If it hasn’t happened to you yet, you may be wondering what to do if you discover an unauthorized transaction on your debit card. It’s not a best-case scenario, but the good news is, there are certain steps you can take if your account information is compromised, or your card is lost or stolen.

According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), credit and debit cards constitute the most frequent fraud reports among different types of payment method fraud. Other eye-opening fraud statistics from the FTC include:

  • Reports of debit card fraud increased 32% between 2019 and 2020
  • 34% of fraud reports in 2020 resulted in the loss of money
  • The amount lost to fraud increased by almost $1.5 billion between 2019 and 2020

If you’re worried about protecting your debit card, we can empower you so that you know what to do if you lose your card, or it’s stolen. We’ll also share some tips on how to protect your debit card from unauthorized transactions.

WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU SPOT UNAUTHORIZED TRANSACTIONS ON YOUR DEBIT CARD

First of all, it’s important to note that early detection is key. We’ll explain why soon, but in order to promptly spot fraudulent charges, you must make a point of regularly checking accounts, other bank accounts, and bank statements.

When and if you see a charge that didn’t come from you, or if you have lost your debit card, the first step is to contact your bank and report the loss or charge. This can be a matter of picking up the phone and calling your bank or financial institution. On the other hand, your bank or financial institution may offer card management tools.

Many mobile wallets offer a card management feature that allows you to simply tap the image of the stolen or lost debit card to halt the card. Here at GHS FCU, to halt a lost or stolen debit card, also known as freezing the card, you will need to log into your online or mobile banking account and choose the option “Manage Cards” in the drop-down menu. From there, follow the prompts to freeze your debit card and stop all future purchases until you manually turn the card back on.

WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO REPORT LOSS OR THEFT IMMEDIATELY?

Card issuers don’t usually hold users liable in the event of card loss or theft. However, there are limits to their generosity. Card liability limits are why it’s important to report fraudulent transactions as soon as possible.

According to the FTC, you won’t be liable for unauthorized transactions on your debit card if you report its loss or theft before anyone else uses it. However, you may be held responsible to varying degrees, depending on how many business days you take to report it.

You will be charged no more than $50 if you manage to report the loss within two business days of becoming aware that your card has been lost or stolen. If it’s been more than two business days but less than 60 days since you received your statement, you could be responsible for up to charges of up to $500.

In the most difficult scenario, if you wait over 60 days from receiving your statement to report loss or theft of your debit card, you could be responsible for the entirety of the money taken out of your account with the card, as well as any linked accounts.

PROTECT YOUR DEBIT CARD FROM UNAUTHORIZED TRANSACTIONS

There are, of course, steps you can take to prevent debit card theft or unauthorized charges on a lost card. The FTC recommends the following steps:

  • Not sharing your account, card, or PIN number, especially over the phone (unless you’ve initiated a call with your bank or financial institution)
  • Commit your PIN to memory and never write it down
  • Keep a record of your debit card number, PIN, expiration date, and card issuer contact information in the event the card is stolen
  • Keep receipts and tear up copies
  • Cut up old cards (be sure to cut through the account number)
  • Check your account frequently to spot suspicious charges

BANK SECURELY WITH GHS FEDERAL CREDIT UNION

Life doesn’t come with guarantees, so there’s no way to say with confidence that you will never lose your debit card or it will never be stolen. However, there are plenty of ways to be smart and safe.

With GHS Federal Credit Union, you get a free instant issue debit card when you establish a checking account with us. Our VISA® Debit Card is accepted at ATMs worldwide. Even better, it comes with comprehensive fraud protection.

When it comes to fraud protection, there are additional ways to keep your money and your personal information secure. Want to know more? Check out our blog post on how to protect your account and personal information.

HOW TO PROTECT YOUR ACCOUNT AND PERSONAL INFORMATION