Imagine my surprise on Friday when on my way home from work, my debit card was denied at a local restaurant. I checked the expiration date. 2016. I asked them to run it again. Denied again. I used another card and went home and immediately checked my account balance. My account still showed the correct balance. I then called my financial institution and asked what was going on. To my shock, they notified me that 4 transactions had been flagged on my account. The purchases had taken place in Canada and included 2 hotels and a jeans store. No, I didn't take a trip north of the border, I'd been hacked.

Debit card theft is a growing problem simply because we use them so many places. Gas stations, restaurants and online just to name a few. Thieves can steal your card number and pin with simple computer software. That's what happened to my card. They somehow got my number, and then made a new card with my number on it. Fortunately for me, my bank's credit fraud department noticed the unusual purchase history and flagged my account. They saved me hundreds of dollars.

But I am still inconvenienced. I have to wait for my new debit card to arrive. I have to change all the automatic payments online that use that card number. The bottom line is, paying with a debit card may be easy, but it's also proving to be too easy for criminals too.

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