Do you think about what ATM you visit or where you use your debit card? If you use an ATM on a busy street, or one that is not affiliated with a well-known bank, you might want to think twice before using it. In 2014, the United States accounted for 48.2 percent of worldwide debit/credit card losses.
Even if you have a newer card with an EMV chip, you are still at risk for fraudulent activity. Below are a few ways to reduce your risk of debit card fraud.
Use ATM’s During Hours of Operation Only
Avoid using an ATM at a bank when it is closed. While some banks do require card access to get in to an ATM machine, the doors may still be unlocked. This gives someone a good opportunity to go in and install a skimming device. You are also at greater risk of petty theft/larceny.
Change Your PIN Often
This should be the first thing you do if you get a new debit card after yours has been compromised. It’s a good idea to change your PIN number once every three months. When you create a pin, think of numbers that have no significant meaning to you. Never use anything that can be found online, like a birth date, your address, and numbers on your license.
Be Careful With Gas Pumps & Restaurants
When paying at the pump, think twice about whether or not you want to use your card. Fuel pumps are common ground for criminals to place card skimmers. If the station you are at has a store, consider paying inside. If you live in New Jersey or Oregon, consider paying with cash at the pump so the attendant cannot read your debit card number.
While restaurants are not a likely place for your card to get skimmed, your transaction might stay in “pending” for a longer amount of time due to a tip added. If you are visiting a new restaurant, try to pay with cash until you get a feel for the business.
Set Text Alerts
Taking action starts with how soon you know of a suspicious charge. Many banks offer text or email alerts for when a suspicious charge pops up. Don’t be surprised by a purchase worth thousands of dollars from a business you never visit.
Don’t Use A Debit Card Online
You are much safer using a credit card or PayPal account. When you use a debit card online, you will not need to enter a pin number. Should your credit card become flagged for fraudulent activity, no actual money is taken from your account. With debit cards, your account could become overdrawn.
Here’s one last tip: If you ever feel concerned about paying with a debit card, don’t use it.
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