February 2017

How Debit Card Fraud Happens and How to Avoid It

For many people, debit cards are the perfect plastic. They offer most of the conveniences of credit cards with no risk of accumulating debt.

But like credit cards, debit cards are vulnerable to rip-off artists. And debit card fraud is particularly scary because thieves can withdraw money directly from your checking account.

Here's how debit fraud happens and how to protect yourself.

HOW IDENTITY THIEVES OPERATE

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Whose Fault is Fraud? The Complicated Reality of Debit Card Transactions

When you use your debit card, you can see interaction among three parties:

1.) You tell a merchant you’d like to buy something.
2.) That merchant tells your credit union to pay money from your account.
3.) Your credit union asks you to authorize the transaction.

If something goes wrong in that process, you assume it’s the fault of one of these three parties. In the modern financial world, though, nothing is simple.

Here’s a look at three other places a financial transaction could go south and how to protect yourself.

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