Sunday, March 12, 2006

Used your Debit Card Lately?

Seems like the Tangos have found the keys to the vault--almost literally.

Apparently up to 200,000 (maybe more) PIN numbers associated with debit cards have been stolen from a data repository of a major retailer. Office Max denies it is to blame.

But fraudulent debit card transactions are NOT like fraudulent credit card transactions:

For starters, different consumer protections apply. Account holders are liable for only up to $50 of credit card fraud — but consumers can be liable for the entire balance of their bank account after debit card fraud, according to federal banking regulations. Many banks voluntarily extend credit card-style protection to debit cards, but they are not required to do so.

Moreover, debit/check/ATM card fraud means money is instantly missing from the consumer's account. That can lead to bounced checks and other hassles. In credit card fraud, consumers generally never lose the money and simply don't pay the bill for the fraud.

Recently, there were rumors that the alternative to using PIN numbers (asking for a 'credit' transaction and signing a receipt) was going to be "officially discouraged" by either the banks or the retailers around the country. This may put a crimp in those plans.

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