Hopefully credit and debit card users know about cards with little gold squares called security chips. If you have a card with a chip you should NOT swipe the card when you pay for things. Swiping is bad, because the machine reads your personal data on the black stripe on the back of the card. And the machines that read that data can be easily compromised by crooks. That’s why newer cards have those chips. So you don’t swipe, you insert the card at the bottom of the card reader, and it reads the data on the security chip — which can’t be copied. However, lots of people either forget or their card provider hasn’t issued modern cards. Howard Solomon mentions this in his recent article in ITWorld Canada (click here for the full article); because news is now out that a number of Americans were stung earlier this year when credit card machines at three restaurant chains — Moe’s Southwest Grill, McAlister’s Deli, and Schlotzsky’s — were hacked. If you have traveled to the US recently and visited any of these chains you must be aware. In a press release last week the company that owns the chains admitted hundreds of outlets had their credit card machines compromised between April 11th and July 22nd, and those who swiped their cards were the ones victimized. If you have a credit or debit card that does NOT have a security chip, don’t use it. And if your card does have a security chip, never swipe.