Here’s to all the times you waited in line at the grocery store only to hear the lanky teen-aged cashier mumble awkwardly, “this card says its stolen.” Fortunately, those instances are becoming less common as consumers smarten up their spending habits.
According to Interac, losses from debit card fraud as a result of skimming in 2012 (which might have been responsible for your bad luck at the till) were the lowest on record since 2003.
Losses fell 73 per cent from a staggering high of $142 million in 2009 to $38.5 million in 2012 – a mere 0.012 per cent of domestic debit card volume.
The Fight Against Fraud
Predictably, the number of cardholders reimbursed followed suit dropping from 238,000 in 2009 to 93,800 in 2012 which is no doubt a breath of relief given the organization’s zero liability policy where cardholders are reimbursed for losses resulting form circumstances beyond their control.
“Our multi-layer strategy to fight debit card fraud is producing significant results and continues to reinforce strong confidence in the safety, soundness and security of the world-class Interac system,” said Caroline Hubberstey, Head of External Communications for Interac Association and Acxsys Corporation. “The ongoing conversion to chip technology is a vital tactic in our fraud prevention strategy, which is supported by other core elements that are critical to our continued success.”
It’s All In The Chip
Chip technology is a lot more difficult to copy that the magnetic strip tech previously used.
As of January 2013, 99 per cent of Interac debit cards and 99.6 per cent of ABMs had been converted to chip. Further to that, nearly 90 per cent of point-of-sale terminals (POS) had been converted with plans to convert all POS by the end of 2015.
Be A Smart Consumer
Despite the gadgets develop by banks to keep your information secure, ultimately the consumer plays a huge role in preventing theft.
Here are a few steps you can take:
- If you have a chip card, when possible insert the chip rather than swiping. If the POS device is not chip capable it will tell you.
- Always protect your pin using your hand or body when making transactions. Keep an eye on your debit card when conducting a transaction at the checkout and don’t leave it behind.
- Keep tabs on your banking statements and contact your bank immediately if you see any unusual activity, like, purchases you did not make or missing charges.
- Call your financial institution immediately, if your debit card is lost, stolen or retained by an ABM.
- Memorize your pin – only you should know it.
- Choose a unique PIN that doesn’t include any personal or obvious numbers.
- If an AMB seems sketchy, don’t use it and report it to the financial institution immediately.
- Be alert and pay attention. If you feel like you’re being watched, cancel the transaction and use another machine.