Ever looked at your bank statement and see transactions you never made? You might have been a victim of debit card fraud.

Debit card fraud happens when your debit card number is accessed by a criminal to make unauthorized transactions using your account. Hackers and criminals use several different ways to obtain your debit card information. Some access it by hacking computer networks while others use techniques like skimming. Because using a debit card is riskier than using a credit card, it’s crucial that you know how to protect yourself from debit card fraud.

Stick to a bank ATM as much as possible

ATMs away from banks are always at a higher risk of fraud. Some of these ATMs are located where there isn’t sufficient light and no security cameras. Use bank ATMs as much as possible whenever you need to get cash. Also, try to do it within regular business hours. 

When using ATMs, take extra precaution by covering the number pad with your hand as you press in your PIN. This will help ensure that no cameras will be able to capture your code.

Make it a habit to check your bank activity

If you haven’t created an online banking account, now is the best time to create one. Your online account is what will help you monitor your bank activity on a regular basis. Log on to your account and check if anything is out of the ordinary. Are there unfamiliar charges or transactions you didn’t authorize? If you see anything suspicious, report the incident immediately to your bank so they can cancel the card right away.

Set up daily notifications and alerts

Whether it’s by email or text messages, it’s a good idea to set up daily notifications or alerts with your bank. This will immediately notify you if there are unauthorized transactions in your account or if your ATM card has been compromised.

Always keep your card in a safe place

Besides monitoring your account online, it’s equally important to guard your physical ATM card. The last thing you want to do is to let it fall into the hands of thieves who could make unauthorized purchases with your account. Be sure to keep your card in a safe place. If it’s kept in a purse or wallet, be sure to always have it secured. If it ever gets stolen, contact your bank immediately to have the card canceled.

Be cautious when shopping online

While using a debit card at a physical location may be riskier than using it for online purchases, it’s still important to take safety precautions whenever you do electronic transactions. Whenever you are asked to enter your debit card information, check if the address bar on the page has “https” instead of “http”. The letter s means that the website is secure and it usually has a padlock icon. Whenever possible, do not make online transactions in unsecured locations where public wifi is used, like restaurants and cafes. It is safer to do it at home with a private and secured internet connection. 

Also, do not respond to phishing scams in the form of emails pretending to be financial institutions asking for your debit card and other personal information.

Keep the cash in your debit card to a minimum

More often than not, thieves and fraudsters are after accounts with bigger amounts. They know of several different ways to steal money from debit accounts. So, if possible, keep a little cash in your debit card. Otherwise, you might be giving these criminals a greater chance to steal money from you. 

Debit card fraud happens and if you don’t want to be a victim, it’s best to stay vigilant. Consider using a credit card for your daily purchases. If you’re interested in applying for a credit card, please feel free to contact us or visit our website, Calcite Credit Union.