Originally appeared on CHW on February 12, 2018.
am a victim of debit card fraud. That’s right, my debit card…stolen, and it never left my wallet. According to my bank, the thief cloned my card, embedded it with a security chip, and got my pin number.
I was surprised when I heard this. I thought EMV cards were supposed to make card copying, virtually, impossible. I thought EMV cards changed the information on my card after each transaction, to prevent card skimming.
My card was linked to my bank account. The thief cleared out my checking account in a matter of hours. In two days, the thief had gone to two different post offices and purchased three money orders.
As you can imagine, I was upset. It’s unnerving, knowing someone has access to your money. I felt powerless and angry. To ensure my protection, I took all the steps that were recommended after an incident like this occurs.
I filed a dispute with my bank and a report with my local police station. The officer who took my statement told me that detectives would be in touch with me to follow up on the report.
Luckily, the bank assured me, that after a review by their claims department, I would get a refund of the full amount. It will take 7-10 days for the process to be complete. That was reassuring to hear.
However, during that time frame, I have bills pending payment. It’s comforting to know my money is insured, but the uncertainty about the security of my money has remained. If the statistics are accurate, credit card fraud happens to people, more than once during their lifetime.
In an attempt to be proactive, I researched tips on how to protect myself. I want to lower my chances of having this happen to my family or me again. Here are a few tips I learned:
- Use a shredder for all bank statements, credit card statements, and checks.
- Monitor your credit report, and bank accounts for any suspicious transactions.
- Have mobile banking alerts sent to your smartphone.
- Don’t use public computers to log into your email to correspond with your bank.
- Only do business with credible online merchants and websites.
- Check to make certain no one is looking over your shoulder when you are paying with your credit card.
- Be careful where you go to eat.
- Be aware of email phishing scams.
- I have also decided to pay with cash for most purchases and use my credit card as a backup. I will no longer use my debit card.
- I also froze my credit report, to prevent anyone from opening new accounts in my name.
I know that thieves are getting savvier at breaking into financial information systems. Taking these precautions helps me feel I have control over my personal information. It has also been a wake-up call. I have to be more aware of my surroundings and vigilant with whom I share my personal information with over the phone.