Interac Association Promotes Debit Card Safety Tips During Fraud Prevention Month

    TORONTO, March 5 /CNW/ - March is Fraud Prevention Month and Interac
Association is pleased to support this national awareness initiative by
educating consumers and retailers across the country about the dangers of
debit card fraud and how to protect themselves.
    "The Interac network is among the safest systems in the world, however
debit card fraud can occur, and that's why we're involved in this initiative -
to educate Canadians about steps they can take to protect themselves," said
Tina Romano, Public Relations Manager, Interac Association. "Everyone has a
role to play in fighting fraud. While Interac Association and its industry
partners combat fraud using monitoring devices and sophisticated technology
and by transitioning to chip card technology, which will provide increased
protection against debit card fraud, cardholders can also play a role in the
fight against fraud by practicing safe debit card use."

    Cardholder Safety Tips
    Cardholders can help prevent debit card fraud by carrying out the
following debit card safety tips:

    1.  Use your hand or body to shield your PIN during every transaction
        conducted at an Automated Banking Machine (ABM) or at the checkout;

    2.  Keep your banking card in sight when conducting transactions at the

    3.  Check your banking statements regularly and contact your financial
        institution immediately if you detect any unusual activity, for
        example purchases you did not make or missing charges;

    4.  Notify your financial institution immediately, if your debit card is
        lost, stolen or retained by an ABM;

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

    6.  Select a unique PIN. Never use obvious information, such as your
        telephone number, date of birth, address or Social Insurance Number.
        These numbers are often stored in the same place as your debit card
        enabling criminals to easily guess your PIN.

    Cardholders are protected by the Canadian Code of Practice for Consumer
Debit Card Services, under which victims of debit card fraud will not suffer
any financial losses.

    Retailer Tips
    Retailers can also play a role in preventing debit card fraud and
protecting their customers by carrying out the following security tips:

    1.  Treat your PIN pads like cash. Keep PIN pads out-of-sight when not in

    2.  Check your PIN pads and Automated Banking Machines (ABMs) regularly
        for anything unusual;

    3.  Lock-up PIN pads at closing;

    4.  Include log-in sheets for accountability of PIN pad in cash open &
        close procedures;

    5.  Consider adding surveillance cameras;

    6.  Know your employees - exercise due diligence when hiring and check

    7.  Remind your customers to protect their PIN when entering it at every

    8.  Talk to your payment service provider about other steps you can take
        to prevent fraud from happening at your location.

    Chip cards to make safe system even more secure
    Interac Association is transitioning to a new generation of payment card
technology known as chip technology which puts the power of a computer onto
the card providing increased protection against debit card fraud.
    The first chip transactions are currently underway as part of a market
trial in Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario, in collaboration with the major credit
card companies and other industry partners.
    Chip cards will begin to roll out in fall 2008 however complete
transition will take several years and will vary from one financial
institution to another, given the large number of devices and cards that must
be upgraded.
    For more information about debit card safety and chip technology, please

    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.

For further information:

For further information: Media contacts: Tina Romano, Interac
Association, (416) 869-5062,; Catherine Héroux or Sara
Beckford, Strategic Objectives, (416) 366-7735 ext. 222,

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