Credit card fraud is a wide-ranging term for theft and fraud committed using a payment card, such as a credit card or debit card, as a fraudulent source of funds in a transaction. There are many different ways to reduce the risk when using a credit or debit card. Your financial institution has put into place many policies to help reduce the possible risks but there are many things that you as a consumer can do to minimize fraud potential as well.
Regulation E sounds intimidating but basically it is the federal regulation that governs Electronic Fund Transfers and includes provisions that make debit-card transactions instantaneous. Instantaneous means that the money is technically spent from the account the moment the card is used, which is important because your debit card draws from a bank account as opposed to a line of credit.
At Points West Bank, we issue Visa debit cards so we follow the VISA rules for zero liability. This is good for our customers because it means that if your card is ever used fraudulently, as soon as you report the fraudulent activity to us, you will be given provisional credit while the matter is being investigated.
One way that customers can take extra control is to use the Verified By Visa program. This free service helps prevent unauthorized online use before it happens. By adding your current Visa card to the program, you will be adding an extra layer of security to make it harder for someone else to use your Visa card to shop online if your card or account number are ever stolen.
Another way to keep your account safe is for you to take the lead! Never give your card number to someone who has called you to solicit business. If a business calls you and you are interested in their services, find a contact number for yourself and contact them. Only give out your debit card number to businesses that you initiate contact with after you are sure of their products and services.
Remember that whenever you swipe your card, take an extra few seconds to look at the machine you are using. Does it look like there are extra pieces attached to the machine? If you are unsure, find a different ATM. Skimming is when a small electronic device is placed over the card reading device to capture a customer’s card information.
Keeping your card and your pin number secure are very important to reduce your risk of fraud. NEVER write your pin number down or keep it in your wallet or purse. One trick is to change your pin from the computer generated number to a 4 letter word that is important to you personally. A word is much easier to remember than a random number sent in the mail.
Points West Bank utilizes many behind the scenes applications to help keep you, your identity and your money safe. We have “Auth Blocking” rules which means; in the states with the highest amount of fraud, a card issued by us (for a credit transaction) will be denied unless you have given permission for the “lock” to be removed. We also have locks for hotels and motels because a significant amount of fraud begins there. We have strict rules on verification of identity when a replacement card is requested and new cards are mailed only to the address we have in our computer system after complete verification of identity. A new card typically takes 6 business days to be delivered to the customer. We also have daily limits on our cards that are typically no more than $1000 per day for transactions and $300 per day for ATM withdrawals.