Cropped image of woman handing debit card to store employee

Prevent Debit Card Fraud This Holiday Season

As the holiday season approaches, you may be using your debit card more often for meals, gifts, and travel. This can also increase your risk for fraud.

These four simple steps can help protect your debit card information and bank account. If you’ve issued debit cards to your employees, be sure to review these steps with them as well! Together, we can keep your money where it belongs—in your hands and out of the reach of criminals.

1. Review your account

Log into online or mobile banking frequently to review debits to your account. If you see anything you don’t recognize, contact your local Northwest Bank office immediately. Turning off overdraft protection can prevent both the primary and overdraft accounts from being drained by a fraudster.

2. Pick “credit” to pay

When given the option on a register or payment terminal, select “credit” when using your debit card. Doing this means you won’t need to enter a PIN number, keeping it secure from anyone observing your transaction and preventing it from being collected by a card skimmer.

3. Be aware of risks

Using your debit card at gas stations, bars & restaurants, and some retail stores may pose a risk of having your card information stolen or skimmed. If you need to use your debit card, pay inside instead of at the pump, never give up control of your debit card by opening a tab, and pay using the contactless feature of your card instead of swiping.

4. Use a digital wallet

Link your debit card to a trusted digital wallet app on your smartphone for a secure and convenient way to pay wherever contactless payments are accepted. When you pay with your digital wallet, instead of a physical card, your debit card information is encrypted and not visible to the merchant.

What to do if your debit card is compromised

  1. Contact your local Northwest Bank office immediately to report a compromised card or suspicious debits on your account.

    Once you report the loss, you’re no longer responsible for fraudulent charges. You’ll want to make a report as quickly as possible, since you can be held responsible for purchases made on a stolen card before you make a report.

  2. If you lost money, file a police report.