INTERAC(R) Reminds Canadians to Practice Debit Card Safety During Fraud
Prevention Month

- Shield your PIN, check your statements, and insert first if you have a chip card -

TORONTO, March 3 /CNW/ - March is Fraud Prevention Month and Interac Association, Canada's leading payment network, is reminding Canadians to continue to practice debit card safety routinely, even if they have a chip debit card.

"INTERAC is one the safest payment networks in the world and the current transition to chip debit cards and terminals adds yet another level of security," said Caroline Hubberstey, Director, Public and Government Relations, Interac Association. "However, until the transition is complete, fraud can still occur, so we want to remind Canadians about the importance of practicing debit card safety, whether they have a magnetic stripe card or a chip card."

In an effort to combat debit card skimming and the production of counterfeit cards, Interac Association is transitioning to a new generation of payment card technology, known as chip.

Chip technology will significantly reduce debit card skimming and the production of counterfeit cards. The microchip that is embedded into the card gives the card processing power which allows the card and the terminal to communicate and carry out a series of security checks when the card is inserted into a chip ABM or store terminal. As a result, to obtain the full security of a chip transaction, the chip debit card must be inserted into a chip-enabled terminal.

"While chip cards and terminals are entering the marketplace, magnetic stripe technology will continue to be used, so it is important for cardholders to routinely practice debit card safety," said Hubberstey. "As well, if you have a chip card, insert it into the terminal. If the terminal is not chip capable, it will prompt you to swipe. By inserting first, you avoid an unnecessary swipe of your card and reduce the potential of your magnetic stripe from being skimmed."

Throughout the transition, financial institutions will continue to aggressively monitor unusual transaction patterns and prevent fraud before it happens, as they do today. In the instance of fraud, cardholders are protected and will not suffer any financial losses due to circumstances beyond their control.

Consumers and retailers can also play a role in prevention by practicing the following debit card safety tips:

    
    Cardholder Safety Tips:

    1.  Insert First - if you have a chip debit card and are not sure whether
        the store terminal is chip-capable, insert the card first. If the
        terminal is not chip capable, it will prompt you to swipe your card.
        By inserting first, you avoid an unnecessary swipe of your card and
        reduce the potential of the card being skimmed;

    2.  Protect Your PIN - always shield your PIN with your hand or body to
        prevent someone from stealing your PIN;

    3.  Check Your Statements - check your financial statements or online
        records regularly and if you suspect anything unusual, contact your
        financial institution immediately. If you are a victim of debit card
        fraud you are protected and you will be reimbursed by your financial
        institution for losses resulting from circumstances beyond your
        control;

    4.  Memorize your PIN - only you should know your PIN. If you suspect
        someone knows your PIN, even a friend or family member, change it
        immediately;

    5.  Keep Your Card in Sight - Keep your debit card in sight when
        conducting transactions at the checkout;

    6.  Report a Lost Card - Notify your financial institution immediately if
        your debit card is lost or stolen.

    Retailer Security Tips:

    1.  If a customer has a chip card and your terminal is chip capable,
        remind your customer to insert the card. Avoiding an unnecessary need
        to swipe will reduce the potential of your customer's card being
        skimmed;

    2.  Treat your PIN pads like cash. Keep PIN pads out-of-sight when not in
        use, and lock them up at closing;

    3.  Check your PIN pads and ABMs regularly for anything unusual;

    4.  Consider adding surveillance cameras;

    5.  Know your employees - exercise due diligence when hiring and check
        references;

    6.  Remind your customers to protect their PINs when entering it, and if
        they have chip cards, remind them to take their cards out of the
        terminal when the transactions are complete.
    

For more information about debit card fraud prevention and the transition to chip technology, please visit www.interac.ca

    
    About Fraud Prevention Month
    ----------------------------
    

Fraud Prevention Month is coordinated by the Fraud Prevention Forum (FPF), a group of private sector firms, consumer and volunteer groups, government agencies and law enforcement organizations committed to fighting fraud targeted to consumers and businesses. Chaired by the Competition Bureau, the FPF aims to prevent Canadians from becoming victims of fraud.

    
    About Interac Association
    -------------------------
    

A recognized world leader in debit card services, Interac Association is responsible for the development and operations of the INTERAC network, a national payment network that allows Canadians to access their money through Automated Banking Machines and point-of-sale terminals across Canada.

Interac Association was founded in 1984 and is composed of a diverse membership which includes banks, trust companies, credit unions, caisses populaires, merchants, and technology and payment related companies.

Other INTERAC-branded and related services include: INTERAC Online, for secure online payments directly from a bank account, INTERAC Email Money Transfer, for the transfer of money from a bank account to anyone with an email address, and Cross Border Debit, for point-of-sale access at more than 1.5 million U.S. retailers.

(R) Trade-mark of Interac Inc. Used under licence.

    
    Accompanying B-roll will be available by CNW satellite at 11 a.m.,
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    TIME OF FEED:         11 am - 11: 30 am ET
    DATE OF FEED:         Wednesday March 3rd, 2010
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    TIME OF POSTING:      11 am
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SOURCE Interac Association

For further information: For further information: Media contacts: Tina Romano, Interac Association, (416) 869-5062, tromano@interac.ca; David Weinstein, Strategic Objectives, (416) 366-7735 ext. 231, davidw@strategicobjectives.com


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