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Former 'catch me if you can' conman warns against using debit cards

Posted: 8:20 AM, Sep 09, 2019
Updated: 2019-09-09 09:20:51-04

Cash is becoming a less common form of payment in the twentieth century. Many of us just simply swipe a debit card to make our daily purchases.

An article from Nasdaq recently indicated that our usage of debit cards has risen dramatically. Between the years 2000 - 2012, the number of debit card payments increased from 8.3 billion to 47 billion in the U.S.A alone, according to the article.

However, a former conman and now-noted security expert is issuing a fresh warning to Americans about their security when using debit cards.

In a recent op-ed published on CNBC.com , Frank Abagnale wrote that a debit card is the "worst financial tool ever given to the American consumer," because in the event of fraud, significant money can be lost with little chances of recovering it.

Abagnale explained that credit cards offer different levels of fraud protection that greatly differ from those offered with a debit card.

There are pro's and con's to using a debit card, according to Lisa Schiller, a spokesperson for the Wisconsin Better Business Bureau.

"Credit cards do offer the most protection," Schiller said.

But she added that doesn't mean debit card users who are victims of a hack will be left out to dry. She said it's important they routinely monitor their bank statements and account for all money being withdrawn from their accounts.

"We always tell people to let the bank know immediately. Even if it's a small charge," Schiller said. "Scammers will start with a small charge, and hope you don't notice it."

"Generally, if you report it right away, it's our understanding you won't have a problem," she added. Schiller said consumers are typically at greater risk of a hack when they're shopping online, so she recommended using a credit card for digital purchases.

"You have more of a chance of running into a problem when purchasing online, especially when it's a company from out of state," Schiller said. "So definitely use a credit card when purchasing online, always."