Banking fraud is a Unfortunate fact of life these days. At some point while reviewing your Monthly checking account statement Or online activity, you may notice a purchase you didn’t make. What should you do next?
If you find that an unauthorized transaction has occurred in your checking account, it is important to handle the situation immediately. When a fraud involves a debit card rather than Credit CardThe process may be slightly different.
How did anyone gain access to your check account?
There are many ways by which criminals can get information about your checking account. It is possible that you have lost your card and found the wrong person. Criminals also place card skimmers and hidden cameras to steal your account number and PIN at places like ATMs and gas pumps. Sometimes, however, account holders accidentally give away their personal information.
“Engineering is one of the most effective ways to gain access to a bank account,” says Jason Ianides, manager of solutions for Alloys, a financial technology firm that helps banks automate customer verification and identification Huh. According to Ioannides, this is when a bad actor approaches a potential victim and appears to be an authority figure.
After gaining some trust, the offender asks “identity related questions” to verify the identity of the victim before proceeding with some account action. Then, the thief uses the victim’s information – such as an account number, social security number, or mother’s maiden name – to answer security questions and access the victim’s account.
What should you do when you find an unauthorized transaction?
“If you detect a fraud, you should immediately contact the bank and talk to its fraud department,” says Ioannides. A representative will walk you through the next steps, such as canceling your debit card, ordering a new card, and setting new online banking passwords. In some cases, your account will freeze and you will need additional verification before any transaction.
It is also a good idea to follow up your phone call with a written or email letter. The letter should include your account number, date and time when you noticed that your card was missing or compromised, and when you reported unauthorized transactions.
“Doing it quickly can mean the difference between a small loss and a large one,” Ionides says. For one, if you report that your card was lost or stolen, before any fraudulent transactions actually occur, you are responsible for $ 0 in unauthorized charges, according to federal laws. If you allege fraud within two days, you cannot be held responsible for more than $ 50 in fees. Keep in mind that you have 60 days to dispute the transaction otherwise you may be stuck paying for it. It works differently than credit cards, where most issuers offer zero liability on disputed transactions.
Once you dispute an unauthorized transaction, the bank has 10 days to investigate. If a merchant is involved in the transaction, it is also a good idea to contact the merchant and dispute the purchase. If the bank does not, the merchant can refund your purchase.
When contacting your bank, you should call the number on the back of your ATM card. Ionides warns that fraudsters have been known to set up fake support numbers to obtain account holder information. If a bank explicitly asks you to notify them of a fraud attempt and is asking for personal information, call and call the number on the card instead of giving any information over the phone, as this is an attempt to fraud Can also happen.
Also, don’t forget that if you have bills to autopay from your checking account, you will need to update your debit card number on those accounts. Failure to do so may result in delayed payment.
How can you protect your checking account from thieves?
Here are some steps you can take to protect yourself:
Watch out for phishing. Be alert for fraudulent emails, phone calls or texts asking service providers such as banks to confirm or provide personal or account information to you. “Financial institutions will not ask for confidential information – such as your name, password, PIN, or other account information – when they reach you,” a representative says Chase Bank.
Use caution in ATM. If you are using your physical debit card, be careful where you swipe it. Criminals often install skimming equipment at ATMs and other payment terminals that are isolated or otherwise hidden.
Use technology to your advantage. According to Chase, your bank’s mobile app can help keep you safe while shopping, including mobile alerts and the ability to lock and unlock your debit card. If you are worried about unauthorized transactions, you can keep your card locked when you are not using it and be alerted when certain types of transactions occur.
Install additional protection. A strong password for your online bank account is not enough these days. “Multiformer authentication and biometrics are great security mechanisms that many smart devices access to us,” says Ioannides. It is also a good idea to stick to a credit card instead of your debit card when shopping online since fraud protection is more robust.
Keep an eye on your account. Since time is of the essence when it comes to catching unauthorized transactions, it is important to review your bank statement or online banking transactions regularly. Doing so will ensure that you immediately catch the suspect charge.