Protecting your information: Guard your card - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Protecting your information: Guard your card

(Source: YouTube) (Source: YouTube)
ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Every transaction a person makes using a debit or credit card puts account information at risk to thieves. The new technology means new ways card holders need to protect themselves.

Mackenzie Yost is a college student, she's also one of millions of Americans who have had their debit or credit card information compromised.

"I've actually had to call up my bank and they were like, 'hey I heard that you purchased these things and it was out in California' and I was like, 'I've never been to California,'" explained Yost.

She said somehow a thief obtained her debit card information about a year and a half ago.

"All I know is that I got my money back and everything is fine because I changed my code," said Yost. I changed all of my information for it."

Secret Service Agent Clint Bush says with all of the new technology, anyone can become a victim.

"There's ways to protect yourself, but there's not a way to bulletproof yourself to being a victim," said Agent Bush.

Mark Rober posted a video on YouTube, showing one of the newest ways thieves can get your PIN.

"What I've got here is a device from a company called Flir that just came out on the market and it clips on the back of an iPhone and it displays infrared," he explained.

The device can reveal the numbers pressed on a pin pad.

"The bad guy can figure out the order in which the keys were pressed because the hottest button is likely the one that was pressed last," said Rober.

Shoppers in Albany weren't phased by this latest technique.

"It's thieves, crooks, and everything is out there, so you just have to watch your surroundings," said shopper Helen Mathis.

"They're going to always find a way to do something like that," said shopper Sandra Hamilton.

But there are ways to fight back. "A good way to combat it would probably be to put your hand on the surface where you have punched the keys and rub it around after the person prints your receipt, before you walk away," said Captain Craig Dodd, with the Dougherty County Sheriff's Office.

Experts also suggest hitting the clear button after every transaction.

But that won't work with credit card skimmers, which have become more common and are usually put on the inside of gas pumps.

"Once you run it through, they have your information," said Bush. "I would still encourage you to hit the clear, but at that point you're information has been compromised."

Bush recommends adding fraud alerts and freezes to your accounts and of course monitor activity daily.

And Yost agrees one of the best things to do is be aware. "You see people my age walking around on their phones all the time and you never know what they're doing and you just see so much technology nowadays that it can swindle you in a heartbeat," said Yost.

While the device hasn't yet surfaced in South Georgia, it's likely just a matter of time which is why it's important to protect your information, and always guard your card.

MORE: tips on how to protect yourself

BONUS: See more of the video featured in this story

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