Protecting Yourself Against Debit Card Fraud

September 29, 2021

When you use your debit or credit card do you worry about someone ripping you off?

It’s a common thought these days with how frequently we hear about data breaches and identity theft.

On top of everything else you continually hear about scammers “phishing” for your financial information using fake emails or websites.

Given that there is such a focus on credit cards, you may be surprised to learn that consumer experts are concerned with fraud involving your debit/ATM card.

A look at debit card fraud statistics: 

According to In 2020, 25% of consumers reported increases of debit card fraud. 12% of consumers reported their card was lost or stolen in 2020. 13% of consumers reported fraudulent charges on their debit cards in 2020. 11% were notified by the card issuer of actual or potential debit card fraud in 2020. 

In 2017 when EMV chip cards became more prominent the increase in fraud decreased by 10%. 

Problem solved? No way. Consumer experts still say that fraud is still on the upswing and scammers are finding ways to get around the chip. So, what should you do if this happens to you? Should you stop using your card? At First Oklahoma FCU we wouldn’t suggest that. After all, debit cards provide convenient buying power and access to cash and other services at thousands of ATMs around the world. 

Consider these ideas:

  1. Take precautions when using your card
  2. Monitor your checking account for unauthorized transactions using our online banking tools.
  3. Know what to do if you should have a problem.

Beware of skimmers at unknown ATMs

How can someone use your card without having the card? Those same people pursue debit card information online. Dishonest employees can eyeball your card and pin number when you make a retail purchase. Also, checkout terminals at retail stores can be hacked.

Another is something called a “skimmer”. It’s a small device with tiny cameras that can be secretly

attached to ATMs or retail terminals and record every transaction. So, watch for anything unusual near the entry slot of where you put your card. Rule of thumb: shake the card ready first to see if anything is unusual. If it moves or isn’t attached very well, that could be a sign that someone put something that wasn’t supposed to be in there.  


It’s always a good idea to use a Credit union ATM or one that is well lit. The “well-lit” rule goes for other places, such as gas stations. If you are using a debit card payments at a pump that is closest to the building. Better yet walk inside and pay at the counter. 

You can also make sure you avoid using your debit card at an establishment with high turnover of employees. Such as low-end retailers or restaurants. These types of places don’t do background checks that might detect dishonest applicants. 

Monitor Your Account

One silver lining with debit card fraud is it’s easy to spot if you know what you’re looking for. Advocates suggest that you take the following steps, so it doesn’t happen to you. 

  • Use online banking. Check your balance and recent transactions daily, looking for purchases or withdrawals you didn’t make.
  • Sign up for alerts. First Oklahoma FCU we’re always on the lookout for unusual activity in your account. Our fraud department will contact you if we deem anything suspicious.
  • Switch to E-Statements. If you miss something while monitoring your online banking, you might see it while viewing your monthly electronic statement. Signing up for E-Statements through our online portals also eliminates the possibility of having account information stolen out of your mailbox. 
  • Keep several accounts. Checking accounts are a great place to keep money for everyday expenses. But consider moving extra cash to a savings account or certificates. Doing so could limit the financial damages that could happen if you kept all your money in one singular account. Plus, you can gain interest on money you’re not using. 

Report Problems as SOON as you notice something may be wrong.

Visa, Mastercard, and other credit card companies have their own fraud response programs.

They can spot problems when a card is used improperly, or when questionable charges first show up on your bill. That allows you to address the situation before paying for items you didn’t buy or authorize.

First Oklahoma FCU has its own debit card fraud protection. If you notice any problems with your account, you can call us at 918-582-1965 or toll-free at 1-800-843-9661.

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