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Debit Card Fraud: What it is and how to avoid it.

Debit Card Fraud: What it is and how to avoid it.


As we move deeper into the digital age, the threat of fraud has become more pervasive than ever. Thankfully, the technology that has enabled fraudsters to become more sophisticated can also combat them. Enter AI and machine learning.

These cutting-edge technologies are rapidly transforming the fraud prevention landscape by allowing businesses to identify and prevent fraudulent activity in real time. Through the analysis of vast amounts of data and learning from historical patterns, AI and machine learning algorithms can identify suspicious transactions and flag them for further review.

One of the most significant benefits of AI and machine learning is their ability to adapt to new threats quickly. As fraudsters develop new techniques and tactics, these technologies can evolve and learn from these changes, ensuring they remain effective in the face of emerging threats.

In addition to preventing fraud, AI and machine learning can help businesses reduce false positives, where legitimate transactions are flagged as fraudulent when those are not. By learning from past mistakes and refining their algorithms, these technologies can help businesses minimize disruptions to their customers’ experience while preventing fraud.

Of course, AI and machine learning are not a silver bullet to fraud prevention. They must be used in conjunction with other strategies, such as educating customers and employees on fraud prevention best practices, to create a comprehensive fraud prevention strategy.

As we rely more on digital technologies, the importance of effective fraud prevention strategies will only continue to grow. By embracing AI and machine learning, businesses can flatten the curve and protect themselves and their customers from the growing threat of fraud.

Know what debit card fraud is:

Debit card fraud occurs when someone gets your card and purchases or makes a withdrawal without your knowledge. When you have discovered and reported the activity, your bank should deactivate and reissue your card. Be mindful to check your statement to ensure all transactions are legitimate.

Types of debit card fraud:

There are many ways a fraudster can steal your debit card:

  • A "skimming device" can be used at an ATM, gas pump, or anywhere your card can be swiped.
  • A hacker can illegally access your information from a retailer's online system.
  • A stranger, family member, or anyone else can be the thief who steals your physical debit card.
  • Phishing occurs when a thief tricks you into thinking their email is legitimate and you provide personal information.
  • Mail theft. A thief gets to your mailbox before you do and steals your debit card.

How to protect yourself:

  • Check your online banking. Get in the habit of checking your transactions weekly to rule out foul activity.
  • Establish account alerts. You can establish specific limits and be notified right when it occurs.
  • Visually check for card skimmers. If there's anything loose or anything looks strange, do not use that card reader. It's inconvenient to move to another pump or station, but the risk of theft is ruled out.
  • Make sure your network is secure. When shopping online, look for and hover over the symbol next to the URL indicating whether the site is secure. A secure site encrypts your data and lowers your chances of stealing your information.
  • Sign up for electronic statements. If you still get paper statements, sign up for electronic statements to avoid someone getting access to your account information.
  • Have an emergency fund. A separate emergency fund ensures you still have some funds available if your primary checking account information is compromised.
  • Protect your card. First, secure your wallet safely, and when you leave a store or restaurant, double-check that your debit card is in your possession. Second, never write your PIN on the card.
  • Monitor bank activity through monthly E-statements: Utilize your bank’s mobile and online banking options to monitor your account carefully.
  • Report fraud ASAP: If you notice any suspicious activity, immediately report it to your bank. Thieves will continue to use a card until it is frozen.

Pros of debit cards

Just because fraud can happen is not a reason to avoid debit cards. There are plenty of positives that come from favoring your debit card for purchases, including:

  • Avoid the need for cash. The most significant benefit is that spending with a debit card allows you not to worry about carrying cash.
  • Avoid debt. With careful planning, reducing credit card debt when spending with a debit card is possible.
  • Limited fees. Typically, there are no annual or late fees when spending money from debt card transactions since checking account funds are used.
  • Easy to get. With a debit card, if you have a checking account with the bank, you fill out a form, and you get a card.

If you are still left with questions about debit card fraud, don't hesitate to contact your branch manager if you are a First Reliance Bank customer. At First Reliance Bank, where “Banking As Unique As You Are,” is always top of mind, we are here to help guide your banking decisions.

Do us a favor and tell your friends about us so we can help them be as smart about their money as you are.



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