Identity Theft Articles

Keeping debit, credit cards safe this summer

Keeping debit, credit cards safe this summer

Protecting their personal information is something consumers should take care to do at all times.

This June, however, they are getting a little help from Discover Financial Services company PULSE. The ATM and debit network is honoring ATM & Debit Card Safety Awareness Month by offering advice for consumers with all sorts of payment options and situation, according to a recent release.

"To keep money safe and secure, consumers need to better understand how to work with their financial institution to combat security compromises and fraudulent use of financial information," Jim Cichy, vice president of fraud management for PULSE, said.

First, it is important to keep one's personal information number secret. Changing it often and using different PINs for each account can also reduce an individual's risk of identity theft. Consumers should also be cautious about sharing their PIN over the telephone, according to the release, and never let a cashier insert their number for them.

People may also want to block the view of the debit terminal when inserting their PIN. Gas stations where skimming devices have been installed are frequently home to video cameras, which are use by fraudsters to watch consumers' transactions. Reducing visibility can minimize the effectiveness of these tactics, according to the report.

Consumers should immediately vacate the area of any outdoor terminal if someone or something suspicious appears during the transaction. If the terminal keypad appears to be tampered with, do not use it and notify the bank.

There are other measures consumers should take when shopping online. A lock symbol in the corner of the browser window will indicate that a website is secure, according to the report, while URLs that begin with https indicate a secure page. It is important to finish and log off after all transactions.

Consumers may also want to be careful with sharing personal information via email. Phishing messages from fraudsters pretending to be financial institutions often ask for credit card numbers, PINs and other non-public information that can be used for identity theft. Legitimate emails from banks will never include this kind of request.

PULSE urged consumers to notify financial institutions immediately after noticing their card has been compromised. This can put an end to fraudulent charges and help consumers get their finances bank in order quickly. It may also reduce individuals' liability, according to the report.