Someone used my debit card without permission (What to do)

What should you do if someone used my debit card without permission, even if I have the card on hand?

Debit card fraud should immediately be reported to your card issuer to stop further fraudulent charges. Look through your financial transactions and note which transactions are fraudulent. The bank may replace your lost or stolen card and you can request a new PIN number. You can also report fraudulent charges to the Police Department and FTC.

Having your debit card used without your permission can be gut wrenching. Nobody wants their money stolen, but it happens every single day. 

However, you can get some of your money back under certain circumstances.

Luckily for you, I’m going to show you what to do if someone uses your debit card without your permission. I will show you the right steps to take, if you can press charges, and how to handle a family member or child who used it. This article will guide you through the right steps to take, so you can stop stressing!

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What do I do if someone used my debit card without permission?

Immediately contact your bank if someone uses your debit card without your permission. The bank may issue a new debit card and you can change your PIN as well. You can also contact your police department to open up a fraud investigation.

It is important to contact your bank immediately if someone uses your debit card, even if you have the physical card. The bank may have already detected fraudulent charges, but it is still your responsibility to notify the bank.

You should also comb through your recent transaction history. Verify you have made all of the transactions and take note of any transactions that you did not create. You will want to report this information to the card issuer.

The bank may decide to issue you a new debit card and deactivate the old card. You should always report a lost or stolen debit card and get a new one. This ensures your old card cannot be charged for further transactions.

Make sure you change all of your auto pay information if you receive a new debit card.

You can also decide to report fraudulent charges to your local police department and even the Federal Trade Commission. However, it is completely up to you if you wish to report a fraudulent charge. In most cases, it is not worth your time to report a small amount of money. 

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Can I track who used my debit card?

All card transactions leave a paper trail which can be traced. A transaction will generate the time, date, place of transaction, and the charged amount. The retail location at which your card was used may have surveillance video of the person who used your debit card.

As you can imagine, it can be very difficult to track down who used your debit card. The best course of action is to report your debit card fraud to the police department.

Online purchases may be able to get the shipping location of the item that was purchased. However, not all merchants would be willing to give away personally identifiable information, such as a home address.

Can you press charges if someone uses your debit card?

You can file charges against someone who uses your debit card illegally by reporting the incident to your Police Department. In most debit card fraud cases, it can be difficult to track down the individual who stole your debit card information.

Do banks refund unauthorized transactions?

Banks and credit unions typically do not refund unauthorized transactions on debit cards. Unauthorized transactions on debit cards may be refunded for all transactions which occur after fraud has been reported. In most cases, unauthorized transactions on credit cards are refunded without question.

Debit cards are not as secure as using a credit card. Unfortunately, debit cards use your personal money while credit cards use a lender’s money. Therefore, credit cards often cover fraudulent charges while you’re stuck with the bill for any debit card charges.

However, you cannot be charged for any fraudulent charges after the fraudulent activity has been reported to the card issuer. At this point, the card issuer has been made aware of fraudulent activity and should deactivate the card.

In most cases, your bank will not refund any money charged to a debit card before the fraudulent activity is detected. 

Think about credit and debit cards as being a way of locating money. Using a credit card tells everyone where someone else’s money is located. Using your own debit card tells everyone else where your money is located.

Most thieve’s need to know where your money is located first, before they can steal it.

What to do if your child used your debit card without permission?

Get your money back from an unauthorized debit card transaction by your child by first contacting the merchant. If the merchant doesn’t resolve the issue, contact your card issuer to dispute the charges. When all else fails, contact the FTC and file a complaint.

Understand that you are not alone when it comes to a child using your debit card to make a purchase. There have been plenty of lawsuits with angry parents suing major companies over lax purchasing permissions.

Most merchants have accounted for this by updating their refund policy to allow for refunds of transactions made by underage children. You may be asked to return the physical item or in-app purchase. The best thing for you to do is to contact customer support and explain the situation.

Some merchants will play hardball and not allow you to be refunded for accidental transactions.

The next step is to elevate the issue by disputing the charges with your financial institution. Contact your bank and explain the situation. Most banks will resolve the issue for you, but it isn’t a guarantee.

The bank may only reimburse a portion of the amount or none at all.

Lastly, you can always file a complaint with the FTC. Filing a complaint may trigger the FTC to investigate, but usually only if it’s a major company with multiple complaints.

How to handle unauthorized use of debit card by family member or boyfriend

To handle unauthorized use of a debit card by a family member, boyfriend, or girlfriend, confront and ask them to repay the amount. Gather evidence if they fail to repay and contact your police department to start an investigation. Alternatively, you can request a new debit card, deactivate the old, and protect the new information.

The first step is to try and resolve the conflict peacefully. Without being confrontational, discuss unauthorized use of your debit card with your family member. Politely ask them to repay and to avoid making further charges on your card.

However, not all family members or boyfriends will respect our wishes. Personally, I believe a boyfriend or girlfriend that will not respect this financial boundary should probably not be your significant other.

You’ll want to gather as much information as possible about the fraudulent charges if it continues. You can then take this information to your Police Department if you are wanting to be repaid.

The police department may choose to open an investigation and charges may be filed against your family member.

In some cases, it may be best just to request a new debit card while deactivating the old card. In this case, your old card cannot be charged and you can keep the new information secret. 

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Summary: Someone used my debit card without permission

As you can see, the best thing to do when someone uses your debit card without permission is the contact your bank. The bank must be aware of fraudulent charges so they can deactivate the old card and issue a new card. You are responsible for all debit card transactions until the fraud is reported.

Credit cards are more secure than debit cards because you are using someone else’s money. A credit card will be reimbursed, but a debit card transaction may not be depending on when the charge took place.

You can always file a police report for fraudulent charges and report the incident to the FTC. Tracking fraudulent debit card transactions can be very difficult. 

Unauthorized charges to debit cards by a child can be reimbursed by contacting the merchant.The merchant may return the money, but it is not a guarantee. The next step would be to contact your bank and dispute the charges. Lastly, you can always file a complaint with the FTC.

Unauthorized charges by a family member can be very difficult. Politely ask your family member to return the money and to stop using the card. Failure to stop using the card can be reported to the police with sufficient evidence. You can always request a new debit card while deactivating the old debit card.

John is the founder of TightFist Finance and an expert in the field of personal finance. John has studied personal finance for over 10 years and has used his knowledge to pay down debt, grow his investment portfolio, and launch a financial based business. He is committed to sharing content related to personal finance based on his experience in his career, investing, and path towards reaching financial independence.