September 30 2007 by Ellen Roseman
In today’s column, I used an example of a debit card fraud victim was held liable for $2,500 in losses. His bank said he failed to report the theft of his wallet in a timely manner (he waited three hours to get a break from work) and didn’t safeguard his personal information number. The bank had no evidence to show he’d been sloppy with his PIN, but just assumed he had been. How else could the thieves have stolen his money?
You might think this is an unusual case. Not exactly. The Ombudsman for Banking Services and Investments, which investigates complaints like this, came up with five similar cases from its files. You’ll find them below, along with tips on how to avoid getting into the same predicament.
It’s easy to be complacent, because credit card fraud doesn’t usually cost you money. There’s a $50 cap on liability, charged only in rare cases. Banks usually refund the amount stolen with a stolen credit card. But when dealing with debit card fraud, they take a harder line. You can lose everything in your bank account and more, depending on whether you have a line of credit attached to your card or not.