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PULSE EFT Association Encourages Comprehensive Electronic Payment Security Practices

June 07, 2007

Network offers privacy, fraud protection tips during ATM/Debit Card Safety Awareness Month

HOUSTON – With new industry research highlighting the emergence of debit as the preferred method of payment for many consumers at the point of purchase, PULSE EFT Association has launched its annual nationwide effort encouraging consumers to review and practice safety tips when using their ATM/debit cards. New to the network's ATM/Debit Card Safety Awareness Month this June is an increased focus on privacy and fraud protection.

“Consumers are using their debit cards more often today than ever, and in an increasing number of ways,” said Cindy Ballard, executive vice president of PULSE. “We want to encourage cardholders to be well informed when it comes to card safety measures.”

As part of the campaign, PULSE is offering tips ranging from drive-up ATM safety to precautions for preventing identity theft to its more than 4,400 participating financial institutions. These tips are delivered through a variety of materials, including lobby brochures, card protectors, deposit envelopes, statement inserts, electronic brochures and Web site links.

“While fraud historically has occurred most often in isolated instances at ATMs or at the point of sale, most in the industry agree that the nature of fraud is shifting,” Ballard said. “In some cases, we're starting to see fraud that is larger in scale and more organized.”

In response to this development, PULSE is focusing on cardholder actions that can help to prevent financial fraud and protect against identity theft.

“Debit card use is projected to increase again this year, and it is important that consumers understand various steps they can take to reduce their chances of becoming a victim,” Ballard said. “Practicing these simple precautions can dramatically increase the safety and security of debit card use.”

PULSE offers the following recommendations:

ATM/Debit Card Security

  • Treat your card like cash. Keep it in a safe place.
  • Report a lost or stolen card to your financial institution immediately.
  • Never disclose information about your card in response to an unsolicited e-mail or request.
  • Keep your personal identification number (PIN) a secret. Do not disclose it over the phone to anyone – not even your financial institution.
  • Carefully review your account statements and, if available, frequently visit your online banking Web site to look for unauthorized transactions.

Financial Fraud Prevention

  • Remove mail promptly from your mailbox.
  • Shred all personal and financial documents and destroy unused credit, ATM and debit cards before disposing of them.
  • Match receipts to monthly billing statements.
  • Memorize PINs, passwords and Social Security numbers, and only record them in secure locations.
  • Use longer, more complex PINs and passwords, change them periodically and use a different one for each card or Web site.
  • Notify financial institutions of address changes in advance.
  • Immediately report any unauthorized account activity or phishing scams.
  • Look closely at ATMs to detect any suspicious alterations before using them.

Identity Protection

  • Do not let your debit card out of your sight when purchasing goods and services.
  • Utilize anti-virus software, anti-spyware and a firewall on your personal computer, and keep them up to date.
  • Review account statements regularly to verify all transactions. Frequently log into your online accounts and review all activity.
  • If you have given out personal or financial information in response to a fraudulent request, report the incident to your account provider(s) as soon as possible.
  • Review your credit report every year. (Consumers are entitled to one free credit report each year. To request a report, call 877-322-8228 or log on to www.annualcreditreport.com.)

A comprehensive listing of ATM/debit safety tips is available at www.pulse-eft.com/public/atmdebitsafety/csafety.html, and a brochure containing fraud/identity theft prevention tips is available at www.pulse-eft.com/public/atmdebitsafety/idtheft.html.

About PULSE EFT Association LP PULSE is one of the nation's leading ATM/debit networks, currently serving more than 4,400 banks, credit unions and savings institutions across the country. PULSE is owned by Discover Financial Services, a business unit of Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS). The network links cardholders with nearly 260,000 ATMs, as well as POS terminals at retail locations nationwide. The company is also a valued resource for consumer research related to electronic payments and is committed to providing its participants with education on evolving products, services and trends in the payments industry. For more information, visit www.pulse-eft.com.

Contacts:
Anne Rhodes
PULSE EFT Association
(800) 420-2122
arhodes@pulse-eft.com

Marla Mathews
GCI Read-Poland
(800) 472-4122
mmathews@gcigroup.com