How to protect yourself from debit card fraud

If you let fraudulent charges go unreported for more than 60 days after your bank statement, the bank is not liable for your loss. Here's what you need to do to protect yourself.

debit card fraud
If you find that your debit card is lost or stolen, immediately call your bank’s fraud hotline. File a report with your bank within 2 business days if you discover any spurious charges or deductions from your bank account.

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Almost everyone uses a debit card, but along with that comes the risk of what if it gets lost or stolen? You might have your debit card at one moment and, at the other, it can be stolen and used to commit debit card fraud. You stand of losing all your cash too if it’s stolen. Thus, it is very important to keep the card safe. But if you still land in a similar situation, worry not as not all horses have left the barn. You still have actions that can save you from a financial disaster. How? Let’s find out!

Report unauthorized transactions to the bank

It is the most significant step to protect your money after the card has been lost or stolen. Instantly call your bank’s fraud hotline and report to protect yourself from debit card fraud. By doing this, your bank can lock your account before any illegitimate transactions can take place so that you won’t lose any money or funds from your account.

File a report with your bank within 2 business days if you discover fraudulent charges or deductions from your account. In some cases, your bank may cut an amount up to $50 from your account if you receive reimbursement later. The Federal Trade Commission states that the maximum loss can be up to $500 if you delay reporting the lost or stolen card for more than 2 days.

Don’t let debit card fraud go unchecked

If you let fraudulent charges go unreported for more than 60 days after your bank statement is sent out, and there is a suspicious withdrawal or transaction during this period, the bank is legally required to hold you responsible and the bank won’t repay cash for your missing funds. Additionally, if you have an overdraft account that someone takes advantage of and attempts to transfer money into a checking account, you could lose everything in your account.

There are chances that your bank may suspend your account at the time of interrogation. You may be asked to send the email or upload personal information such as your social security number and a replica of your driver’s license.

Try to ask your bank for support

The bank may charge you overdraft fees for the drop in cash balance that has been deceitfully taken from your account. Ask your bank to forgo the overdraft fees until the resolution is achieved. You can also request your bank to aid with short-term credit to your account.

Make sure you have other funding sources like your emergency fund or savings account to pay for expenses while the investigation is in process. If you do not have any such quick access reserves, consider raising one. You can request your employer to pay in advance or seek community assistance. Peer to peer loan-raising platforms might also be a good way to raise funds.

Keep an eye on bank transactions 

The bank may invalidate your card yet hold your account open when your card is lost or stolen. So anyone can misuse your card number by accessing your account online. In this case, periodic monitoring of your daily transactions can be helpful to detect fraud or any unfamiliar transactions promptly. You can also use your bank’s mobile app or its website for this purpose.

Bank rules you need to follow

After you file a report of fraudulent transactions to your bank, it will typically take 10 days to investigate. The bank has one day to correct the fraudulent transaction. It will take them 3 business days to communicate the same to you. 

If you are unsatisfied with any of the bank investigations, you have the freedom to file your objections with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. You can also file grievances online at consumerfinance.gov or by phone at 855-411-2372.

Most banks will take 15 to 60 days to respond to your complaints. You will then have 60 days to submit your feedback as a revert to the bank. 

The bottom line

It is dreadful to even imagine your card getting stolen and someone missing your hard-earned money. Fortunately, you can protect your money by reporting to your bank immediately for any debit card fraud. Banks may take time to identify the fraud and reimburse your account. Therefore, it depends on how promptly you report to the bank with valid proof. So, the best practice here is to keep your card safe. Don’t give it to anyone else, and remember that prevention is better than cure! 

This page is purely informational. Line does not provide financial, legal or accounting advice. This article has been prepared for informational purposes only. It is not intended to provide financial, legal or accounting advice and should not be relied on for the same. Please consult your own financial, legal and accounting advisors before engaging in any transactions.

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