TYLER (KYTX) - A warning to all debit card users. You could be giving thieves access to your checking account without even realizing it.
New information from Bankrate.Com com shows some places are riskier than others to swipe your card.
We carry plastic with us everywhere. Credit and debit cards are convenient alternatives to cash, but there's a key difference between them.
Credit cards are paid when the bill comes, but with debit cards, the money is taken out of your account almost immediately after a purchase.
Sheyna Steiner with Bankrate.Com says this creates an ideal opportunity for thieves.
"It can happen easily." she says. "I had my debit card information stolen once and didn't find out until I went to buy gas on a day trip, and you know, had to call my bank in a panic."
She says there are four risky places to swipe your debit card.
"Gas stations and outdoor ATMs can be particularly risky because thieves can attach skimming devices to the card slot of either the ATM or the gas station pump. And then, they can set up a camera to watch you inputting your personal identification number."
As a victim of identity theft- Ruby Sheehy says that's something she watches out for regularly.
"I'm real cautious where I use my card and I'm real cautious about the people I'm around and what's going on."
"Are there certain places where you won't use a credit card or debit card?"
"Internet." says Sheehy.
"The Internet is particularly risky." says Steiner. "There's a lot of points of vulnerability in online transactions. You can have malware on your computer, the website you're dealing with could be compromised."
And lastly, restaurants.
"You have to give your card to somebody and they can easily write down your information." she says.
Sheehy knows the consequences of that firsthand.
"I was raised in an era to where you could trust people. Nowadays, you can't." she says.
Steiner recommends using cash or credit cards at these places instead to keep your money safer.
If you see fraudulent charges, you have to let the bank know within 48 hours to legally make sure your liability is capped at $50. You'll want to get on top of that as soon as possible. And, just remember to always keep an eye on your bank account.