Consumer Alert! Checking your Checking

The illegal database of hacked bank card numbers is expanding exponentially in leaps and bounds..  it scares the crap out of me, and should scare you, too.  There are so many numbers available that many identity thieves aren't sure they can make any money by hacking into them anymore!  You know what the latest ID theft craze is?  Stealing PIN numbers.  That way, according to consumer guru Clark Howard, they can steal the PIN, combine it with the bank card number and empty out your checking account.  Banks are not quick to cooperate, because they blame YOU for any misuse of your PIN, and if your account is overdrafted, they make money that way, too!  Money you may not get back.

America's enormous problem with all this is, our bank card number security systems are decades out of date.  Howard says many countries in Europe (as with any offshore transfer or tax haven, let's say..) have much more advanced systems of encryption that U.S. banks don't use.  Their security revolves around a bank card "chip" that's only encoded to let you move the money yourself.

Since we're far behind on our security to fight hackers, you've gotta fight back.

Use online checking.  If you're not online with your bank, get online.  You have absolutely got to view all transactions on your checking account every day, seven days a week.. since presumably the bad guys don't take a holiday!  At least by "checking your checking" you'll be able to track whether anyone has stolen your number.

If this advice helps you protect your precious earnings, it'll make my day.  Keep in touch on how often you monitor your money!    Ralph

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