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Pampered Chef: Adventures in Debit Card Theft

  1. Jean DeVries

    Jean DeVries Member Gold Member

    So, here's how my day went.....

    On my way to a doctor's appointment today, I stopped to get gas.

    As I was shutting the car off, my cell rang. I didn't recognize the number, so I didn't answer it.

    I tried to use my debit card to pay for the gas, but it wouldn't work. I tried to use it as a credit card. Didn't work. Good thing I had my credit card with me, because I was WAY out of gas.

    When I got back in the car, I checked my phone to see if the mystery caller had left a message. They did. It was my bank. They put a hold on my debit card until they could verify some potentially fradulent charges.

    So, I called them back.

    The woman asked me if I was in Florida. Um. That's a no. I was on East Paris Ave, on my way to the doctor's office.

    She explained to me then that someone had used my credit/debit card number fradulently in Miami. To the tune of $1,041. Straight out of my checking account.


    She said she was going to cancel my debit card and send me a new one in 3-5 business days. Excuse me? How do I get my money in the meantime? She said, "Um. You can go to the bank."

    Oh yeah. Grabbin' dough old school.

    She then said the money would be put back in my account within 10 days. Excuse me? I have to wait 10 days to get MY money back?

    (May I pause here for one disclaimer: I usually don't have that much money in my checking account (for just this reason), but I was paying off a credit card, so the checking account was loaded up.)

    So, after I got back to work, I tried to log into my bank site to see where the money was spent, and if I had enough in the account to still cover the bills that are coming out. And to transfer money into the checking account if there aren't so I don't have to argue with someone at the bank later on when my overdraft charges kick in.

    Nope. Can't do that either. The online account is tied to your debit card. Debit card account closed, online temporarily suspended.

    So, for those keeping score, ME: no convenient access to my money, or my account info. WONTON CRIMINAL: access to my money

    So, I asked the guy, "How am I supposed to know how much money is in my account and transfer money if there isn't enough if I can't get online?"

    He said, "You can always go to the bank."

    What is this "bank" place they speak of?

    Apparently the assmunch had breakfast at McDonalds on my account (to make sure the number worked), and then went and bought something at Bass Pro Shops.

    I hope whatever it is, it seriously maims them. Leaky kayak, frayed rope, bike with one square tire, holy tent, fishing pole with a ginormous fish hook tipped with anthrax or something.

    Not so fun......
    Apr 8, 2009
  2. esavvymom

    esavvymom Legend Member Staff Member

    Wow! I'm picking my jaw up off the table that the bank expects you to wait 10 days for that much money!?!?!

    See, I hear Dave Ramsey say it's "Safe" to use your debit card like you do a credit card because they protect you the same, but I've never agreed and after reading your story, I'm more convinced. Least with a credit card, it doesn't shut me down for 2 weeks!

    I feel for you though. It's such a violating feeling- especially when YOU HAVE THE CARD! How do they get the information....it's just infuriating. We had this happen to us with a credit card- but we think a bad business experience with an online vendor may have sold our credit card number to "get even" with us for reporting him to BBB.

    Be sure you put a credit alert on your credit reports. Just go to one of them online and click on their "Fraud Alert"....if you file a fraud alert with one, the other 2 will also put the alert on your account. It's just a protection to keep them from opening accounts in your name. (And file a police report....having that number may come in handy if you find other areas compromised....you just never know what that person had gotten ahold of- just one number, or your whole identity?)

    Good luck.
    Apr 8, 2009
  3. Jean DeVries

    Jean DeVries Member Gold Member

    I suspect it was random.

    I never use that debit card out of the state, online, or anywhere else that's not "secure". (Not that I'm under the impression that restaurants, drive-throughs, movie theaters, or anywhere else is all that secure.) On vacations, especially out of the country, or when purchasing online, I use my credit card, and just pay that off at the end of the month, mostly for this very reason.

    But again, I suspect it was just random. Credit card fraud has to be about the easiest fraud to commit. All you need is a machine that makes things that look like credit cards (that's probably the hardest part). After that, it's just randomizing 12 numbers until you find one that works. And with as many people as have credit or debit cards, one probably doesn't have to randomize that many before finding a winning combination of numbers.

    I mean, theoretically, the card they used didn't even have to have my name on it, or be from my bank. It just had to be a valid number. There's nothing when one uses a credit card that ties it back to your or verifies that the card is yours, other than checking the signature. And if you've made the card and put your own name on it, the signature matches. So does your ID, if they ask for ID. So they really don't have to have a valid card of mine, just a valid number.

    This happened to me once before with a credit card, only that was a little scarier because they had set up a PIN and were withdrawing money from a bank in New York City. I called the credit card company and was told the only way to get a PIN was to verify my social security number. Which means whoever did that had my SSN. I put fraud alert on my credit reports after that, but nothing happened. I think most of these criminals just use it for a couple of hours, buy the big ticket items, then ditch the card. Banks are getting much more sophisticated about catching these things sooner, so bad people rarely have a chance to go to town.

    When my friend was in London a few years ago, she used her debit card to withdraw money at an ATM, and it got a hold put on it. The bank told her it was because she didn't buy a ticket to London with that card, so they had no way to verify that it was her using it. It's the same bank I have, who also probably noticed today that a) I hadn't used that card to buy a plane ticket, and b) I've never used that card out of state before.

    Unfortunately, credit card fraud is a multi-billion dollar "industry", and us good doobies are the ones that have to pay for it.....
    Apr 8, 2009
  4. Intrepid_Chef

    Intrepid_Chef Legend Member Silver Member

    Un freaking believable.

    My bank called me at home and left me a message about my account. They had declined a suspious charge until they talked to me. It was REALLY large and it was some online transaction.

    I was still able to write checks and they never took the money out of my bank. A new one was issued ASAP.

    It was still a pain and I had at least one recurring debit so I had to change the card number. Not a big hassle for me. I'm sorry it was for you.
  5. rennea

    rennea Legacy Member Gold Member

    Oh Jean how terrible!! I can't believe that your bank is taking that long!! :(
    Apr 8, 2009
  6. Nanisu

    Nanisu Veteran Member Gold Member

    I had a situation with a checking account at our credit union where apparently the check printing company printed checks with our account number on someone else's checks. I never use this checking account, it's tied to our savings for when we need to transfer $$. I use it maybe three times a year. So at least 5 times someone was able to write checks on my account, the credit union honored them even though the checks had (get this) SOMEONE ELSE'S NAME ON THEM, but our account #. So the account would get overdrawn and they would just transfer $$ from our savings to cover it, so I never knew. Finally got it figured out when i went into check on something and was like $800 overdrawn on an account I never use. Did an audit of the account and we found this all out. It was definitely the CU's problem, they did refund my $$ and issue me a new account, but holy cow. How about a heads up--a statement--or a phone call--or something?It took about 3 weeks for us to straighten it out, and what really ticked me off was that it was ME who figured out what had happened, not the darn CU.
    Apr 8, 2009
  7. TammyStar

    TammyStar Member

    I had my debit card cancelled while I was on vacation. Apparently I had used it at a fast food place before I went on vacation where they found out one of the employees had a machine attached that was saving numbers. Problem for me, it was Labor day weekend and I found out Saturday afternoon. So had to use a credit card for 3 days because the banks were not open. But now that I've read your story I am grateful that they caught it before it was used. I never use my debit at fast food places now. So I am not so mad at B of A anymore.

    On a funny note, I had been working 2 jobs for about 8 months and finally went back to "normal" hours, it was right before Thanksgiving so I started Christmas shopping early. I went on a serious shopping spree. The bank put a hold on my card and called me to say my card was on hold due to unusual activity. I said what? Where was my card used? And after a long pause he said well.......the unusual activity seems to be that you are using the card after months of not using it. So I had to verify all my purchases but I was laughing the whole time!
    Apr 8, 2009
  8. pjpamchef

    pjpamchef Member Silver Member

    A few years ago, Discover called me questioning some online purchases. They were great about monitoring my account. I asked them how crooks got my CC info. They said they just go to places and randomly try numbers for small purchases until they get lucky, then they go to town. That follows your story about them going to McDonalds first!!
    Apr 8, 2009
  9. rennea

    rennea Legacy Member Gold Member


    My credit card company did that to me. I thought it was so funny when they called to confirm. I just told them it was a little retail therapy!!
    Apr 8, 2009
  10. crystalscookingnow

    crystalscookingnow Senior Member Gold Member

    My bank checked on me once... I was in Chicago (not on a PC trip) and took my DDs to American Girl. I checked out with them b/c they each picked some things out, then checked out about 15 minutes later without them (Santa gifts). Before I got to the elevators on the 2nd floor, my cell was ringing. It was my bank checking on the charges b/c it was my debit card. Gotta love that!
  11. I Had something similar happen a year ago when my DH was in MD. He was using a credit card while he was away at school. He has never been to NY and neither have I. Bad part was, I had to call the credit company. I have a tendency to watch my accounts like a hawk. So when all these charges showed up in White Plains NY I call DH and asked if he had gone on any road trips there. when he said no I hung up with him and called the credit card company and told them right away.

    I'm sorry it happened to you. I hope they catch him and string him up by his toes! (albeit unlikely)
  12. And also same happened to me, but I didn't express it with as much wit! :D

    Maybe they will give you a lollipop at that old fashioned "dough grabbin" drive through ;)
  13. raebates

    raebates Legend Member Staff Member

    I'm so sorry you're going through this, Jean. A friend of mine had a similar thing happen a few years ago. She never did figure out how they got her number. Thankfully it all worked out. It was really inconvenient for a week or so, but she didn't lose any money over it. The bank even erased the NSF charges that were incurred because of the theft.

    As a precaution, you might want to contact the businesses you paid in the few days leading up to the theft. Let them know what's going on so they'll have a record of it in case there's an issue with your payment.
    Apr 9, 2009
  14. WLMcCoy

    WLMcCoy Advanced Member

    eww. yuck! What a nasty situation!! & the nerve & lack of respect that some people have!! & then the bank? 10 days!! You have bills, groceries, etc! HELLO!!

    I have to admit 'getting money old school' cracked me up! You sound like me!!

    I'll keep you in my prayers!!
    Apr 9, 2009
  15. Fluffy215

    Fluffy215 Member Gold Member

    At least your bank called you! I got a letter in the mail last night from mine stating how they denied my PC charge because of an overdrawn account. When I went to the bank to find out what happened they said there were over $800 charges in Texas. I have never even been out of state as far as MA let alone TX LOL They used it at a Shell station, again to make sure it worked, and then had a shopping spree at Super Walmart. The worst part is how it has now effected my PC account :( I also have to wait 10 business days to get my money back. I have to call PC when they open and get this all straightened out because this just sucks :(
    Apr 9, 2009
  16. heather223

    heather223 Veteran Member Gold Member

    Jean and Sandy, sorry to hear you are all going through this. It sucks when this happens. My husband and I are currently going through something similar. His ex-wife opened 2 credit cards in his name and then never paid on them. We just realized this a few months ago and since it has been so long they are in collections. Trying to get these 2 cards of his credit is a PITA. We put a fraud alert on his credit report, but that is a joke. We went and purchased him a new car this weekend. And never once did we get a call from the credit bureaus and his credit was pulled multiple times.

    Hope it all works out for you!
    Apr 9, 2009
  17. Fluffy215

    Fluffy215 Member Gold Member

    I called HO first thing this morning and hit choice #4, was told someone would call me back. I asked when because I had to work today and she said she would put urgent/ASAP on the message. That was 4 hours ago. I am hoping they just resubmit for the payment and all is good but I have to leave for work in half an hour and am stressing over this!
    Apr 9, 2009
  18. amy07

    amy07 Senior Member

    Jean, what is happening to you is NOT funny. However, your choice of words has me laughing and tearing up. assmunch? leaking kayak? anthrax laced hooks? You're killing me!
    So glad to see that this has not affected your sense of humor! You rock!
    Apr 9, 2009
  19. myinnerchef

    myinnerchef Member Gold Member

    It's a small comfort to know I'm not the only one. I got a phone call the other day from the bank asking to speak to DH. He was at work and they refused to speak with me but they did tell me they were calling about a declined charge in Atlanta. OK... never been there and I was certain DH wasn't there that day or the day before when the charges were entered. DH called them, confirmed that he still had the card in his possession, that he had not traveled to Atlanta and that the charges were fraudulent. They canceled the card and issued a new one immediately and issued a provisional credit while they await the affidavit. The thing is, he NEVER uses his debit card for anything except withdrawing cash. We have a credit card that earns points that we use for everything. So how did they get his number?

    BTW, these thieves were pretty lame. The charges were at a Walgreens and a TJ Maxx.
    Apr 9, 2009
  20. chefann

    chefann Legend Member Gold Member

    I think many of these thieves know that high-end purchases will be caught by the banks right away. Shopping at "standard" stores won't raise any flags, other than the geographic location. They're still getting something for free... and many take things back later with the receipts and get the cash or store credit.
    Apr 9, 2009
  21. luvmytees

    luvmytees Novice Member

    I've been there & feel your pain!
    Apr 10, 2009
  22. Aunticooks

    Aunticooks Member Gold Member

    This happened to my sister. Someone went to Mexico and was trying to use her debit account number. Poor sucker, they chose the wrong person. She only had $100 in the account. She had to laugh because this was an account that she never used but kept incase of emergency gas needs or groceries.
    Apr 10, 2009
  23. Jewel

    Jewel Member Gold Member

    We are dealing with this too!!! DH got a call from the bank about some suspicious charges w/his debit card online. I went to bank cuz he was at work, we looked at the account and verified the real charges and the online ones. Problem is its his card they can't talk to me about getting a new one, blah, blah, blah. And ya taking about 10-30 days to get the money back in the account and to top it off there are still charges coming up on a cancelled card!!!!! I have to go today and let them know about some more. They verified that the card was cancelled. I hate the paper work and that I can't deal with most of it because its his card. He works all day and can't have personall calls. Yes they consider your card being stolen and talking to the bank as personal!!!! He never uses his card either, so I haven't the foggiest how they got the number. We even got some stuff in the mail from some diet miracle drug. Had the wrong address on it but the PO recognized our name and sent it anyway. Can't wait to see what else we get. :mad:
    Apr 10, 2009
  24. brandenc

    brandenc Member Gold Member

    I had 4,000 taken out of my checking account last year from someone in Romania, and i've never been there, it took them 4 weeks to put my 300 back in the bank and then charged me$50.00 to do the investigation, but they paid all the over draft fees
    Apr 10, 2009
  25. pcchefjane

    pcchefjane Senior Member Gold Member

    How do you find time with all your DS businesses? If you ever promote in PC to Director, you'll have to drop the rest! Whew...I am tired just reading all those!
    Apr 10, 2009
  26. etteluap70PC

    etteluap70PC Legacy Member Gold Member

    guess it's going arround... yesterday (or night before, don;t remember) the phone rang, did not answer machine got it, all we heard was capitol one.... didn;t think much of it we have their card but still get a ton of marketing calls although not usually from them. Today I am trying to submit my taxes online, am upgrading so I can also submit state so I enter my Cap one CC #. Won't go thru... I try 3 times... hmmm just paid it WTH? I try to log in to my account... will not work. I call in, get a balance and last few transactions. All seems fine. Finally get a Customer service person. Seems like some business I have used my card at had a breach of some kind and had many card #'s stolen including mine so they reported it to all the CC companies right away (COOL!).

    So I did not lose anything but my sense of security. I am really good about strong paswords and having different ones for every site I go to but I do shop online alot and we use our CC for the points (pay off each month). It just sucks we have become so dependent on all this technical stuff!
    Apr 10, 2009
  27. vonfirmath

    vonfirmath Member

    When we had our debit account stolen, it was "read" at a gas station pump next door to our bank! (luickily, Bank of America was not wanting to give the money back because they said we were lying because, over the 12 years my husband had had the account, he had taken money out of one of the machines that the thieves used -- on the University campus)

    Our next-door Bank of America finally talked to corporated and convinced them it was not just us, this particular gas station had a LOT of people, etc. ANd GIVE THEM THEIR MONEY back.

    We still left them as soon as possible afterward.
    Apr 13, 2009
  28. pampered1224

    pampered1224 Legacy Member Silver Member

    Me too! And it was about 5 years ago and it took over a month for everything to get back to normal. We live in Milwaukee, WI. Apparently we charged over $3500 on our Capital One Card to purchase a stove, refrigerator and other appliances in North Carolina. The bad part, Capital One was not doing the "let's call" thing then! It went totally unnoticed for almost two months as the charges were placed the day after the billing cycle ended!
    Then the stupid business owner decided to fight our claim that it was not us!! That was a nightmare! You know how they had to solve that one, they litterally had to arrest the business owner. That was after the CC company physically had some one check the delivery address. His delivery guys were in on it as they delivered the goods to an empty lot! To get him to drop the charges against us, they charged him for being in on it. Then he dropped the counter charges against us, pressed charges against his delivery guys. Never di find out what happened after that.
    About two years later, same card, different number and we took a trip to Vegas. At least that's what the charges on the card said. That one was almost $2000. Excpet we stopped it because then Capital was doing the calls. Thank goodness!
    Oh and get this, the reservations were all placed by phone. The Saraha excepted the info and tried to charge the room and whatever. So it must have been one of those randomly generated programs that hit our number right on. Snots!
    Apr 13, 2009
  29. Jean DeVries

    Jean DeVries Member Gold Member

    Well, normally I don't applaud banks or financial institutions, because I consider them a necessary evil, but I have to compliment 5/3 first on finding the problem almost right after it happened, and they had the money back in my account THE NEXT DAY!

    Aside from the fact that I don't have my debit card yet (and now will probably get a call from my credit card company for 'unusual and excessive use'), I'm back to normal.

    Or at least what passes as normal in my world.
    Apr 14, 2009
  30. raebates

    raebates Legend Member Staff Member

    Great news, Jean.
    Apr 14, 2009
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