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Protecting Yourself from Debit Card Fraud


By: St Marys CU

Protecting Yourself from Debit Card Fraud

Identity theft and debit card fraud are amongst the most prominent crimes in the United States. For debit card users, this means knowing how to protect yourself from these and other significant risks. Serving communities across eastern Massachusetts, St. Mary’s Credit Union provides its members with this kind of advice on a daily basis. Here, we take a closer look at debit card fraud protection, what you can do to protect yourself and what to do if you fall victim to fraud.

Protect Your Data

The most straightforward way to avoid debit card fraud is to keep your debit information secure. Store your card in a safe location so that it can’t be stolen, and never save your information to a device like a smartphone, computer, or internet browser. A hacker can easily break into your devices and get access to the personal information stored on them.

Also, be sure to handle any documents that contain your debit card information with special care. Many identity thieves can easily find this information by picking through garbage for bills and receipts. Prevent this kind of theft by shredding any papers that contain information that could be used for fraud.

Be Careful Online

A large amount of debit fraud happens online. This is because you can use your card anywhere to make a purchase, reserve a hotel room, or stream a movie, making it easy for identity thieves to steal your information. To protect yourself from internet fraud, follow these online safety tips:

  • Only purchase products from websites you recognize and trust.
  • Check site addresses for the https: extension – it means the site is secure.
  • Avoid links or redirects in suspicious messages or emails.
  • Don’t give your card information if it’s requested without an explanation. Always contact the credit union or bank to see if there is a problem with a transaction first.
  • Shop on secure networks – do not shop or do your online banking on public Wi-Fi hotspots like at a café or airport.

Check Bank Activity

By monitoring your banking activity, you can notice fraud as soon as it happens. Many banks like St. Mary’s Credit Union offer online banking so you can regularly check your account. Whether you use online or paper statements, examine them carefully and often, and be suspicious of any purchases you don’t recognize.

You can monitor your activity more effectively if you keep careful track of the payments you make. If you have accurate records of how you spend money, when, and the amount you pay, you can compare your records with your account statements. That way, you won’t be relying on memory and will be able to spot discrepancies more easily.

Sign Up For Fraud Protection

When you set up your account, talk to your bank about fraud protection. St. Mary’s Credit Union has some fraud protection already set up for debit card protection. These automatic protections can identify unusual expenses on your card, such as purchases made from unlikely locations or payments to suspicious merchants. The fraud department will then contact you to confirm whether the activity was authorized. Be sure to keep your contact information updated so that you receive these alerts.  

Take Measures to Protect Yourself

Debit card fraud is common in the US. Luckily, there are steps you can take to protect your account. St. Mary’s Credit Union offers both fraud protection and online banking so you can check regularly for suspicious activity. Find out more about the debit card fraud protection we offer including additional protection / tools that can be used or open an account and request a debit card by contacting us today.