Protect yourself from debit and credit card fraud

(NC) In the past year, Canadians have lost millions of dollars to fraud and scams. When it comes to debit and credit card fraud, scammers are finding new ways to steal personal and financial information, so it’s important to know your rights and responsibilities, and how to protect yourself.

Card issuers such as Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Interac are bound to help protect you against financial loss if someone uses your credit or debit card without your permission. However, you also have responsibilities when it comes to protecting yourself against fraud.

For example, it’s your responsibility to keep your account information and PIN safe. You must also notify your card issuer right away if you notice unauthorized transactions on your account, and, if you lost money, they’ll usually reimburse you in full.

Generally, these conditions are similar across all card issuers. Contact your card company or check your credit or debit card agreement to verify the terms and conditions. Banks must always fully investigate a transaction that you dispute.

How to protect yourself

Here are a few smart steps to keep in mind:

  • When shopping online, look for websites with addresses starting with “https” or ones that have a padlock image on the address bar.
  • Never share your debit or credit card or your PIN with another person, not even a family member or partner.
  • Choose a PIN that is difficult to guess and change it often.
  • Keep a list of cards you carry in a safe place along with the phone numbers to call if any of your cards are lost or stolen.

If you think you were a victim of fraud, you should report it to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre. You should also contact your local police, your bank and the two credit reporting agencies, Equifax and TransUnion, to put a fraud alert on your credit report.

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