Debit Card Theft: How to Report Them & Protect Yourself?

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As debit card thefts have become a common crime, the frequent question that might pop up in your mind is, “do police investigate debit card frauds?” The brief answer is not actually. Here’s why.

Police don’t investigate debit card thefts because of limited resources. Another reason for no investigation is that debit card thefts are non-violent crimes. Therefore police treat them as the lowest priority. Here you will explore debit card theft and how to avoid it. So let’s get started!

What is Debit Card Theft?

Debit card theft is a type of financial fraud that involves the unauthorized use of someone’s debit card information to make unauthorized purchases or withdrawals. Debit card theft can happen in a number of ways, including through skimming devices, data breaches, and phishing scams. If your debit card information is stolen, it can be used to drain your bank account, rack up debt in your name, or make other types of fraudulent purchases.

Debit card theft is a serious problem that can leave you financially vulnerable. If you think your debit card information has been stolen, you should contact your bank or credit union immediately. You should also monitor your bank statements for any suspicious activity and report any unauthorized charges to your financial institution.

What is Identity Theft?

Identity theft is a serious problem that can have a major impact on your life. It occurs when someone uses your personal information, such as your name, Social Security number, or credit card number, without your permission, to commit fraud or other crimes.

Identity theft can result in fraudulent charges being made to your credit cards, loans being taken out in your name, and your good credit being damaged. In addition, it can cause a lot of stress and hassle as you try to clear up the mess left behind by the thief.

If you believe you may be a victim of identity theft, there are some important steps you should take right away:

  1. Contact the three major credit reporting agencies and request that a “fraud alert” be placed on your credit file.
  2. Close any accounts that have been tampered with or opened fraudulently.
  3. File a report with the Federal Trade Commission and your local police department.

By taking these steps, you can help protect yourself from further damage and begin the process of repairing your credit.

Debit Card Theft vs. Identity Theft

In case of debit card theft, someone steals your credit card or card number and PIN code to make unauthorized transactions, withdraw cash, and purchase items in-store and online. Debit card fraud can also involve the use of counterfeit cards or cloned cards. Credit card companies mostly have a liability of around $50, which means you only have to pay $50 for all the damage or transactions made by the debit card thief.

On the other hand, identity theft is a more serious crime that involves the stealing of personal information, such as Social Security numbers, credit card numbers, and driver’s license numbers. Identity thieves can use this information to open new accounts, obtain loans, and make other financial transactions in your name. In some cases, identity thieves may also use your personal information to commit other crimes, such as applying for a job or renting an apartment in your name. Identity thefts mostly don’t have any liability. So, the victims of identity theft usually end up paying for all the damage caused by the thief.

Types of Debit Card Fraud

Most people are familiar with the concept of debit card fraud but may not be aware of the different types of fraud that can occur. Here are some of the most common types of debit card fraud:


Skimming is a type of debit card fraud that involves stealing credit or debit card information by illegally collecting data from the magnetic stripe on the back of the card. Skimming can be done in a number of ways, including using a special device called a skimmer that can be attached to an ATM or point-of-sale terminal. Skimmers can also be placed inside gas pumps or other locations where cards are swiped.


Phishing is a type of fraud that involves sending emails or text messages that appear to be from a legitimate source, such as a bank or credit card company. The message will often include a link that directs the victim to a fake website where their personal information, such as account numbers or Social Security numbers, can be stolen.

Card Not Present Fraud

Card not present fraud occurs when someone makes a purchase using a debit or credit card without actually having the physical card in their possession. This type of fraud is typically done online or over the phone. Card not present fraud can also occur when someone steals your credit or debit card information and uses it to make unauthorized purchases.

PIN Theft

PIN theft is a type of debit card fraud that occurs when someone steals your personal identification number (PIN) and uses it to make unauthorized withdrawals from your account. PIN theft can occur in a number of ways, including through skimming, phishing, or simply by observation.

Counterfeit Cards

Counterfeit cards are fake credit or debit cards that are created using stolen account information. These cards can be used to make purchases or withdraw cash from ATMs. Counterfeit cards are typically created using the data from skimming devices.

Account Takeover

Account takeover is a type of fraud that occurs when someone gains access to your account and makes unauthorized transactions. This type of fraud can occur through a variety of methods, including phishing, skimming, or simply by guessing your password.

Identity Theft

Identity theft is a type of fraud that occurs when someone uses your personal information, such as your name, Social Security number, or debit card number, to commit fraud. Identity theft can lead to a variety of problems, such as fraudulent charges on your account, damage to your credit score, and even legal trouble.

ATM Fraud

ATM fraud is a type of debit card fraud that occurs when someone uses a fake or stolen ATM card to withdraw cash from an ATM. This type of fraud can also occur when someone steals your PIN and uses it to make unauthorized withdrawals from your account.

Bank Fraud

Bank fraud is a type of fraud that occurs when someone uses false or stolen information to obtain money, property, or services from a financial institution. This type of fraud can include forging checks, making false loan applications, or using stolen credit cards.

How to Report Debit Card Theft?

Are you a victim of a Debit Card theft but don’t know how to report one? Don’t worry. Here is how you can report a debit card theft:


If you cannot find your debit card or spot any suspicious transaction on your bank statement, quickly contact your bank or debit card provider. You should report it as soon as possible.

Bank will investigate your bank transaction history and look for any suspicious activity. If the suspicious transaction doesn’t match your old transaction pattern, the bank considers debit card theft valid and reports it to the police. 


Once the bank hands over the case to Police, they will formally investigate it. You can also directly file a police report for credit card theft. After the Police have completed the investigation and collected all the necessary evidence, they will report it to State and Federal Authorities.

State and Federal Authorities

Less complex debit card frauds, such as using stolen credit cards for unauthorized transactions, are often investigated by Law Enforcement Officers. If the debit card frauds are more complex, these are reported to state and federal authorities. The authorities access credit bureaus and other institutes to investigate deeply.

Federal Trade Commission (FTC)

Federal Trade Commission prevents unauthorized use of your lost debit card. FTC also limits the liability charges on transactions made with your lost debit card to reduce financial damage.

When to File a Police Report?

Debit card theft can be a serious crime, and it is important to know when to file a police report. If you believe that your debit card has been stolen, you should contact your local police department as soon as possible. In many cases, the sooner you report the theft, the better chance you have of recovering your card or getting your money back.

There are a few key signs that your debit card may have been stolen. 

  • First, if you notice any unauthorized charges on your account, this is a major red flag. 
  • Second, you lose your card or suspect that it is stolen from your wallet or purse. 
  • Finally, if you receive any strange calls or emails asking for your debit card information, this is also a cause for concern.

If you suspect that your debit card has been stolen, the first thing you should do is cancel the card. Then, you should file a police report. Be sure to include as much detail as possible, such as when and where the card was stolen. Once you have filed a police report, your bank or credit card company will resolve the issue and get your money back.

Do Police Investigate Debit Card Fraud?

If you are a victim of debit card fraud, you may be wondering if the police will investigate the crime. The answer is that it depends on the circumstances. If the fraud is isolated to your own account, the police may not get involved. However, if the fraud is part of a larger pattern or scheme, the police may investigate.

You should also contact your bank to report the fraud and cancel your card. If you have any questions about whether or not the police will investigate your case, you should speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney in your area.

Both local police departments and banks have fraud departments that investigate these types of crimes. By working together, they may be able to catch the person responsible and help you get your money back.

Why Do Police Rarely Investigate Debit Card Theft?

Debit card theft is one of the most common types of financial crime, yet police rarely investigate these cases. This is because banks and credit card companies are typically responsible for investigating and prosecuting these crimes. Here are two possible reasons:

Crime is Rarely Reported

People rarely report their debit card fraud. Because they can simply cancel or freeze their debit card until it’s found. If they are debit card fraud victims, then according to liability terms of banks, they are not responsible for transactions held with their debit card by scammers.

It’s a Non-Violent Crime

As debit card frauds are non-violent crimes, the police treat them as less priority than other violent crimes. Also, police have limited resources to investigate such crimes because most debit card frauds occur by overseas IPs, which are out of their jurisdiction.

Other Reasons

There are a few reasons why police may not get involved in debit card theft cases.  

  • These cases are often complex and time-consuming to investigate. 
  • The victims of debit card theft are typically not willing to cooperate with the police. 
  • Banks and credit card companies often have their own private security forces that can investigate these crimes.

While police may not investigate every case of debit card theft, they can still be a valuable resource for victims. If you are a victim of debit card theft, you should report the crime to your local police department. The police may not be able to catch the thief, but they can help you get your money back and prosecute the thief if they are caught.

Steps to Take After a Debit Card Theft

Here are some crucial steps to take after you notice that you’ve been a victim of debit card theft:

Contact Your Card Issuer

Contact your bank or credit card issuer immediately and report suspicious transactions or debit card losses. If you report the debit card loss before someone uses it, you’ll not have to pay for any damage caused by the debit card thief. The sooner you report the debit card theft, the less loss or damage you’ll have to bear.

Freeze Your Debit Card & Lock Your Account

You should lock your debit card from your banking app or ask the card issuer to freeze your account. This way, the debit card thief won’t be able to make any transaction from your debit card. You can later unfreeze/ unlock your account or debit card once you find it.

Monitor Bank and Card Statements

Monitor your banking transactions via the official app to spot any suspicious transactions. Report all unnecessary transactions to the bank or card issuer.

Change Account Authorization Settings

If you are suspicious that someone might have gotten a hold of your banking information, quickly change the account login credentials and other authorization settings. This way, a debit card information stealer cannot take over your bank account.

How to Protect Yourself from Debit Card Theft & Fraud?

who investigates credit card fraud

Here are some tips to prevent debit card fraud:

Only use ATMs Owned by Banks

It is recommended to only use ATMs by the official banks. Because they have better security and CCTV cameras than ATMs at convenience stores, restaurants, and other places. Random ATMs are a significant source of debit card fraud for thieves or hackers.

Use Mobile App Payments

Nowadays, every bank provides an online banking facility. So, when you wish to pay your bill or send or receive money, use mobile apps. Because your bank information is more secured through banking apps. 

Carry Out Payment in the Gas Station

Avoid using your debit card at gas stations. Instead, use cash for payments because gas station card readers can easily be hacked to steal your debit card information or data breached by using special devices embedded within the card reader.

Use Retailers that Use Chip Readers

If you can only pay via debit card, choose retailers with chip readers instead of traditional swiping card readers. 

Protect Your Debit Card & Its Information

Never share your debit card PIN or any other related information with anyone, no matter how you trust them. 

Use a Virtual Number

Now, banks provide virtual card numbers to cardholders for online shopping to avoid online debit card information thefts. You should also use a virtual card number for online shopping or transactions. You can contact your bank or check your mobile app to know your virtual number.

Monitor Bank and Card Statements

It is the best practice to check your bank and card statements after specific intervals. This way, you can quickly spot any suspicious transaction and report it immediately to avoid further loss.


Do Debit Cards Have GPS?

No, debit cards do not have GPS. They may have EMV chips, which are used to store information about the card and its owner, but they do not have GPS tracking capabilities. This means that if a debit card is lost or stolen, it cannot be tracked using GPS technology.

Do Debit Card Thieves Get Caught?

Unfortunately, debit card thieves are often not caught. This is because they typically use stolen cards to make small purchases that go unnoticed. Additionally, many thieves use skimmers to capture card information, which makes it even more difficult to track them down. According to a report, less than 1% of debit card frauds are solved by Law Enforcement Authorities. 

Can I Find Out Who Used my Debit Card?

You can find out the location and IP address of where your debit card was used. But you can’t find out who used your card. However, there are a few things you can do to help you figure it out.

  • First, check your bank statements carefully. If you see any charges that you don’t recognize, call the merchant to see if they can tell you who made the purchase.
  • Second, check your credit report for any unauthorized charges. If you find any, report them to the credit bureau and your bank immediately.
  • Finally, if you suspect that someone has stolen your debit card information, contact your bank or financial institution right away. They will be able to help you cancel the card and prevent further unauthorized charges.

If you think your debit card has been used without your permission, it’s important to act quickly. 

Can Someone Use my Debit Card Without PIN?

If you’re wondering whether someone can use your debit card without your PIN, the short answer is no. Your Personal Identification Number (PIN) is a unique four-digit code that you use to authenticate transactions at ATMs and point-of-sale terminals. Without your PIN, nobody else would be able to access your account or withdraw funds.

That said, there are a few ways that someone could potentially misuse your debit card if they got ahold of it. For example, they could make unauthorized purchases online or over the phone if they have your card number and expiration date. They could also try to use your card for cash advances at an ATM, although most machines require you to enter your PIN for such transactions.

Can I Get My Money Back from Stolen Debit Card?

If your debit card is stolen, you may be wondering if you can get your money back. The answer depends on a few factors, including how quickly you report the theft and whether you have any unauthorized charges on your account.

If you report the theft right away, you should not be held responsible for any unauthorized charges. However, if you wait too long to report the theft, your bank may not refund all of the stolen money.

Can Debit Card Purchases Be Traced?

Most debit cards come with some form of fraud protection, but this does not mean that your card cannot be traced. In fact, there are a few ways that your debit card purchases can be traced, even if you have not given anyone your card number.

If you use your debit card at an ATM, the transaction will be recorded on the bank’s records. This means that your purchase can be traced back to the ATM location. Additionally, if you use your debit card to make an online purchase, the merchant will usually have a record of the transaction. These records can be used to trace your purchase back to you.


The police do not investigate debit card frauds because they are non-violent crimes, and the majority don’t report the frauds to the police. Therefore, police treat debit card fraud as less priority, and they never get solved due to limited resources. 

Therefore, the best way to protect yourself from both debit card theft and identity theft is to be vigilant about safeguarding your personal information. Be sure to keep your Social Security number, credit card number, and other sensitive information in a safe place. 

When making online purchases, always use a secure website and never provide your personal information to an untrustworthy source. Finally, regularly check your bank and credit card statements for unauthorized charges or withdrawals. If you suspect that you have been the victim of either debit card theft or identity theft, contact your financial institution immediately.