How to protect yourself against credit and debit card fraud

(NC) Most of us know someone who has had to deal with fraud — having to cancel a credit or debit card, not to mention other related hassles and stress. Fortunately, like most things, prevention can go a long way towards safeguarding your financial information.

Credit and debit card fraud happens when someone steals your credit or debit card, card information or personal identification number and uses it without your permission to withdraw money from an automated teller machine or make a purchase.

While new scams are emerging all the time, there are always basic precautions you can take, beginning with these:

  1. Check your account and credit card statements often to make sure all transactions are correct and were made by you.
  2. Keep your PIN secret. Never share it with anyone, not even a family member or partner, and memorize the code rather than writing it down.
  3. Change your PIN often.
  4. Contact your financial institution and change your PIN immediately if you suspect someone knows it.
  5. Cover the keypad with your hand or body when entering your PIN so no one can see it.
  6. Keep your credit card in a safe place.
  7. Keep your credit or debit card in sight at all times when making a purchase.
  8. Take your debit or credit card and transaction receipt with you once you’ve finished a transaction at an ATM or business.
  9. Complete your transaction and retrieve your card before answering anyone trying to get your attention while you are at an ATM.
  10. Contact your financial institution or credit card issuer right away if your card is lost, stolen or stuck in an ATM.
  11. Report anything you think is suspicious about a debit or credit card device at a business or ATM to the relevant head office and your credit card issuer.

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