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Stating the Obvious: Don’t Share Pictures of Your Credit and Debit Cards Online

This article was written by in Credit. 16 comments.


I’ve shared a lot of personal financial information over the years at Consumerism Commentary. This site’s original purpose was to hold myself accountable for the financial decisions I would make, and I did so for many years by publishing monthly reports that included my net worth. From these, readers could determine bank account balances, credit card usage, and salaries from the jobs I’ve held over that period of time. But I never published credit card numbers, bank account numbers, or my name.

I’d like to think that when it comes to my financial information, I’ve been oversharing, but maintaining some level of privacy. Thanks now to social sharing websites and applications, the internet is now full of people sharing too much financial information. A relatively new Twitter account helps bring this attention forward.

NeedADebitCard Twitter@NeedADebitCard appears to use an automated system to republish the various tweets containing images of credit cards and debit cards — some with names and numbers clearly visible — from around the world.

The updates are not very frequent, a good sign that there is not currently an oversharing epidemic, but it certainly makes it easy for anyone interested in attempting to commit credit card fraud.

If you share an image of your credit card using Instagram or Twitter, you may think that you are sharing with only your friends — all trustworthy people, naturally — but the information is public in many cases. @NeedACreditCard highlights this by retweeting the various images of credit and debit cards.

Some of the original posters have been notified of their privacy blunders or realized their mistakes after the fact, deleting the images containing their names and card numbers or the original Twitter messages that mentioned them. Some of the photo sharing websites involved, like Instagram, worked with the users ignorant of privacy and safety to remove the images, but some of the images remain accessible by anyone with internet access who are aware of the places online to find them. Sharing your card numbers publicly is just asking for trouble.

Thanks to publicity, the @NeedACreditCard feed is significantly shorter than it was previously, thanks to users removing their original Twitter messages.

The consequences of letting other people see your credit or debit card number and name

Putting this personal information onto the internet, even if you think your sharing is private, pretty much guarantees someone will find it and try to use it for illicit purposes. If you realize you’ve shared your information, consider your security breach. Call your credit card company or bank to cancel your account number and ask them to issue you a new one.

If you diligently review your credit card statement, chances are good that you won’t be held liable for any fraudulent charges. Debit cards may cause a different problem. While you may not be liable for transactions you didn’t make, your linked bank account may have a reduced balance — and you may even have an overdrawn account if the perpetrator used the card to buy items costing more than your balance — until the bank rectifies the matter. That could mean important payments, like rent or mortgage, bounce or drive additional overdraft fees. Regardless of the services you have with your bank, someone using your debit card without your permission will result in headaches when attempting to resolve the issue.

Most readers of Consumerism Commentary, I would have to believe, are wise enough not to share their credit card information — in the form of a photograph or otherwise — online, at least not without obscuring personal information. This isn’t a message to regular readers, this is an article that I hope reaches people who may not know better. If you have friends who may benefit from this information, please feel free to share.

Don’t post your credit card information or pictures online, even if just to friends. As the @NeedADebitCard Twitter account description states: “Please quit posting pictures of your debit cards, people.”

Photo: Twitter
TIME

Published or updated July 18, 2012. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.

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About the author

Luke Landes, also known as Flexo, is the founder of Consumerism Commentary. He has been blogging and writing for the internet since 1995 and has been building online communities since 1991. Find out more about him and follow Luke Landes on Twitter. View all articles by .

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Mike Collins

It is basic common sense, but many people simply post anything and everything on social media sites without stopping to consider the consequences.

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avatar Christian L.

Luke,
It’s sad–but also hilarious–that you had to make this public service announcement.

Thanks for the laugh.

-Christian L. @ Smart Military Money

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avatar ECannondale

It is crazy that anyone would put a photo of cards on social media. A low-tech version of theft was on all of the South Florida news this week: A guy standing in line at a convenience store swiped the wallet of a woman while she was paying for her items. She’d left her wallet on the counter — and it was caught on surveillance tape. The perp’s dad saw the video and turned his son in!

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avatar Investor Junkie

Anyone want my Social Security # and my home address? How about the security code for my home alarm?

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avatar Squeezer @Personal Finance Success

What about pictures of cancelled ones?

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avatar Mike

If nothing else, this is just another reminder of how easily people can find what we share in the internet. I wonder… if a bank shared a picture of a “fake” card would they be able to identify the people using them knowing that they are stolen. Don’t know what they would do about it… but it would make for great entertainment.

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avatar LR

I don’t even know why someone would post a pic of their credit card. For what purpose? To prove to your friends you got one? I don’t get it. It’s stupid and seemingly pointless.

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avatar Melissa

Yes, that is what I am wondering too. Why would you even take a picture of your credit card and share it?

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avatar Lance @ Money Life and More

This can happen when you give your credit card to servers at restaurants too. You really need to watch all of your statements to make sure there isn’t fraudulent activity.

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avatar Karl Marrion

For some people it seems there is absolutely no limit as to what they’ll share on social media sites…your credit card though….that’s just insane.

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avatar Evan

I think our generation has a lack of privacy concern – look how many pictures are on facebook that should not be lol or status sharing when you shouldn’t be!

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avatar qixx ♦1,880 (Half-Dollar)

I don’t see a valid reason to share this info. With services like PayPal or some banks to transfer money instantly why would i ever give you my card numbers.

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avatar jim

I wonder if people aren’t really meaning to show their credit card but the photos are of something else which happen to capture a credit card as well? For example, maybe you take a picture of you and your friends at dinner and you just paid the bill and the credit card is on the table? Otherwise I can’t imagine what would go through someones mind that would make them think that posting their credit card on the internet is a good idea.

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avatar wylerassociate ♦162 (Cent)

one of the worst things about social media is the ignorance and idiocy of people is on full display whether it’s displaying a credit card or telling your whole life story to “friends” who really aren’t your friends to begin with.

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avatar qixx ♦1,880 (Half-Dollar)

This is only half-true. College students going on spring break are more reserved than those going in years past. Social media is the culprit. Students don’t want to loose control and end up with that loss forever associated with them on social media. Haunting them forever from the pages of facebook.

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avatar Jessica

Well! this should be a common sense that information like this could be misused by anyone, and I don’t know the purpose of taking picture and sharing that with friends. if you want to assure them that you posses a debit/credit card better show them original instead of uploading on internet.

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