Have you been a victim of credit or debit card fraud? One Money Minute viewer reached out for help. She writes, “My husband and I have the same bank and have had multiple fraud charges on our card. Is that a bank issue that needs to be resolved or is it something we’re doing wrong?”
Credit and debit card fraud and theft have become alarmingly growing threats to consumers. RP Funding CEO and host of the Money Minute radio show, Robert Palmer uses his financial expertise to answer this viewer question and offer valuable advice on combating credit and debit card fraud.
Palmer says, “Because fraud is so prolific, I never recommend using debit cards. I am, however, a big fan of using credit cards — as long as users pay them off each month and are careful of where they use them.”
Look Before You Swipe
If a card is ever lost or stolen, or if an unauthorized transaction is noticed on a statement, it’s probably not the bank’s fault. The blame may fall on where the card has been used. For example, there are certain gas stations that get targeted with card scanners. It could also be that a server swiped your card info at a restaurant you visited, or maybe an online shopping service that you frequent has been compromised. Whatever happened, it’s on the card holder to catch those unauthorized charges and report them, or else they may be held responsible.
How to Combat Fraudulent Debit Charges
If fraudulent charges happened on a debit card and money was taken directly out of the card holder’s bank account, then they would only have 60 days to catch and report the charges. At which point, the bank would conduct an investigation. If the charges are reported after 60 days, they could be held responsible for up to $500 in unauthorized transactions. So then maybe their rent check, mortgage, or car payment would bounce. Maybe their card would get declined at the pump or at the ATM. It’s terrible!
Contact Your Credit Card Provider
On the other hand, there are so many safeguards to protect credit card users from fraudulent charges. If the same unauthorized charges happened on a credit card, then they would simply trigger an alert that would flag their account. The banks would then freeze the account and issue the card holder a new credit card. This process would raise their balance, but the bank wouldn’t be able to take their hard-earned dollars.
Palmer adds, “This is a great example of why I recommend the use of credit cards instead of debit cards, and for consumers to always look before they swipe.”