Visa cards have a variety of built-in security features that make it hard for criminals to duplicate our cards. However, some criminals have developed sophisticated ways to make copies of legitimate credit cards that they then use for fraudulent activity. Counterfeit cards can contain actual account information taken from legitimate cardholders.
Although cardholders are protected from fraudulent activity through the Visa Zero Liability* policy, cardholders should still take the following measures to help ensure they don't become a victim in the first place:
- Treat your cards as if they were cash - don't leave them out in places where criminals can gain easy access to them
- Keep an eye on your card while it is being swiped through the merchant's terminal - look out for cashiers who swipe your card through more than one card reader, this could be a sign that they are capturing the information on the magnetic stripe of your card for the purpose of making a counterfeit copy, a practice known as 'skimming'
- Ask questions - If you notice that a cashier swiped your card through more than one card reader, ask why. There are some legitimate reasons for swiping cards through more than one card reader, such as the fact that a merchant's cash register may not be connected to its point-of-sale authorization terminal. However, it is better to ask questions if you are concerned about a merchant's practices
- Ensure that you get your card back immediately after every purchase - information associated with your card can be copied very quickly - the sooner you get your card back, the less time criminals have to copy the information
- Check your billing statement, and verify the amounts of your purchases - look for any transactions you don't recognize and report them immediately to your financial institution
- Check your card when it is returned to you - ensure the card you gave to the cashier is the same one you get back and that the card has not been altered in any way
- Sign the back of your new card as soon as you get it - and destroy unwanted cards so no one else can use them
- Make a list of all your cards and their numbers and keep this list in a safe place - this key information is helpful when reporting lost or stolen cards
- Report lost or stolen cards immediately to the financial institution that issued the card or to Visa - the sooner your financial institution knows about a lost or stolen card, the sooner they can block the account
- Report suspected fraud to Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre -
1-888-495-8501 or online at www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca
* Visa cardholders must establish that the transaction is not their responsibility as per all applicable agreements of the issuing financial institution. Does not apply to ABM transactions or PIN transactions not processed by Visa. Individual provisional credit amounts may be withheld, delayed, limited, or rescinded by an issuer based on factors such as gross negligence or fraud, delay in reporting unauthorized use, investigation and verification of claim, and account standing and history.