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Credit & Debit Card Fraud

Plastic cards are convenient but both credit and debit cards are vulnerable to rip-off artists.

How thieves operate

When you learn how the identity thieves operate you will be able to protect yourself. Thieves use these techniques:

  • Hacking – when you bank or shop on public Wi-Fi networks, hackers can use keylogging and software to capture everything you type, including your name, debit card or credit card information and PIN.
  • Phishing – Be wary of messages of soliciting your account information. Emails can look like they’re from legitimate sources but actually be from scammers. If you click on an embedded link and enter your personal information, that data can go straight to criminals.
  • Skimming – Identity thieves can retrieve account data from your card’s magnetic strip using a device called a skimmer, which they can stash in ATMS and store card readers. They can then use that data to produce counterfeit cards. The EMV chip cards are expected to eliminate this risk when the card is inserted and not swiped.
  • Spying – Spying is still going strong. Criminals can plant cameras near ATMs or simply look over your shoulder as you take out your card and enter your PIN. They can also pretend to be good Samaritans, offering to help you remove a stuck card from an ATM slot.
Smart ways to protect yourself

Adopt these simple habits to greatly reduce your odds of falling victim to credit or debit card fraud.

  • Be careful online – Shop and bank on a secure website with private Wi-Fi. Never shop or bank on public Wi-Fi. This will help prevent your data from being compromised.
  • Monitor your accounts – Review your bank statement or online account and enroll for text or email alerts so you can catch debit card fraud attempts early.
  • Don’t ignore data breach notifications – the majority of identity theft victims received warnings that their accounts might have been breached but did nothing. If you get notification that you have been involved in a breach, follow the steps recommended by the Federal Trade Commission.
  • Inspect card readers and ATMs – Don’t use card slots that look dirty of show evidence of tampering, such as scratches, glue or debris. Pull on the card reader to make sure nothing is loose or attached to the machine. Also, steer clear of machines with strange instructions such as “Enter PIN twice.”
  • Cover your card – When using your debit or credit card or typing your PIN at an ATM or merchant, block the view with your other hand. Go to a different location entirely if suspicious people are hanging around the ATM, and if your card gets stuck, notify the financial institution directly rather than accepting “help” from strangers.
  • Use Mobile Payment Options – Using mobile payment options like Apple Pay, Android Pay or Samsung Pay can add another layer of security when you pay. With mobile payments, instead of using your actual debit and credit card numbers when making a purchase, a unique device account number is assigned to your purchase. This prevents the cashier from seeing your name, card number or security code. Learn more about NuMark Credit Union mobile payment options.

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