How do I Avoid Debit Card Fraud?

Rolando Braza

A debit card is an electronic wallet loaded with the total cash in your bank account; debit card fraud can divest you of all that cash if you are not careful. Carrying a debit card is an open invitation for a crook to, figuratively speaking, dip into your pocket and take away all your cash. You can protect yourself from debit card fraud by keeping your personal identification number (PIN) and other relevant personal information to yourself, and by choosing a safe automated teller machine (ATM) site to withdraw cash or a trustworthy establishment with a legitimate point-of-sale (POS) terminal to make a debit transaction. Being selective and careful with online purchases, and monitoring your transactions and account balance regularly can help you avoid debit card fraud as well.

Regularly monitor online transactions to avoid debit card fraud.
Regularly monitor online transactions to avoid debit card fraud.

The PIN you have assigned to your debit card serves as a key to accessing your bank account. Letting another person know your PIN is the same as giving him or her the key to your cashbox to take all the cash you have. All the person has to do then is wait for a lucky break to get hold of your debit card, or he or she can steal your debit card. Avoid being a victim of this kind of debit card crime by memorizing your PIN instead of noting it down on a piece of paper, or worse, on the debit card itself. Also, keep your debit card in a safe place where you have sole access.

Only use debit cards when making purchases from trusted establishments.
Only use debit cards when making purchases from trusted establishments.

Memorizing your PIN and securing your debit card in a safe place does not mean, however, that you are already completely safe from debit card fraud. Some people can copy the PIN and other relevant account information contained in the magnetic strip of your card by tampering with the ATM located in unsecured areas or ATM sites not equipped with a surveillance camera. A dishonest and scheming counter staff of a store can also divert your debit card to a data capture machine that looks like the real POS to get your PIN and other relevant account information. Before you know it, a scammer has already duplicated your debit card and used it to make purchases and cash withdrawals.

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Shredding a debit card that is no longer used can help avoid fraud.
Shredding a debit card that is no longer used can help avoid fraud.

Online shopping offers the convenience of paying for goods and services with your debit card. You must, however, be careful of notorious people who spy on websites by using network sniffers that can capture data on your bank account. Once these unscrupulous people get your account information, you can become a victim of debit card fraud. Make sure that the site where you make a transaction is verified as a secure site. Sites that are secure normally place a security symbol at the bottom of the webpage to indicate that all data you key-in using the form on the site are encrypted prior to transmission.

Keeping track of all debit card transactions and the outstanding balance of your account will help you detect unauthorized use of your debit card. The outstanding balance you computed after deducting the amount of your debit transactions should be the same as the balance reflected in your printed bank statement, which can also be seen online. If there are discrepancies, call your bank to reconcile the difference and initiate an investigation if necessary.

In the event that you become a victim of debit card fraud despite taking all the necessary precautions, call your bank to immediately block the card. If you have another bank account, transfer the balance of the compromised debit card to the other account. This can be done quickly by transacting electronically via the ATM or using the online facility provided by the bank to access your account.

One way to avoid debit card fraud is choosing a safe ATM.
One way to avoid debit card fraud is choosing a safe ATM.

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Discussion Comments


@literally45-- Why don't you use a payment system where you don't have to give out your credit card or debit card information?

Also, if you have a bank that has fraud protection, your money will be returned to you and a new debit card issued. So it shouldn't be a problem even if your information is obtained.


@literally45-- I agree with you that online credit card fraud is becoming more frequent. I don't think that online transactions can be 100% safe because the internet is an open network that anyone can access. There are many intelligent hackers that use the system illegally for fraud.

Unfortunately, it's difficult or perhaps even impossible, for the government to regulate and oversee all internet transactions. Although there are systems in place where after reporting online fraud, a government agency will look into it and try to find the criminals. So it's important for all victims of fraud to report it to the necessary agencies.


It is becoming more and more difficult to avoid debit card fraud, especially from online purchases.

I'm a victim of debit card fraud. My card information was stolen from an online site. I'm not sure which site it was because I do online shopping frequently. But since I only work with large, selected and trustworthy sites that everyone else uses, I know that we are not as safe as we think. These sites claim to have the best security systems in place (I think it's called encryption?) but they are not as safe as we would like to believe.

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