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Catch Debit Card Fraud Before It’s Too Late with Spending Alerts

posted on March 19, 2019 in Technology

How to Set Spending Limits on Your Bank Account

Identity thieves no longer need your physical debit card to spend your cash.

Digital identity theft

Digitally hacking credit and debit cards has long replaced pick-pocketing for its subtlety and sophistication. Thanks to card skimmers and fraudulent web campaigns, identity theft can—and does—happen from the other side of the world.

Card skimming

One of the most common forms of debit card theft involves card-skimming devices. These card readers copy your card number and PIN. Since card skimmers first arrived on the crime scene in 2002, they’ve only gotten smarter. And so have the criminals placing them. Card skimmers are now popping up at more reputable, well-lit ATMs, gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants. In other words, card thefts are getting bolder, more mainstream.

“It’s not just the dark-alley ATMs and Mom and Pop gas stations you need to worry about these days,” warns Carol Barton, Operations Manager at Texas Citizens Bank. “I’m seeing card fraud pop up at Walmart, Kroger, HEB, Shell. These are popular, well-establish chains. You really can’t let your guard down based on previous good experiences at these places. Hackers are going to go where you go.”

With the rapid evolution of new technology, it’s not hard to see why the number of physical cards compromised by U.S. ATMs and merchant devices rose by 10 percent in 2017, according to FICO.

Fraud algorithms

Because banks are often responsible for reimbursing their customers for fraud payments reported within a certain time frame, financial institutions are constantly updating their security algorithms. More than likely, your bank’s algorithm has already caught and denied fraud charges to your account without your knowledge. In other words, hackers have tested your card information at different retailers—$1 here, $5 there—but been denied because your bank’s fraud protection program successfully flagged the unusual activity as suspicious. That’s good news. But it’s not enough.

Fraud protections

All Texas Citizens Bank (TCB) accounts—business and personal—offer several layers of fraud protection. Theft protections include new, 2019 TCB debit cards, a frequently updated algorithm, and a 24/7 support line. The U.S.-based fraud hotline lets customers immediately deactivate stolen debit cards. We’ll also give you a courtesy call if your spending behavior looks unusual.

My Spending tool

Of course, you’re the one that defines what behavior qualifies as “unusual.” While our algorithm catches most debit card fraud, it’s not foolproof. Because no one understands your spending habits better than you, we offer the online My Spending tool. This added security and budgeting feature lets you play an active role in protecting your identity and preventing fraud.

Through our online portal and mobile app, you can set spending limits on your debit card. In addition to setting overall spending limits each month, you can also hedge spending on specific items (groceries, gas, entertainment, etc.).

You may have noticed category labels on each of the spending items on your online TCB Activity tab. The My Spending feature looks at your average spending on these categories to help suggest spending limits by category. Additionally, you can choose to receive spending alerts by text message or email, depending on your preference. To further customize your bank spending, you can opt into an alert that lets you know when you are approaching your limit—75% of the way there. These spending limits and alerts help you catch and report debit card fraud that manages to get past our safeguards.

If you get an alert for a category you didn’t expect, you know to double check your account activity. Maybe it’s that extra trip to the movie theater, or maybe it’s a purchase you never made. The sooner you know, the sooner you can report it.

24/7 card fraud hotline

Texas Citizens Bank has a 24/7 hotline you can call to cancel your debit card as soon as you see unauthorized spending. We will also reimburse any hit to your account within 60 days of a reported incident.

While checking your account activity every day is still one of the best ways to stay on top of fraud, we know how hard it can be to find time. As creatures of habit, alerts on common spending categories should help keep your bank account in check, and your mind at ease.

Not only does My Spending alert you immediately of suspicious account activity, it’s also a handy budgeting tool. Either way, we’ll help you keep more money in your pocket.

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