By Kelly Elliott, Carolina News
Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday kicked off the holiday season, and shoppers are rushing to swipe their debit cards. Unfortunately, hackers are also rushing to swipe those same cards.
Many people pay close attention to what is going on in their bank accounts this time of year and take extra precautions against credit and debit card fraud. But what happens if your debit card is compromised when you aren't so alert? Debit and credit card fraud is a year round problem and is not limited to the holiday season.
Most financial institutions do offer some sort of security that will notify you of suspicious transactions in your account, but you can never be too safe. You should always closely monitor your account for any transactions you didn't make.
Experts say if your debit card is compromised, cancel the card immediately. Next, contact the business where the transaction was made to see if it can refund the money or give you any additional information about the purchase. Many financial institutions require you to do this before they will refund the money. Make a note of any information the business can give you, as well as the name of the representative you speak with.
Finally, go to your financial institution and file a dispute. The institution will investigate the transactions, then refund the money to the account if there is evidence you did not make them.
The easiest way to prove the transactions are not yours is if they took place in a different location, especially in a different state, or if several transactions were made back to back.
Mallory Blackmon's debit card was compromised in March, no where near the holiday season.
"I was sitting in class, and my dad called me, and he was like, did you go to a gas station this morning and make four or five different purchases, and obviously I panicked and was like no," Blackmon said.
Blackmon was able to easily prove the transactions were not hers.
"Someone had gone to some gas station, not even around the area, and made five or six purchases that were like three dollars, five dollars, four dollars, and then they tried to make a twenty five dollar purchase, I think it was online, and it didn't go through," she said.
Blackmon had around $50 taken from her account, but she was fortunate she caught the fraudulent activity early. She was able to get the money back, but it took nearly two months.
Most financial institutions will refund the money to your account if your debit card is compromised, but it is not unusual for it take a minimum of six to eight weeks. So, be sure to check your account often, regardless of the time of year, to catch any transactions you haven't made.