Throughout the course of last year, many Canadians experienced an upgrade in their credit cards by having them replaced with new chip cards. The new cards featuring the new and innovative chips help for greater prevention of fraud as customers are required to punch in a PIN instead of signing for the charge just like they do with their debit cards.
Debit cards are already showing lower levels of fraud using this technology. As Stefania Moretti of QMI Agency reports today, the Interac Association is finding that although fraud is still considerably high, the amount that took place in 2010 shows a dip in frequency. She writes that “money lost to debit card fraud fell 16% from $142.3 million in 2009 to $119 million in 2010.”
As a result, Interac had to reimburse 205,200 debit cardholders last year compared to 238,000 the year before. Debit card fraud, also known as “skimming”, still remains a problem, however. By 2012, says Moretti, all Canadian bank machines should be upgraded to assist in preventing further incidents of skimming.
Said Caroline Hubberstey, the director of public and government affairs for Interac Association and Acxsys Corporation: “Through sophisticated fraud monitoring, co-ordination with law enforcement and industry players, and ongoing product innovation, such as the migration to chip technology, we are helping to make a safe payments system even more secure.”
In the meantime, there are a number of ways that debit cardholders can help to protect themselves from incidents of fraud. Moretti lists some tips recommended by Interac to keep your money safe. The first is take advantage of the new chip card system and avoid swiping your card if possible.
Also, be sure to protect your PIN. When entering your number at a terminal or a bank machine, cover up with your hand so as to not reveal the sequence of numbers. Many ABMs have a covering over the key pad nowadays as well. Take a quick look around and make sure that no one is watching your transaction closely.
By the way, be sure to memorize your PIN and avoid writing it down anywhere. As well, something that is often overlooked is the checking of monthly statements. Take the time to go through them and make sure that there are no unfamiliar charges. If there are, be sure to contact your bank as soon as possible to report the potential fraud.