It’s a new year, and fraudulent debit card use is on the rise.

This type of theft isn’t necessarily new. Debit and credit card fraud is as old as modern payment transaction technology itself; the only difference today is that fraudsters are getting more and more creative about how they go about committing their crimes.

The good news is that there are steps you can take to help protect yourself from fraudulent debit card use. And, if you become a victim of this type of crime, there are actions you can take to quickly resolve the situation and possibly recover some or all of the losses that were incurred.

In this article, the consumer rights advocates at Matthew R. Osborne, PC are diving deep into the phenomenon of fraudulent debit card use by explaining what it is, how to detect it, and how to safeguard yourself from it.

Fraudulent Debit Card Use Case Study

To best understand fraudulent credit card use, it will help to look at an example of how an innocent consumer might fall prey to this sort of crime.

Consider Cheryl’s story.

Cheryl recently opened a checking account with a local bank here in Colorado. After doing so, she was told she would receive her new bank debit card in the mail within 5-7 business days.

stolen debit cardCheryl waited over a week, and her card never showed up. Then, when Cheryl logged on to her bank’s website to check on the status of her accounts, she noticed that $8,000 had been transferred from her home equity line of credit into her checking account. She was even more shocked to learn that the $8,000 transferred to her new checking account was used to make a series of gift card purchases at King Soopers and Walmart.

Within the course of a single week, Cheryl had lost $8,000 of her money without having done anything wrong.

So, how did this happen?

There are many ways that criminals can get access to debit card information. In Cheryl’s case, the offenders were able to break into her mailbox and steal the debit card the bank had sent her. Then, using personal information they acquired via other means, the criminals were able to call her bank, have the money transferred to the new checking account, and then begin their shopping spree.

Purchasing gift cards with stolen debit cards is a very popular way of stealing money, because it allows the criminals to effectively launder the funds on gift card exchange sites. In this way, they’re able to cover their tracks and maintain their anonymity all while consumers like Cheryl end up holding the bag in the end.

How Banks Commonly Respond to Fraudulent Charges on a Debit Card

Most banks have measures in place that are specifically designed to thwart white collar criminals before they can gain access to assets like bank accounts and their corresponding Personal Identification Numbers (PINs).

However, thieves can get around this by methodically gathering personal information on a targeted individual over time, and then making phone calls or submitting change requests as if they were the consumer.

When this happens, the onus is on the consumer to prove that fraud was committed. If there isn’t enough compelling evidence that the funds were wrongfully used by a criminal, the banks or financial institutions in question will often refuse to reverse charges, thus leaving the consumer without any easy options for what to do next.

This can be incredibly frustrating. Most consumers who are victims of fraudulent debit card use don’t think there’s anything they can do when their bank takes a certain position about their loss and refuses to aid them in recovering the losses.

This is where a consumer rights attorney can help.

The Power of Legal Representation

Sometimes, consumers will do everything in their power to protect their identity, safeguard their bank accounts, and make it as difficult as possible for criminals to steal their money.

But, as we mentioned earlier, debit and credit card fraudsters are incredibly creative, and even the most meticulous consumer can become a victim of fraudulent credit card use.

When this happens, hiring a qualified consumer rights attorney can make all the difference. The legal team at Matthew R. Osborne fights for the rights of consumers who have been victimized at the hands of white collar criminals, and we’re ready to go to work to defend your rights in court.

To learn more about how we can help represent your interests in cases of fraudulent debit card use, contact us today.