Debit Card Fraud Is Rising: Here’s How to Shield Your Money

Debit Card Fraud Is Rising: Here’s How to Shield Your Money
Photo by Addoro / Shutterstock.com

The number of debit cards compromised at ATMs, merchants and restaurants in the U.S. rose by 10 percent last year, according to newly released information from Fair Isaac Corp., or FICO.

Swiping your plastic presents an inherent risk. ATMs and card payment terminals in stores and restaurants can be rigged by criminals trying to steal card numbers.

T.J. Horan, vice president of fraud solutions at FICO, says:

“The number of compromises and the number of card members impacted set a new record last year. While most devices are safe, fraudsters are developing new technology and methods for hacking ATMs.”

The best way to avoid debit card fraud

The increase in fraudulent activity is especially concerning considering that federal law does not offer robust protection of debit card use. That contrasts with more rigorous protections offered to people using credit cards.

Perhaps the best way to prevent a criminal from targeting your debit card is to not use your debit card, or at least use it as little as possible. Instead, use a credit card, which is protected under the Fair Credit Billing Act.

As we explain in “2 Key Steps to Protecting Your ‘Chip’ Cards From Fraud“:

“This federal law provides you certain consumer protections, like the ability to dispute billing errors and to withhold payment while your creditor investigates the disputed charges. Perhaps more importantly, the law generally limits your responsibility for unauthorized credit card charges to $50.”

Credit cards present another risk, though: You might be more likely to overspend when using them. That’s why it’s often recommended that folks trying to get out of debt use cash instead.

Other ways to safeguard your debit card

If you can’t prevent debit card fraud by abandoning your card — or even if you can — monitor your bank account closely. Watch for transactions you don’t recognize. That way, if your card is compromised and someone makes fraudulent charges using your card numbers, you’ll at least know about it early on.

To the same end, look into alerts your bank might offer. Nowadays, many banks allow their customers to sign up to receive automated email or text message notifications of certain types of transactions.

If you suspect your debit card has been compromised, FICO advises asking the card issuer for a new card, noting it’s important to change the card PIN, too.

What’s your take on this news? Sound off below or on Facebook.

Read Next

Here’s How to Make 24 Times More on Your Savings
Here’s How to Make 24 Times More on Your Savings

This online bank offers a way to build savings at a rate far above the national average.

10 Food Staples That Are Easy and Cheap to Make Yourself
10 Food Staples That Are Easy and Cheap to Make Yourself

Making any of these key foods yourself will improve your meals and your budget — not to mention your health, in some cases.

33 Home Upgrades That Cost Less Than $100
33 Home Upgrades That Cost Less Than $100

There’s no need to spend a mint to make your home look like a million bucks.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Comments

Trending Stories