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How to Handle Debit Card Fraud By Valencia Higuera, eHow Contributor

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Losing or having your debit card stolen can significantly complicate your personal finances. Swiping your debit card for a purchase deducts funds directly from your bank account. If someone steals your card or gains access to your card number, this person can potentially deplete funds from your bank account. This can result in overdraft fees and bounced checks. It's imperative to act fast if you suspect debit card fraud.

Things You'll Need
  • Bank statement
  • Police Report
  • Contact Information of the establishment that posted the charge to your account.

Instructions

  • 1. Call customer service to report problems. Check your bank account daily to ensure the accuracy and legitimacy of transactions. Notify your bank immediately if you detect unknown charges on your account. Provide the name of the vendor and the amount of the transaction.

  • 2. Cancel your debit card and request a new one. Debit card numbers do not match bank account numbers. Canceling the stolen card and receiving a new debit card stops fraudulent activity. Your bank may recommend closing or freezing the account. If keeping your original bank account opened, continue to closely monitor the account.

  • 3. Notify creditors and merchants. If you recently wrote checks on your account or have automated withdrawals, contact creditors to submit an alternate payment.

  • 4. Contact the local police. Speak with the bank to see if the company will report the crime. If not, file your own police report in the jurisdiction where the crime occurred.

Tips & Warnings

  • Some online banking systems allow you to put a limit on your debit card purchases (some only allow you to set an "alert" amount, which will allow the bank to email you when your account dips below a certain balance). This can be a great tool if you're confident you will never make a purchase over a specific dollar amount.

  • If you have renter's or homeowner's insurance, these policies will often help you recover your money if the bank refuses to work with you.

  • Your debit card is not protected with the same liability clauses as your credit card. You may be liable for some portion of the fraudulent charges. Whenever you feel unsure about using your debit card, don't. Use a credit card, if you are able; credit cards often are very well protected from fraud.

  • Card skimming is an increasingly popular form of crime since it can be difficult to prosecute. Never use a debit card if something seems suspicious about the card machine.

  • Don't use a debit card at a gas station pump, as this is where many instances of this form of crime occur.

Valencia Higuera

Valencia Higuera is a freelance writer from Chesapeake, Virginia. She has contributed content to print publications and online publications such as Sidestep.com, AOL Travel, Work.com and ABC Loan Guide. Higuera primarily works as a personal finance, travel and medical writer. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English/journalism from Old Dominion University.

Via eHow.com

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