Expert: Avoid Using Debit Cards for Now

Thursday, 04 Sep 2014 12:38 PM

By Melissa Clyne

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Americans should be wary of using debit cards until late 2015, when smart cards with computer chips become standard in the United States, cybersecurity expert Steven J.J. Weisman said Thursday on Newsmax TV's "America's Forum."

Other countries already have smart cards, which provide a unique number for each transaction from an individual chip, but the United States lags behind because U.S. retailers don't yet have readers for the smart cards and probably won't until October 2015, when regulations call for fraudulent charges to be passed on to retailers instead of consumers, says Weisman.

"So, until that time there really isn't a financial incentive for the companies to undergo the costly change to the new equipment," he said.

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Weisman predicts more mass security breaches similar to those that have taken place at Target and, most recently, Home Depot.

"I actually have more concerns now following the breach of security at Home Depot, which is going to occur with other retailers again and again in the upcoming months," he said. "It's partly because the same kind of malware sent by the same eastern European hackers that went to Target, went to PF Chang's, was what was behind it at Home Depot as well."

He said hackers steal card numbers and then post them on online black-market websites where they are sold to identity thieves.

Until smart cards become available, Weisman recommends that consumers use credit cards – which limit the amount you have to pay in the event of a theft – and cash, as well as monitor card usage.

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