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10 Tips to Help Safeguard Your Checkbook and Debit Card

Jan. 11, 2019

If you have a checking account, you either have a checkbook or debit card. You might even have both. These items are used to access funds in your account, so it’s essential to keep them protected. We’ve provided a few tips on how to safeguard your checkbook and debit card.

 

1. Treat your checkbook or debit card like cash. Always put your checkbook in a locked safe place in your home while unattended. The only people who should know the location are the people on the account or a trusted relative. 
 

2. Never leave your checkbook or debit card in your vehicle, especially in eyesight (locked or unlocked). Billions of dollars in personal items are stolen from vehicles every year. "Smash and grab" criminals do not have a clear plan to steal your valuables. If they're curious, they will break in and take whatever they find in very little time. Don't let your vehicle be the jackpot. 
 

3. Report a lost or stolen debit card to your bank immediately. It's crucial to act quickly the moment you realize your card is gone to reduce fradulent activity. 

If you have a Blue Ridge Bank debit card, please download the Shazam Bolt$ app available on Apple and Google. This app works well with our mobile app and allows you to turn on/off your debit card. Once turned off the card will no longer work.
 

4. Review your check's number sequence and make sure each number matches the check register or duplicate slip as it is used. Criminals are notorious for taking the last check in your book, and you won't notice until it's too late.
 

5. Do not mail bills from an unlocked mailbox. Instead, mail payments through the Post Office. The upright red flag on your mail box is an obvious signal for criminals to look and steal whatever is there.
 

6. Never make a check payable to cash until you are ready to cash the item. If lost or stolen, a check made payable to cash may be legally cashed by anyone.
 

7. If possible, never let anyone take your debit card out of sight. This includes at a restaurant or store.  Skimming devices are used mostly commonly at ATMs but they can easily be used anywhere.
 

8. Use dark ink on your checks that can't be easily erased or covered up.
 

9. Do not leave large blank spaces in the amount box or amount line of the check. Start the written dollar amount as far left as possible and put a slash between the cents and the 100. Also, draw a line between the cents value and the right side of the dollar line. That way, there is no room for someone to squeeze in additional characters. 
 

10. If you order checks, ensure they are received timely and immediately verify all checks were received with the order. Alert your bank if you do not receive your checks. It’s possible they could have been stolen from your mailbox.