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Don't Let Mistakes Cost You

Don't Let Mistakes Cost You

Picture this: You and your family pull into a local fast food restaurant to grab lunch on the go. The restaurant employee gives you the total for the food order and you hand her your debit card. Your kids are in the back seat making lots of noise so you turn around and tend to them. The employee returns your debit card, gives you the food, and you drive away.

With the distractions from your family, you didn’t notice that it took way too long for your debit card to be returned to you. Before you can even unwrap your burger to take a bite, money is being drained from your account by the restaurant employee who took a picture of your card and immediately began making purchases with YOUR money. Just like that you’ve become the victim of one of the most common types of fraud: debit card fraud.

Some people might read this and think it will never happen to them. After all, we live in rural West Tennessee, so this sort of stuff just doesn’t occur. Unfortunately, that couldn’t be further from the truth. It has occurred several times during the past week in our local communities.

Whether you are grabbing lunch or withdrawing cash, debit cards provide an easy way to complete transactions. Because we rely so much on our debit cards, it is important to keep them safe and secure.

Preventing Debit Card Fraud

If you have ever been the victim of debit card fraud, then you know how frustrating and scary it can be. Follow these steps to help prevent debit card fraud:

  1. Check your account balance frequently.
  2. Don’t let your card leave your sight. Whether you are presenting your card for payment in the drive-thru of a restaurant or to your waiter inside a restaurant, it is important to not lose sight of your card. This creates the opportunity for someone to take a picture of your card or store your card information for later use.
  3. Choose your ATM wisely. Beware of stand-alone ATM’s inside gas stations and stores, as scammers have easier, unmonitored access to add spyware, cameras or card readers to gain access to your card information.
  4. Always use a secure network when using your debit card to pay for purchases online.
  5. Utilize security features offered by your bank. At Centennial Bank, we offer Mastercard ID Check ™ which is an added layer of security for online purchases. We also offer brella®, an app which allows you to set up alerts for debit card transactions including alerts for transactions over a certain amount, internet and phone transactions, and transactions outside of the U.S.
  6. Watch for card skimmers. These devices are often inserted in the card slot of gas pumps or ATMs. It’s important to inspect the card reader before you insert your card. If it feels loose or the keys feel unusually thick, don’t use it.
  7. Set up Mobile Payments or, if offered, use contactless payment. These services offer the same level of protection and encryption as a card reader but remove the need to have your card present.
  8. Use Mobile Apps at restaurants and other retail establishments. This will eliminate the need for your debit card to be present.

What if Debit Card Fraud Happens to You?

Sometimes, even when you’re cautious, you can fall prey to debit card fraud. Once this happens, it’s important to act fast.

The first step to take if you notice suspicious activity on your debit card is to login to your brella® app and lock your debit card. Call your bank immediately so you can begin the process of getting your money back. At Centennial Bank, we can close your debit card and issue a new one onsite. If you need to report fraud outside of normal banking hours, call 1-800-383-8000.

Give Yourself Extra Protection

Taking extra steps to protect your debit card information can save you from the frustration of debit card fraud. Simple practices like inspecting a card reader or covering your card when you are using it in a public setting are effective methods for protecting your debit card information. If you receive a data breach notification, change your pin immediately. Finally, monitor your accounts often.