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Debit Card and ATM Security

Debit Card and ATM Security

Debit Cards and ATMs are a remarkable convenience that more and more people use. But, as with credit cards, criminals have found ways to victimize people who use them. We don't want you to become a victim.

Safety at the ATM

  • Observe the area for anything suspicious before you approach the ATM. When in doubt, leave the area.
  • Lock your vehicle when you leave it. Someone seeing you approach the ATM may enter your car behind your back and wait for you to return.
  • Have your Debit Card or ATM card in hand as you approach the machine.
  • Avoid reaching into your wallet or purse in front of the machine. Someone could snatch it while you are distracted.
  • Avoid counting cash while at the ATM.
  • When using a drive-up ATM, lock your doors and roll up all but the driver's window. Pull up close to the ATM so no one can walk on that side of your car.
  • If using an ATM after dark, make sure the ATM is extremely well-lit and in a busy area. If someone else is using the machine, wait in your car with the doors locked until they are finished.
  • When waiting in line at an ATM, stand at least six feet away from the person using the machine. Be considerate of their security and privacy concerns.

Protecting your debit card and your account

Debit Cards can be used three ways – for purchases at most merchants that accept Visa© cards, for purchases through electronic Point-of-Sale (POS) terminals, and at an ATM. That means you should take the same precautions as you would for a DCU Visa Credit Card...

  • Sign the back of your card as soon as it arrives.
    DCU's card activation feature helps prevent unauthorized use before your card arrives.
  • Remember your PIN (Personal Identification Number).
    Don't write it on your card or keep it in your wallet. Without the PIN, a stolen card cannot be used to get cash at an ATM or be used to make purchases at electronic POS terminals through ATM networks.
  • Carry your card separately from your wallet, such as in a zippered compartment or business card holder, if possible. This prevents loss of your card if your wallet is stolen or tampered with.
  • Keep your Debit Card number concealed in a check-out line.
    If merchants are still using charge slips with separate carbons, take the copies and destroy them.
  • Only use your card at merchants you know and trust.
    A large number of Debit Card disputes involve online businesses without adequate internal controls.
  • Reduce the number of Debit Cards and ATM cards you carry.
    Keep an emergency phone list of Debit Card companies to contact in case your Debit Cards are lost or stolen.
  • Do not give your Debit Card number out over the phone unless you initiated the call.
    No financial institution personnel will ever ask you for your Debit Card number. The financial institution already has it.
  • Store your receipts in a safe place and compare them with your account statement each month.
  • Open your monthly account statement (by mail or eStatement) immediately every month and skim the transactions for ones you didn't make.
    The faster you spot a problem, the sooner we can stop the loss, give you provisional credit, and investigate the problem. Report problems to DCU in writing (see below).
  • Do not give out your card number online unless the site is secure
    (look for a closed lock at the bottom of your browser).
  • After you activate your new cards, make sure you completely cut up your old cards before throwing them away.
    Cut them through the magnetic strip and through the numbers in two directions.
  • Notify us in advance of your change of address in writing.
    You can do this quickly online by logging into Online Banking and selecting Update My Information to fill out the Change Postal Address form. Your Online Banking password authenticates your identity.
  • Report loss, theft, or fraudulent activity immediately (see below).

Please note that there have been some misleading stories circulating the internet regarding PIN reversal to signal duress. PIN reversal is not a valid security option at the ATM.

What to do if you detect fraud or lose your card

If you detect loss, theft, or unauthorized use on your DCU Debit Card or ATM Card, report it immediately by calling 508.263.6700 or 800.328.8797. The faster you report it, the faster we can shut off the card number, stop the losses, and order you a replacement card(s).

What to do for disputed transactions

For disputed transaction amounts or problems with merchants, notify us in writing as soon as possible. The fastest way is to log onto Online Banking, go to Account Manager, and fill out the Dispute A Transaction form. There is also information on handling card disputes contained with your statement every month.

Security measures DCU takes

At DCU, we use every tool available to keep your Debit Card and the accounts it can access secure. Here are just some of the measures we take...

  • Card activation – When you get a new or replacement Debit Card in the mail, you'll see a sticker on the front with a telephone number. Your Debit Card cannot function until you call this number and provide confirmation of your identity. This prevents the card from being used if it's stolen from your mailbox or while in transit to you.
  • Neural networks – These highly sophisticated programs monitor your transaction activity for anything unusual so we can contact you about it. Neural networks might pick up that your card is being used in Mexico and New York City on the same day.
  • Expiration date confirmation – As almost all Debit Card transactions through the Visa network are made, there is an electronic confirmation made through Visa International that the card is valid, the credit limit is available, and it hasn't been stolen. In addition, on DCU Visa Debit Card transactions, the expiration date supplied must be correct. The one inconvenience of this security measure is that you must update the expiration date with vendors who make regular automatic charges to your card (such as online services, etc.).
  • Block on Internet gambling – Visa instituted this block on cards for two reasons – (1) in most states, it is illegal to gamble across state lines, and (2) off-shore gambling has resulted in a variety of fraud claims and financial hardship for people with compulsive gambling problems.
  • Verified by Visa – This optional free service verifies card ownership when making online purchases. It's designed to help prevent fraudulent use of your DCU Visa Credit Card and DCU Visa Debit Card numbers. Visit Verified by Visa to learn more about this service and sign up.