How to Investigate Who Used Your ATM Card


ATM or debit cards are a simple, convenient way to make purchases and withdraw cash. They are tied directly to your bank account, so you use money you already have instead of taking a loan from a credit card company. Many businesses now accept this form of electronic payment. Unfortunately, fraud has increased with the rise in ATM card use. If you see a charge that you do not remember making, you can take steps to determine who used your ATM card or whether you are the victim of fraud.

Consider who has access to your card and your personal information. If anyone has been able to take your card, knows the card number or knows your personal identification number (PIN), then your card is potentially compromised. Even someone you trust may have used your card to purchase something without asking first.

Contact your financial institution. Your bank will be able to tell you exactly when and where your card was used. Ask the bank to put a hold on your card to keep anyone from using it until you are able to investigate further.

Reach out to the store or office where your card was used. If someone used your card and signed for a purchase, the signature will be on file. If someone withdrew money from the ATM or made a purchase using your PIN, the bank or store should have video surveillance that you can request to see.

File a dispute with your bank to recoup any losses you may have incurred. Do this only when you are certain you did not use the card yourself. By filing a dispute against a purchase or withdrawal, you are saying that you did not authorize the use of your card.

Close your card and have a new one reissued. The new card will have a different card number. You should also change your PIN to further reduce the risk of continued fraud.

Tips & Warnings

  • Do not use a common or easily guessed PIN, such as 9999, 1234 or your birthday.
  • If you think you may be mistaken, do not file a dispute. If it turns out that you did use your card, your dispute will be denied. You could face fees or the closure of your account if this occurs too often.

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