What If Someone Steals Your Debit Card?
Debit cards rock. Who wants to use cash? The germs on those bills is just disgusting. I love my debit cards!
Yet for the few out there who haven’t been victimized by identity theft – I want to go through some real things that happen to you when your debit card number is stolen. And lest you think you have to have the actual card taken out of your wallet, let me assure you, you don’t. If you use a debit card online or if you hand your debit card to someone in a restaurant, you could be giving out your number to thieves.
I’ve had this happen to me three times now – and twice with my debit card. I’m going to explain my most recent experience.
If you’re fortunate enough and you somehow catch the transactions in time then at least you can shut the card down before more damage is done. However, when this happens, your checking account is frozen. You can’t get your own money, especially if the transaction is still “pending.”
I was fortunate enough to have a transaction flagged by my bank within moments of the illegal charge. I got a call from the “fraud and protection” people of my bank at 10:00 p.m. eastern. The gentleman asked if I just purchased a ticket to Mexico.
No – I had not.
The good news is that he was able to issue a new card for me over the phone. The bad news – when I went to the bank early the next morning, the transaction was still “pending”. I couldn’t do anything about it. I had to wait for it to actual “post” to the account.
This small checking account is something I have expressly for on-line purchases. In fact, the bank employees were joking about all the Amazon purchases I made. That was in fact why I was called by their fraud department. My normal shopping habits on that debit card were never as much as that ticket price. That’s why it was flagged.
Now because this is my extra account, it’s no hardship that I can’t touch the money in that account that is legitimately mine. Imagine if you will – that this was your main checking account? The one you pay your bills with?
It has been over a week and I still can’t touch that checking account because it’s now under investigation. It can take up to 30 days for the cost of that illegal purchase is taken out of my account now that it posted.
This is a warning to anyone who thinks it can’t happen to you. I watched a program about an investigation into a credit card scam artist who sold credit card numbers on-line. They made tens of thousands of transactions every single day using thousands and thousands of credit card numbers they got illegally. They got this guy who ran the website but they didn’t get the thousands of thieves who frequented it buying illegal credit card numbers.
If you think you’re safe when you hand the credit card to that nice waitress in an expensive restaurant, think on that one again too.
There are new devices that someone can fit literally in their pocket they can use to swipe your credit card with. It keeps all the information on that digitalized strip and they merely hook it up to a PC and download it later.
They don’t have to use a device either. The young woman who took my credit card at an expensive restaurant in Seattle stood only several feet from me when she added another $100 to my credit card after I had signed the receipt.
Today I write this so this won’t happen to anyone else. I had to go back to the bank twice about the debit card. When the transaction is “pending” you cannot dispute it. So I waited in line at the bank. Waited for them to figure out what had happened to my card only to find out, nothing could be done at that moment. I had to come back when the transaction posted.
Thank God I have the time to run around doing all of these things. How many of you do? How many of you can afford to have your checking account tied up for up to thirty days? Be forewarned! I hope this doesn’t happen to you!