BBB: Guard Yourself Against Debit Card Fraud - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

BBB: Guard Yourself Against Debit Card Fraud

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Every year, more than 8 million Americans are the victims of debit or credit card fraud. In most cases, the card never leaves the owner's possession.

By the time Sandy Frost discovered someone had stolen her debit card number, her checking account had already been depleted.

"I was shocked," she said.

A $100 charge for flowers, $38 for computer equipment - even a bizarre $500 charge from Liverpool, England - none of which the Point Loma resident made.

"I was worried. I don't make that much... there's gas and food and some bills," Sandy said.

Just as worrisome for Frost, who contacted her bank's fraud department, is how someone got her card number. She says she never lost her card, and only shops online with sites she trusts.

"It's scary," she said.

But Better Business Bureau President and CEO Sheryl Bilbrey says computer databases of credit and debit card information, even when encrypted, can easily be hacked.

"We're seeing mounds of data being stolen from very large companies in very large quantities," Bilbrey said.

Also alarming is the fact that victims of debit card fraud are often held accountable for any money stolen from their bank account until it's reported. That's why experts say if your card number falls into the wrong hands, contact the card's issuer immediately.

"The moment you report it, you are then not responsible for any transactions that are authorized subsequent," Bilbrey explained.

Next, file reports with both your local authorities and the Federal Trade Commission, contact the credit reporting bureaus, which can place an alert on your account for fraudulent activity, and stay vigilant - check your account online frequently for any suspicious activity.

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