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Protect Your Debit Card from Spooky Activity

There’s nothing spookier than discovering that your debit card information has been compromised. While we might enjoy being spooked for fun during the Halloween holiday, there are some scary situations that are best to avoid. To help you enjoy only the best spooky parts of the season, we’ve come up with five potential dangers to be aware of when using a debit card.
Did you know that if your debit card has been fraudulently used, you could be responsible for the damage? When your card is lost or stolen, you typically only have two days after discovering the loss to notify your bank. If you happen to realize that your card is missing within those two days, you will just limit your losses to $50 and be able to get the rest of your money back. If you do not realize that the card is missing until later, you could lose up to $500 or maybe even all of what you lost. While many banks do have better debit card protection for their customers and will often try to help customers recover all of their losses, it is important to recognize the potential dangers of losing a debit card.
Online Purchases 
Online purchases pose a danger for debit card users because it is becoming more difficult to know that the website you are making a purchase on is secure. It is easy for hackers and thieves to make a website look legitimate then steal your information as you enter it. While reaching for your debit card may be convenient when making online purchases, it might be better to opt for a credit card because you can more easily dispute credit card transactions than debit card transactions. When you do make online purchases, ensure that you are familiar with the brand and check for security symbols such as an unbroken key or padlock in the browser. These security measures mean your information will be encrypted, thus harder for hackers to access.
Public Wireless Access
Using public wifi can pose a threat when making online purchases and checking bank account information because the network is not password protected. Public access networks might allow anyone to capture your password and account information. Try to wait to shop or check online bank statements and accounts when you are on your home wifi or other secure, password-protected wifi networks.
Most of us never consider the potential dangers of handing our debit cards over when paying for dinner. We all do it and it seems pretty normal. However, for the few minutes your card is out of sight, it could be easy for thieves to access your information by copying your card number or running your card through a skimmer to copy the information. Consider opting for cash if you know that you will be going out for dinner.
ATMs and Gas Machines
ATMs and pay-at-the-pump gas machines are notoriously known as potential skimming locations because they are largely unmonitored and hundreds of people have access to them a day. ATMs located in bus stations, airports, convenience stores, and malls offer thieves a great place to attach skimming technology that can capture your debit card information because they are often not under specific video surveillance. Consider only using ATMs that are associated with our credit union and paying for your gas with a credit card or in person rather than using the machine.
It is important to be aware of the potential dangers when making purchases with debit cards, because when you use a debit card, the money is almost instantly taken from your checking account. If someone illegally uses your card, you could be responsible for some or all of those charges. Even though using a debit card is a great convenience, it isn’t so convenient when someone compromises your checking account. Implementing even just a few new habits could go a long way in preventing a scary debit card scenario. To keep an eye on your information, you should check your bank statements and review your online accounts on a regular basis. Checking the statements at least once a week, if not once a day, is a good practice. You should also report stolen or lost debit cards and any suspected fraudulent activity to your bank immediately. The quicker you report a problem, the faster you can avoid additional charges. Finally, consider changing your pin and account password every few months.
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