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How Can Someone Use My Debit Card Without Having It?

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Unfortunately, someone can use your credit or debit card without having it as they get your card number, expiry date, and security code. They can enter your card information when making online purchases or transactions by phone. This illicit activity is called debit card fraud.

In addition, malicious individuals can access your old bank accounts, statements, and debit cards. Also, they can redirect you to fraudulent websites, where they may trick you into providing your card details.

It may seem unlikely, but scammers are constantly improving their methods.

Do you look at your account balance and identify unauthorized transactions? You may be a victim.

Debit card fraud

Debit card fraud or card-not-present fraud (CNP) is the unauthorized use of a debit card. It is the theft of debit card information for fraudulent purposes. 

According to the research, in 2016, 73% of the €1.8 billion fraudulent transactions came from CNP payments. Moreover, during recent years, CNP fraud has seen the highest increase.

Debit card fraud occurs when someone gains access to your debit card details and uses this information to make fraudulent charges, money withdrawals, or transfers from your bank account.

Debit card scams and credit card fraud are serious threats. No one is safe from it. Thus, every individual should be aware of it and protect themselves.

Learn more here: Debit Card Fraud Explained

Ways someone can use your debit card without having it

Thieves can obtain your card number, expiry date, and security code using different techniques.

They can use skimming devices placed on ATMs or point-of-sale payment terminals or phishing scams where they trick you into revealing your card details or hacking into databases that store card information.

Here is an overview of a few methods by which criminals get hold of card details without physically stealing the card itself:

Offline account takeover

Offline account takeovers occur when criminals access personal information. The method is hacking into mailboxes and stealing bank statements or other documents.

Using your bank account information, they can carry out identity theft. They may try to change the victim’s postal address at the bank, then order a new card and activate it.

📚Related: What Details Do You Need to Transfer Money

Skimming device

There are three types of skimming devices: separate, overlaid and internal.

Separate card skimming devices allow criminals to hold your card briefly. Then, they can swipe it through a reader to extract the card’s data.

In the case of overlay devices, criminals place them on top of a legitimate card reader, sometimes adding a video camera to capture the PIN. This way, they can create a replica debit card to make unauthorized purchases.

Internal devices are a more advanced method. Criminals install skimming devices in terminals that intercept data messages sent over the lines. Such devices can be complicated to detect without opening the machines.

Hijacked terminals

This method compromises the operating system. The targets are ATMs with remote control functions left in the default (and insecure) settings. Hijacked bank ATMs may also be modified and used instead of intact terminals.

Data breaches

A data breach occurs when criminals bypass security measures to gain access to large amounts of card data held by merchants and other data holders.

According to statistics, the 2017-2018 Dixons Carphone breach is the most notable data breach case in the United Kingdom (UK). It affected 14 million user records, exposing payment card information in 5.6 million instances.

The banking industry is progressing in combating this situation by implementing secure data storage methods, including AI and deep learning techniques. However, cybercriminals still find opportunities to exploit vulnerabilities.

Buying the data

Criminals can buy stolen card data. It is a low-complexity, medium-scale attack method. In the underground market, criminals can easily purchase card data for as little as $1. Of course, the quality can vary.

Phishing scam

Phishing is when you get emails or texts that trick you into sharing personal information or card details or clicking a link that downloads malware onto your device.

Scammers often impersonate various public bodies, redirecting you to similar-looking websites and asking you to provide or correct your details.

Postal office notifications are another common form of fraud. Scammers send emails asking for data verification or a small amount of duty. By paying, people expose their card details, allowing fraudsters to access their money.

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How to detect card-not-present fraud?

Fraudsters rely on the victim’s volatility and hope you won’t pick any clues about their suspicious activity. Therefore, it’s crucial to regularly monitor your bank account for any suspicious or unusual activity.

Look for these anomalies in your bank statement, as they may indicate card fraud:

  • Unfamiliar purchases
  • Withdrawals from unknown locations
  • Unexpected payment issues

Monitoring your bank account lets you stay informed and detect any fraudulent charges. You can track your balance and review transactions daily by a mobile or online banking app.

Many crypto debit cards

How to prevent debit card fraud

You can prevent card fraud by avoiding sketchy or unfamiliar places. Criminals often choose frequented places to commit fraud.

Gas stations are particularly vulnerable to skimming devices. Therefore, it is safer to pay inside or use a credit card.

Bars, restaurants, and retail shops can be risky when you hand your card to a waiter. It is often advisable to use contactless payment methods or to pay by cash or credit card.

Online shopping scams are common. Therefore, it is important to only enter personal details and card numbers on trusted sites. It is also worth considering using secure payment options such as PayPal.

How do you secure a debit card?

To secure your debit card, you can always take extra precautions:

  • Regularly review and check for illegal debit card transactions.
  • Protect your bank statements from falling into the hands of others.
  • Be vigilant and monitor your debit cards.
  • Destroy old debit cards.
  • Be careful where you store your personal and financial data.
  • When shopping online, make sure you use secure websites and payment methods. Look for the padlock symbol and the letter https in the website address to indicate a secure connection.

What to do if someone uses your card without having it?

Step 1: Contact the financial institution or credit card company to report debit card fraud. This way, you may avoid further loss.

You can usually find bank or credit union contact details on your statement, online account, or payment apps like Google Pay.

Moreover, most financial institutions have a phone number for fraudulent debit card transactions. If you use online banking, you can send a message to your bank via the app.

Step 2: Provide all the necessary information. Give all details about suspicious activity on your debit card and tell the bank your suspicions about how your card may have been compromised.

Step 3: Ask your bank to waive any fees due to insufficient funds caused by the fraud and return the wrongfully withdrawn funds to your account.

Once you have notified the credit card issuer, it is advisable to follow up on the status of your claim.

📚Related: Debit Card Fees

Additional measures to protect against card fraud

Once you notice someone has applied for credit or opened a bank account in your name, act quickly. There are a few steps you can take:

  • Contact credit reporting agencies.
  • Contact the lender or bank concerned.
  • File a police report.
  • Report to the Federal Trade Commission.
  • Place a fraud alert on your credit report.
  • Review your credit report for fraudulent activity.
  • Keep your money in different places.
  • Take steps to protect yourself from identity theft.

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How can someone use your debit card without the card at a store?

Someone can use a debit card without a physical card at a store through various methods such as online purchases, contactless payments, or mobile wallet apps.

For these operations, you only need card information stored electronically or to link the card to a digital payment platform like Apple Pay.

How did someone get my debit card info?

There are several ways someone can get hold of your debit card information. It can include skimming, where criminals use devices to capture your card information when you use an ATM or payment terminal.

Criminals can also target businesses and monetary institutions to gain access to large amounts of cardholder data.

Furthermore, fraudsters can trick you into providing your card information. They can do it through fraudulent emails, text messages, or websites. Another possible way is when your card details are exposed to hackers on a website.

Alternatively, someone may steal your credit or debit card. It allows the thief to use the information to carry out illegal transactions.

Can I find out who used my card?

Unfortunately, you can’t directly access information about who used your card. However, you should report any unauthorized transactions immediately to your card issuer, who may investigate.

These financial institutions can provide more information about the transactions and take appropriate action to resolve the problem.

Can someone use my debit card without my permission?

Yes, someone can use your debit cards without your permission. Debit card fraud can happen in several ways, such as stealing card information, skimming devices, hacking the internet, or making unauthorized transactions.

Therefore, it is crucial to take precautions. Also, if you notice any unauthorized activity, report it immediately to your bank or card issuer.

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Živilė Šarkauskaitė

Živilė is a writer with a diverse background, having worked with tech start-ups and pioneering brands across various industries. Her profound interest in progress and innovation drives her to the field of Fintech, a realm that sparks her curiosity and inspires her to share insights with others.

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Please be advised that the information presented in this article is intended for general informational purposes only. It should not be construed as professional advice from swissmoney. It is important to note that swissmoney does not act as a financial adviser, and individuals are strongly encouraged to seek independent advice from qualified legal, financial, or accounting professionals before making any decisions related to cryptocurrency investments. Furthermore, investing in cryptocurrency assets carries inherent risks, and individuals should be aware that they may potentially lose all of their invested capital.

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