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Protecting Credit and Debit Card Numbers

April 27, 2015

The best protection is to read your monthly statements, and report unauthorized charges. If a criminal steals a credit card number, you are not liable for unauthorized charges. If a criminal steals a debit card number, you are not liable for the charges if you report them within 60 days of receiving the statement.  Reviewing the monthly statements is critical with debit cards.

While many banks have voluntarily adopted a $50 limit for their debit card holders, you might not want to rely on that promise in the case of a loss. Also, the nonmonetary consequences of debit card fraud can be far reaching. Since these are a direct line into your bank account, a thief could wipe out the account before the next statement is even received.

Federal law allows each person to get a free credit report each year from the three major national credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion). It is definitely worth it to get at least one of these reports right now.  You can access your report at www.annualcreditreport.com.  If you see any suspicious activity, or if your monthly statements show any questionable credit or debit charges, take action. Put a freeze on your credit and cancel all cards. Get new ones with new account numbers.

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