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Someone Is Using My Debit Card! How to Keep Track and What to Do?

Someone is using my debit card and cleaning out my checking account, What to do??

Indeed an absolutely terrifying predicament, especially if there are still pending transactions that will incur additional penalties and charges, thereby magnifying your total losses.

This strenuous situation can be even more troubling if the debit card is still in your possession, meaning that your account number and PIN number have been stolen, but by who, where and how?

Debit card fraud in definitely on the rise, and credit card fraud in on a slight decline. In 2010 debit card fraud amounted to 36% of all card fraud, up from 27% in 2009.

The 2011 Identity Fraud Survey Report  estimates that 1.4% of consumers fall victim to debit card fraud annually, on a par with credit cards, which are easier to use fraudulently due to the lack of PIN number input requirements. The most frightening issue concerning debit card fraud is that it is the consumer who has to foot the bill, not some faceless entity, and losses can be much larger.

Of course, the vast majority of consumers can eventually get their money back, although a wait of seven to ten days is not unusual while the issuing institution conducts its investigation. Javelin Strategy and Research found that consumers typically spend 28 hours sorting out the problem, from making phone calls to filing a police report.

The average fraud amount is $2,529, with consumers having to endure a $795 loss.

Ways to Keep Track of Transactions

How to keep track of the checking account balance is simply a matter of going online and verify transactions, preferably on a daily basis, particularly since losses are generally limited to $50 if the lost or stolen debit card is reported within 48 hours, the same amount as with credit cards. After the two days have elapsed, the liability mushrooms to $500, and after 60 days, the losses can become unlimited.

What to Do, Without Wasting a Single Second?

In case the debit card is not lost or stolen, a limit of 60 days is imposed on fraudulent activity. If the charges are not reported within that time period, losses also become unlimited. The recent case of Global Payments in early 2012 illustrates the need for extreme vigilance. Initially, Global Payments estimated the number of compromised accounts to be 1.5 Million, but now industry experts are saying the number could reach 7 Million. Visa and MasterCard have since decertified the company as a compliant card processor.

If the debit card also has credit card features, it is highly suggested that the card be used as a credit card in order not to compromise the PIN number, and credit card balances can always be paid in full at the end of the month to avoid interest charges altogether.

Most debit card issuing institutions have fraud protection systems in place, but if you are telling yourself that someone is using your debit card and due diligence has not been exercised by reporting fraud at the earliest time possible, you will have to bear the ultimate responsibility.

Always be on the alert and protect your PIN number from prying eyes.

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