Nov 13, 2012

BBB offers tips to avoid debit card fraud

DARKE COUNTY--Debit cards, which look like credit cards and are directly linked to your bank account, are a prime target for criminals. They’re accepted by retailers with less identification then credit cards, therefore making the transaction quicker and less intrusive – perfect for scammers. Your Better Business Bureau offers some tips on how to avoid becoming a debit card scam victim.

According to ACI Payment Systems and Aite Group, about one in five debit card users in the U.S. has become a victim to fraud in the last five years. Five percent of Americans have been victimized, not once, but twice. Last year alone, there were about 19,000 instances of debit card fraud in Ohio, up seven percent from the previous year, according to the U.S. Treasury Department.

To avoid problems with your debit card, your BBB suggests you:

* Write “Check Photo ID” on the back of your card. In addition, many banks are offering to put your photo on the front of your card.

* Check monthly statements for unfamiliar activity.

* Make a copy of your debit card front and back and put it in a secure place. If your card is lost or stolen, you can use this to report it.

* Protect your PIN. Use your hand or body to shield your PIN when making transactions at a bank machine or a point-of-sale terminal. Cover as much as possible since scammers use cameras to capture PIN codes.

* Be careful when dining out and consider using cash. At most restaurants and bars, your card is out of site when it’s used to pay, making it vulnerable to fraud.

* Don’t use your debit card when shopping online. Use a credit card, so you can dispute unauthorized charges.

* Beware of an ATM machine that appears to have been tampered with.

Remember, your liability under federal law for unauthorized use of your ATM or debit card depends on how quickly you report the loss. If you report an ATM or debit card missing before it’s used without your permission, the Electronic Fund Transfer Act says the card issuer cannot hold you responsible for any unauthorized transfers. If unauthorized use occurs before you report it, your liability under federal law depends on how quickly you report the loss.

For more information on scams, visit www.bbb.org or call (937) 222-5825 or (800) 776-5301.

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