Debit card terminals breached at Michaels stores in Maryland: Naughty Business of the Week

May 17, 2011|By Liz F. Kay

Maryland crafters should check their banking statements carefully if they have recently used debit cards at Michaels Stores in Howard, Anne Arundel or Montgomery counties.

These stores in Columbia, Ellicott City, Hanover, Rockville and Wheaton were among those in 20 states where PIN pads were quarantined by the company due to suspicions of tampering. A full list of Michaels stores that were impacted was posted on the company website. The chain has almost 1,000 stores across the United States.

Some customers had money stolen directly from their bank accounts via ATM withdrawals, according to the Chicago Tribune, which is why we're highlighting it as our Naughty Business of the Week.

If you believe  there has been unauthorized use of your card, contact your debit card issuer immediately.

And think carefully when you consider whether to use your debit card, a credit card or cash for a transaction.

There are fewer consumer protections for debit --- according to the Federal Trade Commission, you would only be liable for $50 if you report losses within two days of the transaction, and up to $500 for alerting them within 60 days of receiving your bank statement. After that, under federal law, if you don’t dispute the charges within 60 days of receiving your bank statement, you could be on the hook for all of it, according to the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse.

Even if your bank makes promises that go further than what’s required of them, always remember that unlike credit, it’s your own money on the line. Should your account be compromised, it may take your financial institution some time to investigate and restore your funds to you.

Which option do you choose more frequently --- credit or debit?

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