Important:  New Check Card Fraud Protection Measures

Across the country, banks and their customers are experiencing significant increases in fraudulent debit card activity.  This includes American Bank and our Check Card customers.  And the fraudulent activity is not just happening in foreign countries or other states in the U.S.  Recently we’ve begun seeing significant escalation from Louisiana and within Texas.

We work closely with MasterCard® and our card transaction processor to monitor card activity and identify new ways to protect your accounts from fraud.  As a result, we began blocking specific types of Check Card transactions and/or transactions originating from certain countries, states or merchants when clear and active patterns of fraud were identified.  The basics of the blocking program have been as follows:

  • Blocks will be removed and added as we see fraud patterns change.
  • Blocks can apply to transactions in person, by phone, or via the Internet.
  • Blocks could cause legitimate transactions to be declined.
  • Blocks will typically not affect PIN-based transactions.

With the increased fraud from Louisiana and Texas, the blocking program is being expanded to better protect your accounts.  Check Card blocks will now be implemented when all of the following pertain to the transaction:

  • It is a U.S., signature-based transaction,
  • The card is present,
  • The merchant’s zip code is 155 miles or more from the cardholder’s zip code, and
  • The merchant type is:
    • Discount store                                    
    • Grocery store or supermarket            
    • Drug store or pharmacy                      
    • Variety store                                
    • Department store
    • Electronic Sales
    • Home supply warehouse store
    • Women's ready-to-wear store
    • Miscellaneous and specialty retail store

Please keep in mind that this new block pertains only to signature-based transactions (those being conducted under the “Credit” option rather than “Debit”).  So PIN-based transactions (those being run as “Debit”) will still be approved.

If you are travelling more than 155 miles from home, we recommend that you conduct your Check Card transactions using your PIN whenever possible.  You can also contact Customer Service in advance of any travel to have your card unblocked while you are away from home.

If you do experience a declined Check Card transaction, contact Customer Service.  If your transaction is blocked because of these anti-fraud measures, we can remove the block, provided you can answer security questions about your account that only you should know.  Our Customer Service staff is available from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, and can be reached at (361) 992-9911 or (800) 257-8316 toll free.

Rev 10/2/13

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