Friday, May 20, 2011

Debit Card Fraud Victim

I was a victim of debit card fraud last week.

This is the first time it's ever happened to me. On May 9th, I had received a call that had something to do with a card, but I ignored it because I thought it was the occasional solicitation from my old credit card. Less learned: always listen to messages in their entirety, even if they are automated!

Over the next two days, my debit card was denied at two stores and then at the ATM when I tried to get cash. That's weird... I immediately called the customer service line for my debit card. I went through a whole bunch of automated checks and through a list of recent transactions which I verified. They were all ones I had made, nothing out of the ordinary, so then my card worked again.

There had been zero fradulent transactions on my card. I would have caught it immediately because I check my bank account every single day! My card was working again and I still diligently checked my account daily. Then this Monday, there was definitely a fradulent charge when I checked my account in the morning...

Not only do I not eat at McDonald's, but I would never go to one in some suburb of Istanbul, Turkey and spend $30 there! Everything clicked right away and I called my bank. They had been correct from the beginning - someone had somehow got ahold of my debit card number and pin. In talking to the customer service agent, they told me that the person had tried to buy $400 (!) worth of groceries in Istanbul. That was the day they closed my card. They also tried to go to two gas stations but all of those charges were caught and denied before they could hit my account. The McDonald's one happened to slip through after I unknowingly thought everything was okay. (Granted, up until this point I had never actually spoken with a real human about what was happening. That clarification would have helped immensely.) The CSA immediately closed my debit card and had a new one issued. I then talked to someone in the Customer Claims Department and have since filled out a form in order to get the $28.36 refunded.

The scariest part of all this? I have absolutely no idea how someone got my information! Was it skimmed from my bank-specific ATM inside the pharmacy near my apartment? Or was it from the RFID/wireless identity theft that I've been hearing about? I have never used my debit card for online purchases, so I could immediately rule that out. I still have my card, it wasn't lost or stolen, and I've never shared my PIN with anyone. I also never use the "PayPass" function on my debit card, where I can wave my card over a scanner for a small purchase and pay that way, because someone once told me that's an easy way for identity theft to happen. From now on I'll only draw cash at the bank or maybe even go inside to the teller. It's baffling, actually. I know this happens and it sucks. Technology is advancing all the time. And this is what we get!

(Yes, I now have two of those RFID sleeves as seen above. They seem to be widely available online. My Mom sent me her extras! Not sure if they work, but hey, peace of mind. Also? My bank rocks. They immediately knew what was going on!)


wheresmomsmoney May 21, 2011 at 12:51 AM  

That's unnerving to say the least! My husband had something similiar happen to him about a year ago - only the people got away with charging about 2K at an electronics store in the bay area (we live in So Cal). The money was credited back to him once we proved we hadn't been traveling. He still had his card and everything! It creeped us out for sure. Thanks for the link about RFID - I hadn't heard about that and now I'm very tempted to get a few of those sleeves!

chipsforsupper May 21, 2011 at 1:13 AM  

Are you absolutely sure you didn't use it in Turkey? Maybe in your sleep you went to the airport, hopped a plane, went shopping in Turkey, hopped on another plane and woke up in your own bed?

Counting all my stars and saving it May 21, 2011 at 2:00 PM  

That is very scary! I'm glad they caught most of the transaction in time to deny it.

Anonymous May 22, 2011 at 7:41 AM  

only use your debit card for taking cash out the bank, if u are going to swipe for a purchase hen always use a credit card and then pay it off. a debit card gives someone access to ur CASH! and if they get acees to ur cash then u have to prove to the ban tat it wasn't u and wait for them to credit it u nad go through a fraud investigation. Smart people only use credit cards becuse then u are placing the bank money at risk not yours.

Clare - Never Niche May 22, 2011 at 2:09 PM  

This happened to me too but the fraudulent charge was at a coffeehouse I frequent here in town during a month I had never been there. Freaks me out.

stackingpennies May 23, 2011 at 2:29 AM  


T smashed the RFID chip in his card because he is paranoid. They are surprisingly unsecure and often unencrypted. Scary stuff!

glad your bank straightened things out!

scn May 23, 2011 at 11:40 AM  

This happened to me back in 2005 or so! I saw some unusual charges on my account online so I called customer service and they asked me if I was traveling. I told them, "No, I wish I could afford to travel (at the time)" LOL. One charge went thru for a purchase in Texas and there was an attempt to charge something in the UK! The bank thought it was suspicious so they denied the charge. I don't know how anyone got my info either. I never use my debit card to pay for anything. I only use it to withdraw cash from the ATM and even that isn't often. But luckily, nothing like that has ever happened to me again.

Glad to know that your bank is taking care of you!

Obsessive Compulsive Daniela May 26, 2011 at 4:42 PM  

This has happened to my BF three or four times now. The bank keeps freezing his card b/c it's been "compromised", but he hasn't actually had any fraudulent purchases go through. He gets pretty pissed each time, since they won't tell him where it's happening and he has to get a new card (or the old one reset) every time.

Meanwhile I have an old "swipe" card and I've never had a problem (knock on wood).

Jerry May 27, 2011 at 4:58 PM  

Ummm...were you in Turkey ever? That is so scary. I also had card fraud this week. I went to get cash out and the ATM sounded like it was taking cash out but none was ejected. Then the card came and and said that it couldn't complete my transaction. I knew something was up and called my bank immediately. $400 had been taken out and my bank reimbursed it right away. I didn't know if we have fraud insurance or protection but then realized we did. It does lead to peace of mind.

meeh June 7, 2011 at 2:26 PM  

If you live in the east coast, there is a more than 50% chance that your card number is somewhere out there. Believe me, I work for a company that provides card processing to major east coast and midwest banks. And we have seen a major spike in counterfeit fraud in recent weeks. A few tips:
-Use your debit card only at your banks own ATM.
-Use credit card for all other credit cards.
-Never ignore a voice message regarding your debit/credit card. It doesn't even have to be a message from your bank. Most banks outsource their payment processing, including bankcard fraud services.

LC June 13, 2011 at 1:22 PM  

Holy cow, girl! I can't believe I didn't read this sooner... but that is crazy.

That happened w/ my first credit card. I had only used it once, for like $40 of gas, and then one day it was just cancelled. I was so dumbfounded by it, because I knew I hadn't used even $100 of my $1,000 limit! After calling Visa, they told me someone tried to buy $3,000 worth of airplane tickets w/ my card info! Needless to say, I don't go to that gas station anymore...

  © Blogger template 'Isolation' by 2008

Back to TOP