Banks are swiftly replacing standard ATM cards with "Check Cards" - debit cards that deduct directly from your checking account. These check cards, while convenient, present a security problem. Thieves no longer need your Personal Identification Number (PIN) to use this card. If a thief uses it like a credit card, he can drain your entire account by just forging your signature on credit card slips. If your ATM card has a credit card logo (such as Visa or MasterCard) on it, it can be used like a credit card. If you do not want this feature, notify your bank and have them send you an ATM-only card.
- Keep your credit card numbers, and the telephone numbers of your credit card companies, at home and work. If your cards are stolen, call these numbers immediately and report the theft.
- Try to avoid carrying more credit cards than you need at one time.
- Never write your ATM card PIN number on the card or on a slip of paper in your wallet or purse.
Learn to recognize potential fraud scenarios. Any of the following activities almost certainly involves a scam:
- Someone approaches you on the street claiming to have found money
- Any circumstances in which you have to pay money in order to get money
- Someone comes to your door, without notification, claiming to work for the gas company, electric company, water company, or cable company. Always ask for official identification and call the utility company to make sure the identification is valid. Do not let "utility impostors" into your home.
- You receive an unsolicited telephone call from someone offering a great deal on some piece of merchandise
- You're notified in the mail that you've won a prize, but you have to pay money in order to claim it