Post written by Renee Halseth, Chief Fraud Risk Manager
“I’m sorry. This card is declined.”
That’s never something you want to hear, especially when you know there’s a healthy balance in your checking account.
But it happened to me. I was a bit nervous and upset. I looked at the waitress and said, “Umm, okay. Can you try running the card again?”
Almost as soon as the words left her mouth saying “declined” a second time, I saw my cell phone flash with an 800 number. I answered the phone only to hear, “This is Stockman Bank’s Visa fraud protection service.”
Within minutes, I discovered my debit card number had been stolen and fraudulent charges amounting to $150 had accumulated. I needed to shut down my card and have a new card issued. I called my local Stockman Bank and they told me that it was very likely someone, somehow was able to get my card number and counterfeit the card to make fraudulent purchases.
What made this strange is that I always keep my card in my wallet. So how could this have happened? The unfortunate reality is that identity thieves are creative and often use techniques such as:
Hacking – When you bank or shop on a public Wi-Fi network, hackers can use key logging software to capture everything, including your name, debit card account number and PIN.
Phishing – Always be wary of messages soliciting your account information. Emails can look legitimate but instead be coming from scammers. If you click on an embedded link and enter your personal data, it can go straight to criminals.
Skimming – Identity thieves can retrieve account data from your cards magnetic strip using a device called a skimmer. Skimmers store card information and are attached to a magnetic strip reader. The data can be used to produce counterfeit cards. EMV chip cards are replacing magnetic strip cards and are expected to lessen this risk.
SMART WAYS TO PROTECT YOURSELF
- Be careful online: Shop and bank on secure websites with private Wi-Fi. Be sure to always download a virtual private network to protect your privacy…especially if you must shop or bank in public.
- Monitor your accounts: Review your statements. Sign up for text or email alerts so you can catch debit card fraud attempts early.
- Don’t ignore data breach notifications: If you receive a notification that there may be a breach on your account, change your PIN and ask your provider to change your debit card number.
- Inspect card readers and ATMs: Don’t use card slots that look dirty or show evidence of tampering.
- Cover your card: When using your debit card or typing your PIN at an ATM, block the view with your other hand.
Even if you take precautions, debit card fraud can still happen. In the case of a card compromise, don’t panic. Contact your local Stockman Bank to get the appropriate instructions on how to get a new card and file the necessary paperwork for unauthorized transactions.