November 18, 2016

Skimming: Staying Safe While Shopping

As you’re eagerly getting ready for the holidays, inevitably there will be an increase in your shopping habits and debit card usage.  Because there has been an uptick in fraudulent activity throughout Wisconsin, it is important that you take a few minutes to review these safety measures:

  • SKIMMING DEVICES: When using your debit card be aware of your surroundings; always check for skimming devices or people looking over your shoulder. A skimming device is a method used by criminals to capture data from the magnetic stripe on the back of a debit/ATM card. Devices used are smaller than a deck of cards and are often fastened in close proximity to, or over the top of the ATM, gas pump, or other payment source’s factory-installed card reader.
  • CREDIT AT CHECKOUT: This is the most effective way to swipe for every purchase. When choosing credit, you will not be liable for fraudulent charges because you have protected your PIN. Retailers are making it increasingly difficult to run your debit card as credit – so after you swipe, simply ask how to run as credit.
  • PIN AT CHECKOUT: Every time you enter your PIN you are at risk of someone seeing it. When choosing to swipe and use your PIN, take extra precaution by inspecting the card reader to insure a skimming device is not present—this pertains to ATM usage as well.
  • FORTIFI BANK CREDIT CARD: Using a bank credit card still has potential fraud risks, however you will not be liable for any fraudulent charges and you will not be giving the criminals access to your personal accounts. Ask any personal banker for more information about a Fortifi Bank credit card or visit to use our quick and easy online application.
  • ONLINE BANKING: Use online and mobile banking to review your account activity frequently. If fraudulent charges go unnoticed for a length of time, additional risk is possible. Catching fraudulent charges early and alerting the bank is best practice. A personal banker can help you access online and mobile banking if you are not yet using these products.
  • TURN OFF YOUR CARD: Within Fortifi Bank’s online and mobile banking, you have the power to turn on and off your debit card(s). If your card is misplaced or you are traveling and want to be safe, temporarily deactivate your card within these applications. You can reactivate your card if it is found or once you’ve arrived to your destination.
  • ALERTS: Setting up security alerts within online banking is a great way to be notified if your account balance changes suddenly. Find alert settings under the ‘Settings’ tab within online banking.

Fortifi Bank takes fraud prevention very seriously. To continually look out for your best interest, there may be times that the bank puts additional security measures in place. If your account habits will be changing due to larger purchases, unusual activity, or out-of-area spending, please contact the bank. Additionally, if a purchase is ever declined at check-out (which may be due to fraud) please call us at 855-876-1500 so we can immediately assess your account and potentially resolve the issue right away – and get you on your shopping way.

Visit to review additional security articles including, Staying Safe from Threats, Keeping Your Personal Information Safe, and Creating Strong Passwords.

Visit to learn more about the top financial scams affecting consumers.

Call, email, or stop in to any Fortifi Bank location if you have questions regarding fraud and better protecting yourself.  We’re here to help.

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