Fraud continues to be a growing threat. Your personal information is at risk every time you put it out in the open. If someone has access to your information, such as your date of birth, banking information and even your debit card number, they can perform a number of illegal actions under your name. And you must take appropriate actions to stop the threat right away.
Report it Immediately
If an unauthorized person has access to your debit card information, report it immediately to your financial institution. A toll-free number should be available 24-hours a day for you to contact. These lines are specifically created for such circumstances.
As soon as you realize an unauthorized person has your debit card number and you have contacted your financial institution, review your transactions. You can often do this over the phone while communicating with your bank or you can do so through online banking over the Web or using your bank's mobile app.
It is important to identify which transactions are not yours. If you report your loss within two business days, you are only responsible for $50 worth of unauthorized use under federal law. If you wait longer, you could be liable for up to $500. Some debit and credit card networks and banks may have more generous policies, but it's usually best to report the issue as soon as possible.
Order a New Card
Talk to your bank about getting a new card. Some banks will be willing to overnight you a new card or give you a temporary replacement if you drop by a branch, potentially for a fee, though you may have to wait for it to arrive in the regular mail. If you need to get cash in the meantime, you may be able to visit a bank branch to make a withdrawal from your account in person before the card arrives.
You may need to reset your personal identification number as well, and the bank may advise or insist that you do so. Make sure you understand your bank's policy for doing so, and whether you can reset it online or in person or must receive a new PIN in the mail. This will make sure you can use your new card as soon as possible.
Once the new card arrives, you'll usually need to activate it online or over the phone.
Take Security Measures Seriously
Follow a few simple proactive steps to ensure your debit card information doesn’t end up in the wrong hands. Be cautious about providing information over the phone or online. Ensure you are dealing with a reputable company, don’t allow your number to be easily visible by anyone, shred documents with your number printed on them, don’t write down your PIN anywhere insecure and regularly review your transactions to guard against unauthorized use.
Ad Mal has been a professional journalist for over nine years, working at various community and specialized trade publications in reporting and managerial editing roles, and in television and radio in both on-air and behind-the-scenes roles. He has covered all levels of sports and politics, local news, crime, and business and finance. He graduated with honors from Seneca College's Broadcast Journalism Program.