Preventing debit card fraud in 6 simple steps 

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Preventing debit card fraud

No one likes to think about debit card fraud, but the reality is that it can happen. Fraudulent charges on debit cards are common. If you’ve been a victim, you’re not alone. 

But it’s important to be aware of the different methods of preventing debit card fraud, to protect yourself next time around. Here is how to prevent debit card fraud and what to do if your debit cards are compromised. 

How does debit card fraud happen?

Debit card fraud can happen in a number of different ways. In some cases, someone may actively try to steal your information. Other times, debit cards can become compromised by mistake. 

Here are some of the most common situations that can lead to debit card fraud:

  • Skimming devices: Criminals can attach certain devices on ATMs or gas stations that record your information and create fraudulent charges on debit cards. 
  • Bank statements: If you’re not careful with your bank statements, it’s possible for someone to get ahold of them and steal your debit card information.
  • Lost or stolen card: If your card is lost or stolen, you may be vulnerable to debit card fraud if you don’t cancel your card right away. 
  • Scammers: You may receive fake emails or texts that look like they are from banks or retailers to try and steal your information. Remember never to give out your information or click on a link from an unknown sender. 
  • Data breach: If your personal or banking data is compromised, your information could be leaked to scammers. 

What to know about unauthorized charges

According to the National Consumer Law Center, if you have unauthorized charges on your debit card account but the card is not lost or stolen, you’re protected as long as you report unauthorized transactions on your debit card within 60 days of when the statement was sent. 

If your card is missing or stolen, you have 2 business days after learning about the loss to notify your card issuer. 

Debit card fraud vs credit card fraud

Using your debit card can be better for your budget but it can also come with harsher ramifications than credit card fraud. Credit cards are considered safer to use online or abroad because of laws like the Fair Credit Billing Act and Electronic Fund Transfer Act. In general, credit card users have more leeway when it comes to deadlines for reporting fraud and more. 

How to protect your debit card 

It goes without saying that you’ll want to protect your debit card as much as you can. Here are some of your best options for doing so. 

Check your statements often

If you don’t already, you should be reviewing your statements each month carefully. Not only will this help you understand how you’re spending your money, but it will also allow you to spot possible debit card fraud quickly. You can also log into your bank accounts and go through transaction logs to regularly view your purchases.

Keep statement in a safe place

If you receive paper statements, be sure to keep them in a safe place and shred them after you are done reviewing and before throwing them away. 

Keep track of your debit cards

Nowadays, many transactions happen virtually, which means you’re not constantly pulling out your debit card when it’s time to pay. You could be using a mobile payment system or saving your credit card information online. It can be easy to lose track of your physical card, so make sure to keep it in sight. 

Protect your PIN 

Don’t share your PIN with anyone. If you receive any suspicious texts or emails, you don’t want to respond with your information. Instead, do your best to avoid sending it in emails or storing it on your device. If possible, it’s a good idea to change your pin every few months. 

Report problems immediately

If you do find fraudulent charges on your debit card, any unauthorized transactions on your debit card, or believe your debit cards have been compromised in any other way, report it immediately. The longer you wait, the less likely it is you’ll be able to get help, and the more likely it is for the problem to become even worse. 

Protect your debit card when shopping online

Be mindful about your shopping online. Certain precautions can help, such as refraining from purchasing from unsecured networks and making sure https precedes the website’s name in the address bar.

It’s also important to ensure that a padlock icon is visible right next to where you would typically input your debit card information. It’s also important to watch out for phishing scams in emails and texts. If possible, try to use a third-party payment platform that you trust, like PayPal or AmazonPay.

Know your rights when it comes to debit card fraud

Many people often assume that credit cards are automatically safer when it comes to fraud and unauthorized transactions. The truth is, debit cards can be just as safe – so long as you report any suspicious activity right away. 

Credit cards charge high interest rates, and they’re not your only option for security. In many cases, you may be able to debunk fraudulent charges on a debit card the same way you would with a credit card, but you’ll have to act fast. 


How can someone use your debit card without the card?

Scammers can copy your debit card information onto a new card to create a fake replica of your card.

How to protect your debit card from being hacked?

Take active measures to protect yourself by never handing out personal information and always reporting fraudulent charges on your debit card immediately.

Can your bank protect you from fraud on your debit card?

Yes, your bank can protect you from fraud on your debit card. However, you need to act fast. The timeframe for reporting debit card fraud is much shorter than credit card fraud. However, you can still receive the same type of protections.

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