Financial Fraud Prompts Question: Is Cash Or Card Safer? - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

UPDATE: Financial Fraud Prompts Question: Is Cash Or Card Safer?

KHQ.COM - KHQ is still hearing from people who have had their money stolen out of their bank accounts. The Secret Service says it is investigating the massive spike in financial fraud.  It still wont' say exactly how thieves were able to steal money from hundreds, maybe thousands, of accounts. 

We do know grocery wholesaler URM has launched a review because many banks and credit unions believe URM grocery stores – including Rosauers, Super 1 Foods, Yoke's Fresh Market, and the Trading Company – are connected to the source of the security breach.            

While KHQ waits to hear who is behind the massive fraud ring, consumers are asking if putting away the cards and using cash is a better option. Crime Tracker Kalae Chock talked to financial institutions and to law enforcement. They all told her that carrying cash is not the way to go.  The benefit to cash is that users are not going to be susceptible to fraud.  However, if it's stolen, you can't recover your losses. 

Financial institutions, on the other hand, can step in if you fall victim to theft. Numerica Credit Union says it's already had at least a couple hundred of its members victimized. However, they're being reimbursed because they had fraud loss protection on their accounts.  They had documented proof the charges were fraudulent and the members are getting their money back. 

Also, the credit union says if your card is stolen, you can cancel it before it's used to drain your account.  These are all benefits to using a card over cash. Spokane County Deputy Craig Chamberlain also weighed in on whether a card or cash is safer.  He doesn't like cash and says the less you carry, the better. 

He recommends clearing out your purse and wallet before running errands and shopping. The Deputy says to downsize and carry only the card that you know you're going to use. Meantime, KHQ is waiting on word from the Secret Service as to how this breach happened and how many people have been victimized.

Spokane Police Give Tips To Avoid Fraud 

Spokane Police Detective Stacey Carr says credit cards are less likely to be compromised than debit cards. She said if a credit card is compromised it is not directly tied to your bank account unlike the debit card. When you look at it from a federal level, Carr says the federal government mandates protection for credit cards, but "agrees" to protect debit cards.

Detective Carr said that cash is going to be your best form of payment, but it cannot be replaced if lost or stolen.  

KHQ spoke with several banks and credit unions in the area on Thursday and a few said that they are still getting reports of fraudulent activity. When asked about the number one thing to never do with a credit or debit card, one banking executive said to not give out the number over the phone.
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