The difference between scam and fraud
Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
(877) FTC-HELP; (877) 382-4357
Victims are strongly encouraged to report frauds to the FTC, which maintains a comprehensive scam database called Consumer Sentinel.
Tel: (888) 495-8501; Fax: (888) 654-9426
For frauds related to Canada, victims should contact PhoneBusters, a Canadian government clearinghouse for fraud information.
Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3)
For internet-based scams, individuals are encouraged to report incidents directly to IC3.
American Association of Retired Persons (AARP)
For information related to fraud schemes targeting senior citizens, individuals should take advantage of the resources available on the AARP website.
Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
To avoid charity frauds, individuals should research organizations on the IRS website.
Better Business Bureau, Wise Giving Alliance
The Wise Giving Alliance provides information on charities that have been the subject of donor inquiries and also offers tips about charitable giving
Debit Card vs Credit Card Protections for Scam and Fraud
The credit card company will expect Sally to pay her credit card bill for the amount charged by the scammer. If there are many scammers, or if a scammer repeatedly convinces Sally to authorize purchases or if Sally gives permission to put her credit card on autopay, Sally can end up owing the credit card company more than her stated credit limit with the credit card.
Now let’s say Sally is influenced by a scammer and gives away her debit card number. If the account linked to that debit card has only $500 in it, the scammer will not get more than $500 of Sally’s money. She will lose that $500, but it is much less than she could lose on a credit card with a high credit limit that the bill might exceed.
Credit cards carry protection from truly fraudulent purchases — those made by an unauthorized person for an unauthorized purchase. Debit cards offer less protection from fraud, but if they are attached to an account that is small, offer better protection from scammers.
Timeline for Being Able to Get Your Money Back
If you are a victim of debit card fraud, you may be responsible for the following:
- $0 if you report the loss or fraud immediately and your card has not been used,
- Up to $50 if you notify your bank within 48 hours of a lost or stolen card,
- Up to $500 if you notify the bank with 48 hours and 60 days of a lost or stolen card
- You may be responsible for all fraudulent charges if you don’t notify the bank within 60 days.
To protect yourself against debit card fraud, you should do the following:
- Only use your ATM inside the bank (this will lessen the likelihood that a scanner is on the ATM)
- Cover your hand when you type your pin.
- Set up text alerts for each transaction over $0.01 on your card.
- Monitor your bank account on a regular basis (so you can give notice of fraud immediately)
- Report stolen funds right away (so you’re not responsible for the charges)
- Check every year with your bank to keep track of any changes in policies regarding debit card theft