Criminals turning to debit card scams

Many consumers may be using their debit cards to make purchases more often these days in an effort to avoid credit card debt, and criminals are reacting accordingly.

A growing number of thieves are now targeting debit cards for theft, rather than credit cards, and this shift means a greater risk to consumers, according to a report from the Christian Science Monitor. This is because most debit card accounts don’t have nearly as much fraud protection as credit accounts, leaving victims of theft scams responsible for a larger amount of money.

If debit card fraud is not reported within two business days of its occurrence, current regulations dictate the victim is responsible for up to $500 in the lost funds, the report said. This is compared to just $50 for credit cards, because funds lost in debit fraud is real money that was controlled by a bank.

Debit has become far more popular with consumers since the end of the recession, which forced many Americans to change their spending habits so that they took on less debt.