Debit cards have always been a security concern, and here’s yet another good reason to get rid of them if you have any. A new scam targeting debit card users leverages the airlines to (usually) successfully get your cash – and the bank issuing the debit card will typical not cover the fraud. Here’s how it works.
Cybercriminals steal your debit card info from a store or shop where you used it for a payment. Importantly for this scam, they steal both your card number/expiration/CID info and your name & address. Then they go to a major airline and purchase frequent flier miles. They then launder those miles to another Point program (such as for a hotel chain). They may move the points additional times until they get them to some point program where they may be redeemed for cash or used to make a product purchase.
Here’s where it gets nasty.
You find out about the fraud, immediately contact the bank that issued you the card, and they “open an investigation”. They will contact the airline who will confirm that you (cybercriminal using your name) made the purchase at which point your bank will deny the claim – after all, you made the purchase. So your money is gone. If you try and contact the airline about the purchase they will refuse to talk with you because they ‘want to protect the identity of the purchaser’ – even though it’s you. This irony is just some salt on the wound.
Your only recourse at that point will be to request the bank’s investigation info and try to pursue the fraud yourself. This will likely be a hopeless task as the cost in time and expenses will be almost certain to exceed the couple of hundred dollars of the fraud. So the takeaway? Don’t use debit cards. You have better protection with a credit card.
Everyone stay safe out there!