You see them at festivals, convenience stores, night clubs and other places. They are the easiest kinds of ATMs for bad guys to install a skimmer, camera or other device that could steal your debit card information. In addition they often aren’t well lit and often don’t have security cameras pointed at them.
With the holidays fast approaching be extra vigilant since the bad guys will be lurking even more than usual.