We swore it would never happen to us! The “it” I am referring to is being a victim of debit or credit card fraud. My wife and I didn’t notice that anything was going on with our checking account, until we were paying bills one night. We noticed a strange charge from a Waffle House in Columbus. Neither of us had been there, so we looked a little farther…and ultimately found 47(!) transactions over a three week period, totaling in excess of $425.00! We have no idea how it happened, or where our cards were compromised, but we learned a few valuable lessons that night.
First, we need to make sure that we check our accounts far more often than we do. Had we looked at our online activity, we would have noticed the strange transactions MUCH sooner. We would have been able to deactivate the card much sooner, and limited the damage.
Also, we are far more “aware” of our surroundings when using the cards. While we have no idea how it happened, I have read several suggestions on how to minimize opportunities:
- When buying gas, don’t pay at the pump. Take the card inside. This will prevent being skimmed at the pump.
- At restaurants, make sure that you fill in the “tip” line, and total it yourself, even if you are not leaving a tip. Restaurants are a frequent origination point for fraud, as the card physically leaves your presence, and with the high turnover at restaurants, it is a deadly combination.
- Use a credit card when possible. While a debit card limits the amount of money you can spend, a credit card limits your personal liability if you become a victim of fraud.
- Don’t ever give out your PIN and/or account number out…and don’t write either of these numbers down.
- Don’t use independent ATM’s.
- As I stated above, check your accounts often.
I am sure there are a million other suggestions out there. Please feel free to share any thoughts or suggestions you might have.
With the holidays upon us, please be very careful for any scam. If you feel that you have been involved in a scam, do not hesitate to contact any of us at the Bank. We will make sure that you, and your money, are safe!
Thanks for putting your trust in First Federal!