(WFLX) - How often do you use your debit card? According to some experts, there are four places you might not want to use it.
"Some swipes do come with added security risk", according to Adam Levin, co-founder of Credit.com. "When you're talking about debit cards, you're really talking about your money. This is money that's going to be coming out of your bank account almost immediately."
One place, he says, you should not use your debit card: gas stations.
"Gas stations have always been a favorite spot for people who have skimming devices." Skimming devices, recently found on several MetroCard machines, can be attached to card readers by criminals trying to capture data from the magnetic stripe on your card and they can be difficult to spot.
Number two on the list of places not to use a debit card: restaurants."There are people that will take your card; they'll disappear to the back. You have no idea what they're doing."
In some cases, thieves just write down the card numbers. "And the problem is once someone can get into your bank account, they can also use that as a conduit to get into the rest of your life."
Number three: stores. Use cash for small purchases at grocery stores and credit for full cart trips.
Number four: don't use debit cards when shopping online. Instead ask if your bank provides virtual credit cards -- which you use once and then throw away.
Remember that debit cards don't provide the same consumer protection as credit cards, which usually cap a consumers' liability at $50. "And look at your credit and debit card accounts and make absolutely sure that every transaction you see is yours."
If you do fall victim to debit fraud, time is not on your side. If you report your ATM or debit card missing before someone uses it, the Electronic Fund Transfer Act says you are not responsible for any unauthorized transactions. If it's more than two business days later, you could be responsible to pay back up to five hundred dollars. If you wait longer though, you could be out any and all of the money withdrawn from your account.