Debit Card Fraud: Protect Yourself

The use of debit cards has become a part of the lives of many Canadians. In fact, Canadians are among the top per capita debit card users in the world. Whether it’s to withdraw from an ATM, pay for the weekly groceries or enter your PIN for a movie night, the debit card is a simple way to access your money. It’s a convenient way to get cash at 65,000 ATMs and ATMs, and to shop at over 500,000 retailers across Canada.


It is very secure to use, with over 99% of debit card transactions taking place in Canada every year without any incident. And while your bank works to protect you against fraud, there are simple steps you can take to help yourself.

What is debit card fraud?

This type of fraud can occur when a thief “clones” the information from the magnetic stripe on the back of a debit card to create a duplicate of it. They must also take your personal identification number (PIN) to access your account and withdraw money or make a purchase. Debit card fraud can also occur when your card is stolen and you failed to take steps to protect your PIN.

Your bank is working to protect you

The banks have planned teams of specialists as well as highly sophisticated detection and prevention systems to protect customers against debit card fraud. Quite often, bank security systems can detect fraud as well as reimburse and notify a customer before they know a fraud has occurred.

However, banks understand that it can be upsetting for a customer to find themselves the victim of debit card fraud. After all, he lost his money. When a fraud occurs, banks immediately look into the matter and reimburse the customer as soon as possible, usually within a few days and sometimes before the customer even realizes it.

When you use your debit card, you are protected by the Canadian Code of Practice for Debit Card Services and Interac’s policies, which guarantee you a refund from your financial institution in the event that you become a victim. ‘fraud.

Canada has moved to safer technology

Security measures are constantly improving, and technology is improving to prevent fraud. Banks, the Interac Association, and major credit card associations have implemented chip card technology for debit and credit cards. In addition to having a magnetic stripe on the back, these cards include a microchip. They use a technology called “cryptography” which allows communication between the card and the merchant’s terminal as well as the verification of the card.

The microchip is the latest technology in payment cards and it is extremely difficult to copy it. The transition to smart card technology has gone smoothly: all cards and ATMs are now able to perform microchip transactions; most retail terminals are as well.

How to protect yourself

Your bank has sophisticated security systems, but there are other important steps you can take to increase your protection.

  • Always protect your PIN with your shoulder or hand when entering it on the keypad.
  • Always insert your card instead of swiping it. If the store terminal cannot read the smart cards, a message will warn you and you can then swipe your card. Thus, you will protect yourself from cloning. Don’t forget to take back your card once the transaction is complete. 
  • Never lend your card or disclose your PIN to anyone.
  • Memorize your PIN; do not keep it in writing.
  • Make sure your PIN cannot be easily detected if your card is lost or stolen – do not use your date of birth, address, or part of your phone number.  
  • Review your monthly or online bank statements regularly, and report anything unusual to your financial institution immediately.
  • Change your PIN regularly.

What to do if you are a victim of debit card fraud

If you are the victim of debit card fraud, you should contact your bank immediately, who will take appropriate steps to protect you. For example, it may block your card to prevent losses, ask you to change your PIN, or cancel your card and issue you a new one. Depending on the circumstances, the bank may also ask you to sign an affidavit if your account contains fraudulent transactions. If there is money missing from your account, they will do their best to reimburse you as quickly as possible, usually within two or three days or sometimes before you even know they have been stolen.

Prevalence of debit card fraud

Debit card fraud is a crime that banks take very seriously. Their efforts to combat this crime are paying off, with debit card fraud falling 97% from a high of $ 142 million in 2009 to $ 4.4 million in 2018.

Banks continue to adopt new technologies and practices against fraud, to work with the police and to protect their customers.

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