Banking experts anticipating this Christmas shopping season predicted that more of us would be using ATM cards as the buying kicks into high gear.
Bank fraud experts say thieves count on it.
Misappropriation of ATM and debit card numbers is a fast-growing slice of the approximately $475 million a year that authorities estimate is lost to stolen plastic.
And although many of us know how to stop a credit card loss when a bogus charge shows up on the bill, we aren’t as sure what to do if that happens to a faster-paying ATM or debit card.
One of the first places to find out is the bank or savings and loan that issued your card. Check ahead of time to find out whom you have to notify if there is trouble.
Another, less obvious place to turn for help might be your homeowners or renter’s insurance policy, said Jeanne Salvatore of the Insurance Information Institute.
“Many policies cover at least some of the loss resulting from theft or unauthorized use,” Salvatore said.
“It’s pretty common, even in the most basic policies,” she said.
Covering credit card loss is basically an extension of the coverage that would pay benefits if someone stole your wallet or you lost it.
But check with your insurance agent for particulars, Salvatore suggested.
Basic street smarts are helpful too, she said.
Guard your card as you would watch cash.
Don’t share your PIN number with anyone, especially not over the telephone.
Don’t leave receipts behind, and report any trouble immediately.
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