I was at a conference in Nashville, TN the first time someone stole my identity. My bank thinks they probably accessed everything through my debit card, which I used exclusively on the trip. The second time it happened, it was also through my debit card transactions.

According to an article by Business Insider, FICA claims debit card fraud increased by 10% last year. And since debit cards are linked to bank accounts, they don't offer as much protection as your credit card does. So having your debit card info stolen is worse than a credit card, because they can access your actual money.

There are situations where using cash is better...although I rarely carry it. And I only use my credit card for big purchases like plane tickets or hotels when I go on a big vacation. So my debit card gets the biggest workout on a daily basis. If you're the same way, bankrate.com says these are the four spots where you need to be really cautious.

1. ATMs that aren't associated with an actual bank. They're easier to hack, and more
likely to have card skimmers, which are little devices that look like a normal card
reader. But they steal your information.

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2. Gas pumps. They're another popular place for card skimmers. Make sure you take a
really good look at the card reader before you use your card. Or better yet, go inside
to pay.

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3. Bars & Restaurants. This is where I think I got ripped off in Nashville. These are one
of the few places where someone else runs your card. So your waiter could use a
handheld card skimmer.  r they could just take a photo of your card and use your info
to buy stuff online. In my case they went on a grocery store and fast food binge.

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4. On the Internet. This may be the scariest one as far as I'm concerned. Bankrate.com
says using your debit card for ANY online purchase isn't a great idea, because there
are so many ways your info can get stolen. You could have malware on your
computer and not know it. Someone could be eavesdropping through your WI-FI. Or
the website you're on could save your info and get hacked in six months. Which is
why a lot of experts say using your debit card online is the single RISKIEST thing you
can do with it.

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