In today’s world consumers use their debit cards more often than other payment methods, but with frequent use comes the increased potential for fraud. “The public need to better understand how to keep their bank cards safe,” says Pat LeBlanc, Surrey RCMP Crime Prevention Coordinator for South Surrey.

To enjoy the many conveniences of debit cards and to reduce the risk of becoming a victim of fraud, consumers should keep these recommendations in mind:

1. Get in the habit of using the same ATM machine for your transactions. Become familiar with it and be able to recognize changes to the machine.
2. Use ATM machines inside banks rather than on the street (where they’re easier for thieves to access).
3. If you’re visiting an unfamiliar ATM machine that is not inside a bank, examine it carefully for devices. Card or cash trapping devices need to be glued or taped to the card reader or cash dispenser. Look for ‘extra’ cameras beyond the basic and generally obvious ATM security camera.
4. Never rely on the help of strangers to retrieve a confiscated card.
5. Never use an ATM machine when other people are lingering.
6. Report confiscated cards immediately. If you can, don’t leave the machine. Instead call the bank from the ATM where your card was taken using a cell phone.
7. Don’t use ATM machines with extra signage or warnings posted on the machine.
8. Never follow a link in a supposed bank email notice. If you are wondering if your bank has really contacted you via email, then close the email and directly type your bank’s website address into your browser. Visit your account and look for update notices directly on your account or bank’s website.
The email is almost always a phishing scam.

If you believe you are the victim of ATM or Debit Card fraud, contact your bank immediately. “It is important that everyone makes protecting your debit card a priority,” says LeBlanc. “Awareness, prevention and a quick response are the keys to keeping your ATM, Debit and Cards safe from fraud.”