Avoid Debit Card Fraud
Your debit card information is always at risk for theft. Take steps to keep it safe and don't be fooled by scammers who try to trick you.
- Keep your debit cards safe.
Keep your credit cards in a purse or wallet close to your body where it can't easily be snatched away. After you make a purchase put your debit card away immediately. Confirm you have your debit card back in your possession before you leave the store or restaurant.
Never share your PIN with anyone, including financial institutions, law enforcement agencies, friends and family members.
Memorize your PIN and do not write it on or near your debit card. If you suspect someone has discovered your PIN, change it immediately.
When selecting a PIN, don't use obvious information.
When using an ATM be aware of your surroundings. Look around before you begin your transaction. If you notice any suspicious activity, cancel your transaction and look for another ATM. When making a transaction from your car, make sure the car doors are locked.
- Shred anything with your debit card number on it.
Rather than toss your bank statements directly into the trash, shred them to keep dumpster divers from getting their hands on your information. The same thing applies to old debit cards that have expired or been cancelled. You might even put the shredded pieces in different trash bags to thwart clever thieves who can put shredded pages back together.
- Don't sign blank debit card receipts.
To avoid debit card fraud, always verify the amount on your debit card receipt before signing it. If you get a debit card receipt that has blank spaces in it, write $0 in those spaces or draw through them before putting your signature on the receipt. Otherwise, the cashier could write in an amount and send the purchase to your debit card.
- Avoid giving out your debit card information.
Only give out your debit card number or other sensitive information on calls you initiate to customer service using the number on the back of your debit card. Don't return calls to a phone number left on your answering machine and don't give your debit card number to anyone who calls you requesting the number. Debit card thieves have been known to pose as debit card issuers and other businesses to trick you into giving out your debit card number.
- Be safe with your debit card online.
Don't click on email links from anyone pretending to be your bank, credit card company, or other business who uses your personal information, even if the email looks legitimate. These links are often phishing scams and want to trick you into entering your login information on their fake website.
Only enter your debit card number on secure websites that you can be 100% sure are legitimate. To be sure a website is secure, look for a small lock on your internet page.
- Report lost or stolen debit cards immediately
The sooner you report a missing debit card the less likely it is that you'll have to pay for any fraudulent charges made on your debit card. Write down the customer service number for your debit card when you get it so you'll have it if your debit card is ever missing.
- Review your statements each month
Unauthorized charges on your debit card are the first indicator of debit card fraud. If you notice a charge you didn't make, no matter how small, report the charge to your debit card issuer immediately. Your debit card issuer will tell you if you should close your account to avoid credit card fraud.