It’s great to be number one – unless it’s because you live in the number one country for debit and credit card fraud. According to a 2018 study by the leading industry trade publication, The Nilson Report, that country is the United States. Every day in the US, an average of almost $26 million in unauthorized purchases are made using stolen debit and credit cards numbers.
A criminal doesn’t need to steal your card to steal from you. Because so many purchases are made online or over the phone these days, criminals don’t need your physical card, just your card number. Card number theft typically happens one of four ways:
- They’re stolen through malware you inadvertently download onto your computer or phone.
- They’re collected on a skimmer placed on a gas pump or checkout terminal.
- They’re part of a data breach where merchants’ records are stolen.
- You receive an email or phone call out of the blue touting an attractive sales offer and the seller asks for your card information. Always be suspicious of calls or emails like these. If an offer seems too good to be true, it usually is.
Not all unexpected charges turn out to be theft. You see an unknown debit on your card and your thoughts immediately turn to fraud, right? The fact is, merchant errors, double charges, and subscription errors happen as well. While these charges can also be disputed, no actual theft has occurred.
What to do right now to reduce your chances of becoming a fraud victim:
- Be mindful about where you enter your card number online and keep a close eye on withdrawal activity, bank statements and records to spot purchases and cash transactions you might not have made.
- Sign up for online or mobile banking for real-time access to your account activity. At First Service Bank, you can also set up alerts to let you know when charges are being processed that are outside of usual spending patterns. We can also conduct fraud checks for you which provides an additional layer of protection.
- If your debit card is lost or stolen,contact First Service Bank immediately. We can temporarily freeze the card to prevent further transactions while you continue to search for it. If any fraudulent transactions posted, begin the dispute process immediately. This will ensure that you receive provisional credits as quickly as possible while a full investigation is underway.
- Go paperless with statements and receipts to limit the ways scammers steal your card information. Be sure to shred or destroy receipts that have your contact or account information. Don’t simply crumple them up and throw them in the garbage, and never toss them in a public trash can.
- Use a line of credit or create a separate checking account for traveling abroad or making large online purchases. If your account is compromised the only funds that could be accessed are reserves rather than your regular checking account.
- Add a layer of protection to your computer and mobile phone or tablet. Be sure all of your devices have firewall, anti-virus, and anti-spyware software and don’t forget to update the programs regularly.
How does First Service Bank protect your identity and your debit card? Debit card fraud is something we fight against every single day in the banking business. We are diligent in protecting the finances and information of our customers through state-of-the-art technology and safeguards, solid business practices, and outstanding service to our communities and customers. Don’t hesitate to email, call, or come see us in person if you have questions about account and debit card safety or if you need guidance in your financial affairs. We’re always here to help!