Credit card protection - what to protect oneself against robbery?

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A very unpleasant incident has happened recently – at night all the money was withdrawn with my credit card through ATM in Tunisia! A total of about $750. The bank refused to return the money, as they consider it was my fault. They said I should have been more careful making a card copy.

In what regard should I be more careful? The bank didn’t provide any useful comments about credit card protection. What steps can be taken to safely use the credit card?
asked Feb 15, 2016 in Internet by Sam

1 Answer

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To put it briefly – it is impossible to fully protect your credit card without becoming paranoid. But there definitely are certain things you can do not to get robbed.

How credit cards are stolen:

In order to use your credit card (to pay with it or to withdraw money from an ATM) an attacker would need to copy it and to get your PIN. It can happen one of the following ways:

1. By installing special ATM overlays: one on the keyboard and the other one to the card slot. This method helps the thief to copy your card and get your PIN number as you type it on a false keyboard. There are many recommendations on how to avoid it, but not all of them can be applied to the real life. Here are some of them: take a closer look at the ATM before using it, touch its parts and look for possible overlays, do not use unfamiliar ATMs and so on.

Credit card protection

2. Your card can be copied the same way in a store or a cafe. Payment terminal at the point of sale or the one carried by waiter may be equipped with a special card reader to copy your bank data when you pay for a dinner. As far as the PIN is concerned – it can be remembered by the staff. There is no 100% effective protection against that. Remember, even if the payment takes place in front of you, you may not even notice that your card has just been copied.

Ways of credit card protection:

As you can see, there are almost no ways to protect the bank card from copying. But it is possible to protect the money on your bank account, even if robbers manage to steal your data.

1. Issue an additional plastic card. Almost every bank offers this service, and for many it is free. This card is linked to the same account, but it has its own number and PIN. Set comfortable withdraw and purchase limits (for example: you can withdraw a maximum of $200 a day and make a purchase for maximum $300 per day) and you can safely use this card. And your primary one will always remain in your wallet or at home for the event of a major purchase. This method of protecting a credit card is always effective and is the most reliable. It most cases it is enough to use only this one. 
2. Set restrictions by country. Contact you bank and ask them to put a ban on using your card in all countries except for yours. Very often credit cards are used by frauds to make purchases or withdraw money in their home country. The thief may try to withdraw money a couple of times, all attempts would be unsuccessful and the bank security service can temporary block the bank account. You can also ban online shopping just by contacting your bank.  Use another card for Internet shopping or create a virtual one.

If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact our help desk!

answered Feb 15, 2016 by Expert Ryan (8,620 points)
selected Feb 15, 2016 by Expert Brian

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