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Is Your Pin Safe at Stores?

Many consumers have become concerned with the safety of their day-to-day transactions following the rash of retail security breaches this last holiday season.


Consumers have been given plenty of reasons to fear using their debit card at department stores in the past six to 12 months. Big time retailers have been hit by hackers who are stealing important customer financial information. When your financial information is compromised, it can put your entire identity at risk. Good hackers can use your debit PIN to access information that could result in new credit cards in your name that you know nothing about. By the time you find out about these credit cards, your financial history and identity have been severely compromised.

I like using my debit card at department stores because it is tied to my bank account and prevents me from using credit. But I am well aware of the dangers of using my debit card and I definitely do not want my PIN number on the hard drives of hackers all over the world. If you want to keep your debit PIN number off the computer drives of criminals all over the world, here are some tips you can follow to protect your information.

Keep Your PIN A Secret

We avoid computer problems by making sure that no one else uses our computers. You should take the same approach to your debit card PIN number. You should be the only person who enters your PIN number into the card machine at any retailer you visit. It is very easy for your PIN to wind up on the hard drives of identity thieves when you give the number out to clerks at the stores you visit. Always make sure that only you know your PIN number when you do a financial transaction at your favorite store.

Be Smart Online

The computer drives in our computers retain the information we give when we go online. A hacker only needs to be able to get into your computer to find your debit PIN, because it is probably sitting on your hard drive. When you shop online, only utilize reputable retailers who have a reputation for using the latest in Internet security methods. Do some research on which retailers have the best records for protecting the critical information of their clients and keep your PIN number out of the hands of criminals.

Be Vigilant When Using Your Card

If you are using your debit card and there are people in line behind you, then shield the keypad so that no one else can see what you are doing. Most debit machines already have visual blockers to help protect your PIN number, but never assume that those blockers offer all of the protection you need. Input your PIN number quickly so that it is hard to make out what you are doing, and be vigilant in protecting your PIN from others in line.

Don't Write Your PIN Down

One of the biggest mistakes people make with their debit cards is they write down the PIN and then carry it with them. When you are in a store, you never know who you will bump into or what will happen. If your wallet or purse is stolen, then call your card company immediately to cancel your card. Enhance your PIN protection by making sure that the thief who has your purse or wallet also does not have your PIN number as well. It only takes a few moments to withdraw funds from your account. Don't make it easy on a criminal by handing over your PIN number as well.

When you have computer problems, you do the right thing and call a professional repair technician. You should take the same common sense approach to protecting your debit card PIN as well. When you are out shopping with your debit card, always protect your PIN with the respect it deserves.

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