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Thursday, December 21, 2006

Merry Christmas to me....

So today at lunch I decide to go to the gas station for a necessary fill-up. I swipe my debit card, and the little machine thingy tells me to see the cashier inside. Weird. And it won't let me cancel the transaction either. Hmm... So I go inside and the cashier tries the card again, and it is denied. And then again... I pay with my credit card instead and high-tail it over to the bank to see what's going on, since I know I have the funds in my account, plus overdraft protection.

My credit union has great tellers (just have to say that). The teller checked out my account and said there was some questionable activity and that I would need to call their fraud services department and verify if the charges were authorized. In the meantime, the debit card is useless, but I can still use my checks. I deposit the check that was sitting in my purse waiting for me to take care of it, and get some cash back since the card is on hold. I was figuring that they were questioning the numerous retail charges I racked up last Thursday when I did the bulk of my Christmas shopping.

Nope! After talking to the fraud services representative, it seems that someone is using my debit card info for a Wal-Mart shopping spree in Louisiana. I don't even think I've ever been to Louisiana! She told me to go back to the bank and fill out the necessary paperwork. My boss graciously allowed me to head back out to take care of it (have I mentioned that my department at work handles fraud detection and investigations, among other default issues?).

Again at the bank (they'll all know me by name soon), I spoke to the same teller I had spoken to earlier. When she checked my account again to print out documentation of the disputed charges, she saw another pending charge (again at a Wal-Mart in Louisiana), so I got a new form and added that amount to the dispute. So...someone who should be receiving large quantities of coal (but more likey will get a Playstation obtained through dastardly deeds) in their stocking has taken $1,130 of my hard earned money! Yes, I am rather indignant about it.

But, since I found out so quickly and filled out the dispute form and affidavit of forgery (fraudulent use of a credit card, debit card, or ATM Card), the stolen money should be refunded to my account. The debit card has been cancelled, and I will be issued a new one, so there shouldn't be any additional fraudulent charges.

Then I came back to the office to call the coppers - I want to file a report ASAP, just to keep my bases covered. The local cops here told me I need to file with the local department (by my residence). So, after weighing in tonight at ww to see how badly I've done all week, I'm heading back home and will be making a special stop at the local police department to file a report. (I called already, just to find out if I could file by phone or not. I need to show up in person, which makes more sense anyway. But they are open 24/7, so I don't have to take any more time off of work.)

So, what's with the scammers last Sunday in the Target parking lot, and the stolen debit card now? What a crazy dichotomy (did I use that correctly?)- half the nation is out celebrating the season of giving and charity, and the other half is scheming and stealing. Don't people know right from wrong anymore?? No wonder I am such a cynic!!

I'm just wondering how someone got a hold of my info. One of the bank tellers was guessing that it was skimmed (where they insert a device into an ATM machine or other scanning device and copy the account numbers of the magnetic strip when the card is swiped). If that is the case, whoever did it is probably working on a large scale to make it worth their while, and who knows how many other people were affected too. I have no idea where this could have happened, since all the ATMs, and as far as I know, all of the POS sites, that I use are pretty heavily guarded security-wise.



kerri said...

OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Get out!!!!!!! That's AWFUL!!!!And scary. They might have gotten your info. from online shopping or something? Ugh.

Kristin said...

What a pain. NOw you will be more suspiciious of people than you already are.
My mom had her actual purse stolen right at her desk at work and they charged a $2000 sofa within an hour. (she worked in retail)
People suck.
(i wish you here somewhere I need to ask you something)

Gloria said...

Ack, that totally sucks. Apparently, 'tis the season for making off with others' information. UCLA's database of 800,000 (that's right, I have the correct number of zeros) was hacked into, and we were just informed of it, even though the hackers had been making attempts for over a year. A YEAR. It still boggles the mind that it took this long for whoever's in charge of this kind of stuff to figure it out.

Tami said...

Howdy all - well, I filed a police report when I was back in my hometown last night, and got to chatting with the police officer. He had the same thing happen to him last month, only someone was using his info in Mexico. So, he wanted me to know they don't take these reports lightly, even though it is unlikely that they'll ever find anyone (which I already knew). We were both wondering how long until someone figured out how to prevent this type of fraud...and then I mentioned that even if a new prevention system was implemented, it wouldn't be long until some crook figured out how to get around that too.

Is it 2007 yet?

Fluffycat said...

Oh that's horrible, Tami! I'm really glad you found out what going on quickly and can get your money back.

Pancho said...

I've read about this, sometimes crooks bribe waiters at restaurants or stores and when they take your credit card to pay the bill they have a little swipe machine no bigger then a video ipod and it copies your the magnetic strip off your card, then later all the data is downloaded to a computer and they make their own strips and place them on bogus cards and spend like crazy till the card is canceled. Damn techy crooks, knock on wood hasn't happened to me yet.

Caitlin said...

I'm so sorry that happened. What a horrible thing!!! I hope you don't have an issue w/ getting your $ back. My sister recently had something similar happen while online shopping even tho she used Paypal which is supposed to be extra secure. Anyway, hope it isn't too hard to resolve. Hope you had a great xmas. hugs.