Protect Yourself Against Card Fraud

Credit and debit cards continue to be a popular method of payment for consumers. These types of payment offer a convenient way to make purchases in-store and online, but consumers also need to be aware of the risks involved.

Common types of electronic payment fraud include:

  • theft of a credit or debit card;
  • card “skimming” and use of card readers to obtain magnetic strip information;
  • altered or counterfeit cards; and
  • “phishing” and pretext calling schemes, where a stranger attempts to gain your personal financial information online or via phone.

As consumers continue moving to the speed and convenience of electronic payment methods, an increase in payment system fraud does not have to be the result.  Here are some tips from the Iowa Bankers Association (IBA) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to help you protect yourself from credit and debit card fraud.


  • Sign your cards as soon as you activate them.
  • Destroy expired cards before disposing of them.
  • Carry only cards you plan to use, securing others in a safe place.
  • Keep a record of your card numbers, their expiration dates, and the phone number and address of each company in a secure place.
  • Keep your eye on your card during the transaction, and get it back as quickly as possible.
  • Void incorrect receipts.
  • Destroy carbons.
  • Review your periodic statements promptly, comparing them to your receipts.
  • Shred statements and receipts when you no longer need them.
  • Open statements promptly and reconcile accounts monthly.
  • Report any questionable charges promptly in writing to the card issuer.
  • Notify card companies in advance of a change in address.


  • Don’t lend your card(s) or reveal your PIN to anyone.
  • Don’t write your PIN on your debit card or keep it in your purse, wallet or with your card.
  • Don’t leave cards or receipts lying around.
  • Don’t sign a blank receipt. When you sign a receipt, draw a line through any blank spaces above the total.
  • Don’t write your account number on a postcard or the outside of an envelope.
  • Don’t give out your account number over the phone or online unless you’re making the call to a company you know is reputable.
  • Don’t respond to unsolicited e-mails or callers requesting account information verification. Your bank knows this information and would not ask you to verify it.

Your bank is your first and most important point of contact when you discover your debit or credit card has been lost or stolen, or when you find unexplained transactions on account or billing statements.

These money-saving tips are provided by Iowa State Bank in partnership with the Iowa Bankers Association. If you have specific questions about the use of credit, contact your local banker at Iowa State Bank. Iowa State Bank is an Equal Opportunity Lender. Member FDIC.

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