10 Ways To Prevent Fraud On Your Debit And Credit Cards

Wednesday, June 24th, 2020
old brown leather wallet with American cash and credit and debit cards

Debit and credit card fraud is inconvenient and dangerous for the health of your finances. You may have heard that the risks of fraud aren’t that bad since you can just replace your card or get a new account. But, this can actually be a big hassle. It is better to prevent fraud from happening in the first place. Here are some tips you can use to do this.

1. Keep up with your cards

This is a simple way to help prevent debit and credit card fraud. You should know where your cards are at all times. It can be easy to misplace your gas card after using it on a road trip or your credit card at a busy restaurant. To stop yourself from losing your cards, try to be aware of where they are when checking out. You can also keep a personal checklist to refer back to once or twice a day.

If you happen to lose your cards, even after using a checklist to verify you have them, contact your bank or credit union immediately. They should be able to freeze your card or account from further purchases until you can find the card or replace it. Major credit card companies also have freeze options on their apps and are available at any time.

2. Use a mobile banking app

Most financial institutions, including small or medium credit unions, have an option for mobile banking. Whether it is a secure website or convenient app, you can access your account and card information from a mobile device. This lets you check your accounts more often for fraud and suspicious activity.

3. Use fraud detection and alerts

One aspect of mobile banking is fraud alerts. If your financial institution detects fraud or anything out of the ordinary, they will send you a text. Ask about your options to make sure your level of protection is right for your needs. You can get alerts for every purchase, any purchase over a certain amount, a drop in your balance below a certain amount, or a daily text with your balance. If you prefer emails, you can get alerts there too.

4. Don’t use debit cards for purchases

This may sound odd and it is optional, but you can consider not using your debit card for any purchases. This will protect your main account from being hacked and your money from being stolen. Using your debit or credit card for purchases actually opens you up to the same amount of risk. But, reversing purchases you did not make can be easier with your credit card. This is because companies typically just reverse a transaction. Financial institutions can sometimes take longer to reverse a transaction, which can result in further losses to your account.

5. Use a separate debit or credit card for online purchases

This is especially helpful when using a credit card but can be done with a debit card too. Using a designated card for all online purchases helps to limit fraud reaching across all of your accounts. If you prefer to build points on one card only, this may seem like an inconvenience. Here are some other pros and cons to consider about this fraud-prevention tip.

  • You will have to keep up with payments on more than one credit card.
  • You can protect your main bank account and any connected accounts.
  • If you buy from less secure websites, you can enjoy your purchases with a little less worry. (We suggest not doing this, though.)
  • See if your financial institution uses a card management system. (We use CardValet from Fiserv.)

6. Put a sticker over the card security code

This tip sounds too easy to be true, but it really can help prevent debit and credit card fraud. Just be sure to memorize the number before covering it. This tip helps you prevent fraud when someone is physically holding your card.

7. Don’t do free trials

Free trials are exciting because they let you use services or get products before investing in them. But, if you aren’t careful, you can experience what is known as gray charges. These aren’t exactly fraud but aren’t approved charges either. Whether it is a magazine subscription you didn’t see when purchasing something online or a trial for a video streaming service, you must be aware of all of your purchases. The best way to avoid gray charges is to never sign up for a free trial that requires your credit or debit card number.

8. Watch out for phishing

This type of fraud isn’t new, but you still need to be aware of it in your email and social media. There are some common features scammers will use to try to get ahold of your financial information. You can get phished by simply clicking a link in an email or by falling for a fake website. Never enter your information into a website you have not sought out directly.

9. Don’t give your card information over the phone

Similar to phishing online, scammers will attempt to contact people over the phone. They may create a situation where you feel compelled to provide your debit or credit card information. For example, they have been known to say you owe taxes and will be arrested if you don’t pay immediately. Never trust anyone calling to ask for your card information. (If think you are experiencing this type of fraud, hang up immediately and report the incident to us and the authorities.)

10. Be careful when using ATMs

It is commonly known that you should not let anyone look over your shoulder when using an ATM. But, there are other things you should look out for. This includes skimmers. These are attachments that are made to look like part of the machine. Skimmers are getting smaller and trickier to detect. They can also be found on point of sale terminals. Take a minute to check the ATM or terminal for signs of tampering like loose pieces. (You can use out handy ATM Locator to find secure ATMs at our branches and other locations.)

Learn more about financial health and security

One of the best ways to avoid fraud is to know your financial status and keep up with your accounts. At Borger Federal Credit Union, your membership truly matters to us. That’s why we provide financial education and always make sure you know where your money is. Your security is of the utmost importance, so we offer secure online banking, CardValet, and an easy-to-use mobile money app too.

To learn more about how a membership with us can help keep your money secure, give us a call at (806) 273-9506 or visit us in person at 1051 N. Florida in Borger, Texas. If you live, work, worship, or attend school within Hutchinson, Carson, or Gray counties, you can join the BFCU family!