Fraud can be a time-consuming, emotionally exhausting mess.
There are federal protections for you if you are the victim of fraud, but you want to prevent fraud from occurring in the first place.
Here are some tips for keeping your card safe:
Don't share your PIN with anyone unless they are a co-owner of your account. Internet scams often start out with a person trying to become your friend online and then seeking financial "help."
Do not write your PIN on your card or near it. It's best to memorize it.
Keep your card in a safe place and stay in the habit of doing that. Some people lock it away in a safe until they need to use it, and then put it back when done.
Review your bank statements as soon as they arrive; time will be of the essence when discovering and reporting any discrepancies or unauthorized charges. The earlier you report suspicious activity, the less your liability for unauthorized charges will be.
Do not give out your bank information over the phone or online to anyone unless you initiated the contact or you know the person on the other end. Criminals are known to call people and ask them to "verify" their account information. Spam emails are notorious for doing this.
When using your PIN in a card machine, make sure no one can watch the transaction. That includes watching the motions you make with your hands.
Consider not giving your card to clerks at retail spots (restaurants, stores, etc.), but instead use a do-it-yourself scanner at the counter.
At restaurants, if you see a blank line on a receipt and don't intend to fill it in with numbers, draw a line through it. This will prevent unauthorized charges from being written in there.
When shopping online, are you using a firewall? Do you have spyware protection?
Dive deeper: Debit Cards: Everything you need to know
This content was created in partnership with the Financial Fitness Group, a leading e-learning provider of FINRA compliant financial wellness solutions that help improve financial literacy.
Read more information and tips in our Spending section