Safety recommendations for using credit and debit cards

credit_cardA recent study conducted in Venezuela about the tendencies regarding credit and debit cards fraud after the inclusion of electronic chips, showed a 60.53% decrease of such crimes for credit cards, while for debit cards it showed was a decrease of 61.30%.

Said study conducted to 1,547 Venezuelan users of both credit and debit cards, determined that in the year 2009, 36% of users had cards that were cloned, while in 2010 said percentage decreased to 22.3%; in the year 2012 it decreased to 7.40%.

Even though this type of fraud has decreased, there have been reports regarding such crimes due to the lack of caution or care from users. It is important to be cautious and to bring attention to the security in order to prevent becoming a victim of criminals. Applying any of the preventive measures expressed below, can save your finances from being taken away by delinquents. Many of those measures are more related to common sense, others are warnings to be considered when making a transaction, whether at ATMs, restaurants or commercial shops.

Some the foregoing measures are as follows:

Be careful with your pin code

  • Cover the keyboard when typing the numbers.
  • Never let anyone know your pin code.
  • Do not write or record your pin code in your cell phone or in pieces of paper thrown inside your bag.
  • Change your pin code periodically.
  • Any time you get a new card, sign it at the moment of reception, check frequently that the card actually belongs to you (sometimes cards are switched in some stores).
  • Never use the same pin code for different products like savings and checking accounts, credit cards, or means of transaction such as audio, Internet, and ATMs.
  • Never loose sight of your credit card
  • Never give your card to strangers.
  • Never allow your card to be slid through devices different than the ones set for such purpose like ATMs and points of sales.
  • Always check that your card is slid in front of you and only one time (do not loose sight of it, especially in bars and restaurants).
  • Always cancel your card in case of theft, loss or if it has been retained by an ATM.

Use a safe network for Internet transactions

  • Do not use your card’s data through public networks (Internet cafes).
  • Always type your bank’s web site address.
  • Always search for the safe log out in the official web sites of your bank.

At the ATMs

  • Use ATMs that you are familiar with or use ATMs located under very good lighting and safe places.
  • Take a good look of the surroundings of the ATM and do not use it if you notice people that might look suspicious.
  • Do not open your wallet or purse while waiting on the ATM’s queue.
  • Be ready with your card at hand when approaching the ATM.
  • Check if there are any strange objects in the openings or keyboard of the ATM.
  • Avoid being helped by strangers.
  • Do not follow the instructions located next to the ATM that order you to type your card’s pin code more than once.
  • Follow only the instructions that appear on the ATM’s screen.
  • Do not type your pin code until requested by the ATM.
  • If you think the ATM does not work, press the ‘Cancel’ key, take your card, and find another one.
  • Never force your card in the card slot of the ATM.
  • If your card gets stuck, is retained, gets lost or someone cuts you out at the ATM, report it immediately to your bank or to the police.
  • Always make sure that you have completed the transactions by pressing the CANCEL key before leaving the ATM.
  • Do not rush while doing the transactions and put your card and cash carefully inside your wallet or purse before leaving the ATM.
  • Always wait until the ATM indicates that the transaction has been completed.
  • Check your account balance, as well as statements often, and report any discrepancies immediately to the bank.

At the bank office

  • Identify all the workers of the bank.
  • Deliver you money only at the cashier’s window.
  • If you notice anything irregular inside the bank, let one of the workers duly identified know immediately.
  • If you withdraw cash, avoid counting it in front of other people and put it on a safe place.

After leaving the bank or ATM

  • Avoid walking long distances by foot or window shopping for a long time or speak in the street.
  • If you have to make transactions with large sums of money, ask someone you trust to go with you. However, always use the electronic banking platforms.

On Internet

  • Make your personal transactions using personal equipment. Do not use Internet cafes, system halls or public sites.
  • Always type the name of your banking institution directly on your browser (www.nameofthebank’swebpage.com).
  • Never log in through a link written on an email, even though the email comes from someone you know. Do not believe any messages that suggests you to log into your account or to give card information. This is known as ‘phishing’, an illegal and fraudulent practice in which the delinquents design web pages similar to the ones of the banking institutions in order to steal your pin codes and then steal the money in the account.
  • Any time that you access a web page to make a transaction regarding your account, check that the web address shown on the upper side of the page starts with “https://” instead of “http://”, and that the browser shows the symbol of a locked lock on the lower side of the page.
  • Avoid using templates included in emails requesting your financial information.

Prevent theft or identity theft

  • Always check the state of your accounts to identify any potential balance in red.
  • Report the loss or theft of your identification documents to the police.
  • Do not deliver personal or commercial information through phone surveys or other means.
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