7 On Your Side: Tips to prevent debit, credit card fraud

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - By Courtney Lane - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - bio | email | Twitter

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - More and more East Texans say their debit or credit cards are being compromised, with hundreds even thousands of dollars wiped out of their accounts. Police say it is a growing crime and another reason you should treat cards just like cash.

"It's sad to say that you can't trust people," said Beverly Thompson, who's husband was alarmed to find several large transactions on his checking account. "He said somebody's got my number and I'm just like, 'Where's your card?' He said, 'I have my card in my pocket.'"

Indeed somehow, someone stole his card number and used it successfully.

"They were like $400 to $500 hits at a time," said Thompson.

Mechele Mills with the Better Business Bureau says it even happened to her husband.

"We don't know how somebody got his number but the bank was really on top of it and called us and let us know that somebody in Canada had used his credit card number," said Mills.

The BBB says there are a number of ways thieves get your card number, such as accessing your bank's database. Then, selling your number which is to make bogus cards.

"Even wait staff has been known to, as they take your card, to go run it through their machine, write down your number and they can create a card that way," said Mills.

"You need to protect those just like it was were your Social Security number," said Financial fraud detective, Royce Jordan.

He sees it every day and is very cautious about using his card in public places.

"Me personally, I like to use cash but sometimes, realistically, sometimes using the card makes more sense," said Jordan. "You guard it."

To help protect yourself when making purchases online, make sure the site says 'https' not just 'http'. The 's' means the site is secure.

Don't leave bills or bank statements in your mailbox - especially if you go out of town.

Also, sign up for alerts with your bank so they can notify you instantly when a withdrawal is made.

If you do fall victim to this kind of crime, time is not always on your side. To ensure all your money is refunded through the bank, you have to file a claim immediately. Every bank has their own policy but if they find fraudulent activity, banks will reimburse you within a certain time frame. You also need to report the crime to local authorities.

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