Debit card fraud. I’d like to say we’ve never experienced it, but unfortunately we have experienced debit card fraud (and credit card fraud) multiple times. Here’s how we are planning to protect ourselves from debit and credit card fraud in the future.
In the past 2 weeks, we’ve had someone attempt to wipe out our bank account 2 times via Walmart transactions while our debit cards were still in our possession. These two debit cards had not been used at Walmart anytime in very recent history (at least in the past 6 months or so) and were definitely never out of our eyesight at any point in time.
It still happened.
Thankfully, our credit union has been good about letting us know about the charges pretty quickly (although we haven’t necessarily been refunded the funds very quickly, which has been super frustrating). That said, when your budget doesn’t have a “money for the thieves” line item…this can get old and frustrating pretty fast. These debit and credit card scams are running rampant right now and just because you haven’t had an issue yet, doesn’t mean that it won’t happen.
In an effort to figure out how to best prevent future fraud, we started doing some research. The information below contain a few of the strategies we are going to use going forward to avoid debit and credit card fraud (and a few we were already using, but hopefully all together it will be enough!).
:: Be sure your contact info with your bank/credit card company is updated – They need to be able to contact you quickly in case charges pop up that seem questionable. Change your address, contact your bank. Change your phone #, contact your bank. Change work phone #’s, contact your bank.
:: Store your debit and credit cards in RFID Blocking Sleeves – These put a layer of technology between you and thieves. Here are a few affordable options:
:: Don’t leave your card open for a “tab” or a tip at any location, ever – Tip in cash only. Don’t ever give a business a reason to go back and add more to your transaction.
:: Whenever possible, only visit the ATM’s of your own bank – This helps with fees, but also helps with debit card fraud. Assuming you bank with a reputable bank, their ATM’s should be secure and regularly serviced to prevent hacking. If an ATM requests your pin number more than once, cancel your transaction and report it quickly.
Also, if your card gets stuck in the machine, leave it and call and cancel your card immediately. Don’t allow anyone to “help” you. This is a known scam. Also, be sure to cover your pin code with your hand when you put it in. It might seem silly, but criminals have been known to place cameras in strategic locations to grab your pin code.
:: Don’t use your debit card at “mom and pop” local businesses or at gas stations – Our credit union explained to us that smaller businesses might opp for cheaper, less secure credit card processors to save funds. These are not always the safest. Use cash here or a credit card with a high level of fraud protection
(Note: Federal law doesn’t protect debit cards to the same degree as credit cards when it comes to fraud. If you can use credit responsibly, it might be wise to do more transactions with a separate credit card and then just pay it off.) .
Or consider using the cash method suggested by Dave Ramsey :
:: Watch your accounts closely and daily – monitor your accounts. Our credit union has caught every instance of fraud so far, but if it had been at a store I normally frequent, they probably would not have caught it.
:: The more you use your debit card, the more likely you will be to encounter debit card fraud – This includes using your card as a credit card. Remember, crooks nowadays have many avenues to obtain your information. The less chances you give them (by using a well protected credit card or cash), the better.
:: Report lost cards immediately – Even if you are pretty sure it’s just stuck in the couch at home. It’s SO easy and quick to get a new debit card or credit card nowadays. It takes longer to replace fraudulent funds unfortunately.
I’m not sure we can completely avoid fraud nowadays. Even if you only use cash, you run the risk of getting robbed (and personally I would prefer someone steal my money from several counties over instead of with a gun waving in my face). Thieves continue to stay thieves because it works for them. We need to stay vigilant and do everything within our power to make being a jerk who steals a less lucrative business for the crooks out there.
Do you have any other tips? Please share them below.