Valley First

Card Fraud

Debit card fraud occurs when your MEMBER CARD® debit card is lost, stolen or counterfeited and used to obtain funds from your account without your authorization. Here you'll find important information on how to protect yourself.



Debit Card Fraud

As a victim of debit card fraud you may be immediately affected by a temporary loss of access to funds and the inconvenience of having to replace your MEMBER CARD® debit card. We want to do everything possible to assist you in minimizing your potential card risk, view our Protect Your Password tab.

What is your responsibility?

It is your responsibility as a Valley First MEMBER CARD® debit card holder and/or electronic banking user to protect your passwords in order to protect yourself from this type of fraud.

Click here (PDF 96KB) to view a copy of Valley First’s MEMBER CARD® debit card Cardholder Agreement. Click here (PDF 97KB) to view Valley First’s MEMBER CARD® debit card Cardholder Agreement for business members.

If you suspect that you have been a victim of fraud where it pertains to your account(s) with Valley First, please contact your branch right away or call 1-866-419-8111 (open 24 hours a day, seven days a week) to report your card lost or stolen.

What is card skimming?

Card skimming involves the unauthorized copying of electronic data from your debit or other cards. Hidden equipment typically obtains your PIN (i.e. cameras or false/altered PIN pads). The stolen data is then encoded onto a counterfeit card, which is used to withdraw funds without your knowledge.

How it happens

  • At ABM machines, a card reader is placed on either the ABM itself, typically over top of the legitimate card reader, or on the entrance door to the ABM if there is a card reader device on the door for access. Hidden cameras are strategically placed to capture you entering your PIN.
  • At debit card (point-of-sale or POS) terminals, the merchant may swipe your card in the legitimate POS terminal and then swipe your card a second time in a card reader device designed to capture the electronic data on your card. Either a camera or a “shoulder surfer” captures you entering your PIN.
  • At a POS terminal, the electrical components inside the PIN pad may be altered to capture data from your debit card and capture your PIN as it is entered. In these cases, it is virtually impossible to detect the altered PIN pad as most of the alterations are done to the electrical components inside the PIN pad.
  • The magnetic stripe on your debit card does not contain your account information or your PIN. Therefore, a counterfeit card is useless without your PIN.

If you suspect that you have been a victim of fraud where it pertains to your account(s) with Valley First, please contact your branch right away or call 1-866-419-8111 (open 24 hours a day, seven days a week) to report your card lost or stolen.

Protect Yourself

Protect Yourself

  • Keep your debit card in a safe place and do not lend it to anyone, including friends and family.
  • Memorize your PIN — it's your electronic signature. If you disclose your PIN to someone else, you could be held liable for losses. If you suspect someone knows your PIN, change it immediately.
  • Change your PIN regularly.
  • Use your hand or body as a shield when entering your PIN on an ABM or debit card (POS) machine to prevent “shoulder surfing” while you type it in.
  • Check your statements regularly to verify proper documentation of all transactions. Contact your branch immediately if you discover any inaccuracies (e.g. missing or additional transactions).
  • Notify your branch or contact 1-866-419-8111 immediately upon becoming aware that your MEMBER CARD® debit card is lost, stolen or retained by an ABM.
  • Have your branch set your account up so that you don't have instant access to money deposited into your account using an ABM. That way, perpetrators won't be able to quickly access large sums of funds through your account before you are even aware that your card, or card information, has been stolen.

Protect Your Passwords

Protecting Your Passwords

It is important that you protect the confidentiality of your passwords, namely your Personal Identification Number (PIN) and/or your Personal Access Code (PAC). Think of your PIN and your PAC as "keys". Instead of unlocking the door to your house or car, they serve to unlock the gateway to your financial and personal information.

Here are some helpful tips to keep these two "keys" safe:

  • Keep your debit card in a safe place and don't lend it to anyone, including friends and family.
  • Memorize your PIN and/or your PAC — it's your electronic signature. If you disclose your PIN and/or your PAC to someone else, you could be held liable for losses.
  • If your MEMBER CARD® debit card is lost, stolen or retained by an ABM, notify your financial institution immediately upon becoming aware of the problem.
  • When selecting your PIN and/or your PAC, don't pick the obvious. Your name, your children's names, address, telephone number, social insurance number or date of birth are all easy to find out. Choose something more complicated. If you don't, you could be held liable for losses.
  • Don't let your debit card out of sight when you're conducting a transaction and don't let it be "swiped" twice. As soon as the transaction is complete, remember to take your card and the transaction record with you.
  • Don't use ABM or Point-of-Sale machines where you don't feel secure. If anyone tries to distract you, retrieve your card and leave.
  • If you have signed in to Internet banking, don't leave your computer unattended. Instead, Sign Out and then Sign In again when you are ready to stay at your computer until your banking transactions are complete.
  • When you're making a transaction, or if you are using a publicly viewed computer terminal to access Internet banking, use your hand or your body to prevent people from looking over your shoulder while you type in your PIN or PAC.
  • Regularly check your statements and balances to verify all transactions have been properly documented. If entries do not match your records, contact your branch right away.
  • Change your PAC and your PIN regularly.

Contactless Payment Cards

What Are Contactless Payment Cards?

You may have noticed these new kinds of payment cards while waiting in line at a store, or you may already have a contactless payment card—now offered by Visa payWave™, MasterCard PayPass™ and Interac Flash™. These cards allow you to quickly pay for small purchases by waving your card in front of a contactless terminal. A small radio frequency antenna and microchip inside the card allows a transaction to be processed without having to enter a personal identification number (PIN) or sign a receipt.

What you need to know about the security of contactless payment cards Contactless card transactions are processed through the same secure networks used for all other Visa, MasterCard and Interac transactions. Your card never leaves your hand and each transaction has a unique, encrypted code and changes every time the card is used.

There have been news reports recently about electronic pick-pocketing, where a criminal with a card reader and computer can read the information on contactless cards and commit fraud. It's important to know that contactless cards are embedded with a number of security features to protect you. These include:

  • Short range
    Cards must be within a few centimeters of a reader for any data to be transmitted. The short range makes it difficult for criminals to gain access to card information from a distance and, even if they could, the card data cannot be used to create a counterfeit card and the encryption technology would make the stolen card information useless.
  • Encryption
    Each transaction you make with your card creates a unique encryption code, which expires after the transaction is finished. If someone was able to get close enough to steal data from your card, they would not be able to use the encryption code because it would have expired.
  • Limited information
    Your name is not transmitted during a contactless transaction. For Visa and MasterCard®, the three-digit security code on the back of your card is also not transmitted.
  • Low transaction limits
    Contactless cards generally have low transaction limits and any larger purchase will require you to enter your PIN. If you card is lost, this will prevent large purchases from being made.
  • Zero liability
    Visa, MasterCard® and Interac® all have zero liability policies for credit and debit card holders. In cases of fraud, you won't be held responsible and will get your money back.

So what can you do to protect yourself?

While contactless payment cards are very safe and there are multiple levels of protection in place to prevent fraud, there are steps you can take to further protect yourself. Here are a few tips to help prevent credit and debit card fraud:

  • Report a lost or stolen card as soon as you notice it's gone. Your card issuer will cancel your card and issue you a new one.
  • Choose a PIN that could not be easily detected if your card is lost or stolen. Don't use your birth date or address.
  • Make it a habit to regularly check your transactions online or on your monthly statement. If there are any charges that you didn't make, report them to your card issuer right away.
  • Never give out your card number over the phone or Internet unless you know you are dealing with a reputable company.
  • Protect your Personal Identification Number (PIN). Memorize it and don't share it with anyone or write it down.
  • Sometimes scammers will try to trick people into revealing information about their credit cards either over the phone or through email. It's important to know that your credit card company or financial institution would never call to ask for personal information like your credit card number, expiry number, PIN or the security number on the back of your card.
  • Protect your cards like you protect your cash. Never leave them unattended in your car or at work.
  • When travelling, carry your cards with you or make sure they are in a secure location such as a hotel safe.
  • Make a list of all your cards and their numbers and keep the list in a secure place. This key information is helpful when reporting lost or stolen cards.

Source: Canadian Banker's Association


Here at Valley First we are committed to monitoring fraud trends within the financial services industry and to taking necessary steps to protect your personal information. View further fraud prevention information.

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