Debit Card Safety

How do you pay for your purchases? It may be instinct for you to pull out any piece of plastic without thinking, but your random card of choice might not be the safest way to pay. Let’s explore when and how to use your debit card. 

Credit and debit: How are they different? 
Appearances aside, your credit and debit cards have very little in common. Credit cards allow you to choose your purchases now and pay for them weeks, months or even years later. A balance that grows over time will be charged interest, but if you make timely payments, you’ll have yourself a small loan that usually costs you little to nothing. Credit cards also offer rewards, purchase protection and the ability to back out of a purchase you’ve decided against. You can also contest fraudulent charges on your account, or freeze your credit on a compromised card.  

Debit card payments, on the other hand, will take the money right out of your checking account as soon as you swipe. There’s no interest here, but there also may be less purchase protection. Debit cards are great for helping you stick to your budget and steer clear of debt. However, because they may offer little recourse in case of fraud, credit cards can be the better choice in vulnerable situations. 

Here’s where you may not want to use your debit card: 

  • At the pump. Card skimmers at gas stations are on the rise. By using your credit card instead of your debit card at the pump, you’ll have an added layer of protection against fraud. You can also choose to use cash and avoid the risk of getting skimmed altogether. 
  • At an isolated ATM. Isolated ATMs in locations with very little security and sparse foot traffic are prime targets for hackers.
  • In an unfamiliar location. When on vacation, think before you swipe. You don’t know the area and you can’t be certain which clerks are to be trusted. You’re better off paying with a credit card or with cash so your purchases are protected against fraud. 
  • For large purchases. If you’re springing for a big-ticket item, use your credit card. It’ll offer you dispute rights in case the product doesn’t turn out as you expected. 
  • Restaurants. When you hand a restaurant server your debit card at the end of a meal, they have more than enough time to also swipe your card info! 

Look out for skimmers.
DoverPhila Federal Credit Union encourages its members to use their debit or credit card with caution. It is always good practice to check the payment processor for anything that looks out-of-place, such as a newer keypad on an older machine or a hard-to-use slot for cards.

Stay ahead of hackers.
The credit union offers the My Mobile Money App, a mobile app that helps you control and monitor debit card usage anywhere and at any time using your smartphone, for free! Download the app and take control for your debit card by clicking here.

How Do Merchant Data Breaches Affect Your Identity?

Every year millions of Americans become victims of fraud due to merchant data breaches. And, with the recent Equifax breach, which affected 145.5 million people, chances are your information has been compromised. 

Although most consumers have probably only heard about a few breaches, more than 1,100 data security breaches have occurred thus far this year exposing more than 171 million data records, according to the Identity Theft Resource Center. Many credit unions are working hard to implement debit and credit card chip technology, but they do not prevent online merchant transaction fraud. As cybersecurity threats continue to evolve in both sophistication and scale, the need to safeguard your data has never been more critical.

Credit unions work hard to protect their members' data security including blocking and re-issuing cards as needed. When fraud occurs, they work with members to remove the fraudulent charges and help members keep their hard-earned money. When the merchants cause a data breach, they pass along the costs of their poor security to credit unions and banks. Expenses like this are making it harder for credit unions to offer credit cards with low interest rates and free debit cards with checking accounts. With more and more merchant data breaches occurring each year consumer identity fraud will only continue to increase, placing your private information into the hands of criminals.

So, what do you do if your identity is compromised? Here are some tips and resources to help:

  • Verify fraud. If unauthorized account transactions occur, contact your financial institution or company where fraud has occurred to report unknown charges.
  • Update your passwords. Once fraud is confirmed, change account logins and passwords. Passwords should be robust with multiple types of characters (upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols).
  • Take control. To avoid additional compromises place an initial fraud alert by calling one of the three national credit reporting companies (Equifax: 800-525-6285; Experian: 888-397-3742; TransUnion: 800-680-7289).
  • Report theft. To begin an identity recovery plan report your theft to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) online at IdentityTheft.gov or by phone at 1-877-438-4338.

To learn more about how merchant data breaches are affecting your credit union visit www.stopthedatabreaches.com.

Tax Identity Theft Awareness Week Aims to Educate Consumers about Scams

Identity theft is a serious crime. When a thief obtains your personal information such as your mother's maiden name, your date of birth, or your account number, they can open fraudulent credit cards, charge existing credit cards, write share drafts, open share accounts, or obtain new loans – but did you know they can also use your Social Security number to receive a tax refund or a job? It is called Tax Identity Theft and tax season is the most common time for this type of fraudulence to happen.

To educate members about this type of theft, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has announced that January 25 through January 29 is Tax Identity Theft Awareness Week for 2016. The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) has updated its tax identity theft resources page on the MyCreditUnion.gov consumer website to provide information to help credit union members understand and prevent identity theft, to protect themselves from other frauds and scams, and the steps used to report all fraudulent activity.

The Federal Trade Commission is also hosting a series of educational events online to correspond with Tax Identity Theft Awareness Week:

  • January 26 at 2:00 p.m. (EST) – the FTC and AARP’s Fraud Watch Network and Tax Aide Program will co-host a webinar for consumers addressing how tax identity theft happens and what people should do if they become a victim.

  • January 27 at 11:00 a.m. (EST) – Twitter Chat with Information for Veterans about Tax IDT hosted by FTC and Department of Veterans Affairs

  • January 28 at 1:00 p.m. (EST) – Assisting Victims of Tax Identity Theft, a webinar hosted by FTC and IRS

  • January 29 at 2:00 p.m. (EST) – FTC and ITRC Twitter Chat #IDTheftChat

For more information on protecting yourself and others against identity theft, visit ftc.gov/idtheft.

What Happens When Your Debit Card Is Compromised

Finding out that your debit card information was compromised is unnerving. Unfortunately, this type of fraud is on the rise and there is no way to avoid it. Card compromises occur when unauthorized individuals gain access to debit card information through a merchant or card processor computer system. This is sometimes referred to as “hacking” into or installing “Malware” to capture data on a computer system. Even though a card is compromised, it does not mean there is fraudulent activity occurring within the member’s account. 

DoverPhila Federal Credit Union is notified by their card processor and/or MasterCard® when there is a compromise situation. To minimize your inconvenience with compromised cards, DoverPhila will send a notification letter to the affected member that a new card has been ordered.  Within two weeks of the date of this letter, your new card should arrive in a plain white envelope.  Your compromised debit card will automatically be cancelled two weeks after the date on the notification letter; if you would like this card closed immediately, please contact the debit card department.

Your new card will be assigned a PIN (personal identification number) which, for security reasons, will arrive in a separate mailing roughly three days after the arrival of your new debit card.

For questions or additional information, please contact a DoverPhila Federal Credit Union member service representative by calling 330-364-8874.