Here are some rules for keeping your debit card transactions safe:
Check Your Bank Statements Often- Since time is of the essence to receive full fraud protection from your bank, make it a habit of reviewing your bank account online at least once a week, or even daily.
Protect Your PIN Number- Don't give your PIN number to anyone who asks and don't keep it written down anywhere in your purse or wallet. Don't use your PIN at the gas pump: use your card in the credit purchase function to avoid someone seeing it.
Consider Avoiding Debit Card Use Online- Some consumers choose to only use credit cards online since a fraudulent credit card transaction will take more time and can become an item of dispute rather than an instant removal of cash from your checking account. The Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco recommends checking for a security symbol such as an unbroken key or a padlock on each website before you order anything because these symbols mean your information will be encrypted and therefore safer.
Only Use ATMs at a Bank- ATMs located in convenience stores, subway stations, airports and other places have a greater risk of having a "skimming" device attached by a thief, which could store your debit card data. This sometimes happens at banks, too, but it is easier to do in a place without surveillance cameras.
Don't Use Public Wireless Access for Financial Transactions- Make sure you are using password protected wireless signal to check your bank account balance, pay bills and to shop so that hackers have less of a chance to capture your password and account information.
Report Problems Immediately- While you would certainly report it right away if your wallet was stolen and your credit and debit cards are missing, you should also report any unauthorized transactions immediately, too. The faster you report a problem, the quicker you can cancel your debit card and prevent additional charges.
Consider Filing a Police Report- If your debit card is stolen, you may want to contact the police so that you have extra support when you want your bank to reimburse the charges.
Create Your Own Security Profile- As long as you remember the answers, you can make up anything you want for your security questions. Using a pet's name or your mother's maiden name makes it too easy for cons to get into your account. The answers just have to be consistent, and not necessarily truthful.
Final Words- While you may find constantly using a debit card to be a great convenience, it won't be so convenient if someone manages to drain your checking account. A little bit of vigilance and some new habits on your part can go a long way to preventing a damaging debit card experience.