Saturday, May 19, 2012

Hacked!

This morning, I received a recorded fraud alert call from my bank--they detected suspicious activity on my ATM card. Immediately thinking back, I knew I'd used the card at the bank's ATM just the afternoon before, but I couldn't recall when I'd used it prior to that time. A restaurant? The grocery store?

I logged into my account online and sure enough, there were a handful of charges, all relatively small, from McDonalds, a market, a gas station, and a drug store located in three small towns within a two hour drive from my home.

As I was asked to do in the recorded alert, I contacted the bank's fraud department, and identified the fraudulent charges. My ATM card was then cancelled, and I won't be held responsible for any of the charges, but I DO have to wait about a week to receive my new card.

What really amazes me is how the bank was able to identify those particular charges as suspicious. The amounts were small and the towns were close enough to my home that it wouldn't be unreasonable to think I might be making the purchases myself. It's probably best we don't know how banks catch this kind of thing so quickly, but I'm very grateful they do.

I've read a lot of warnings about using an ATM card at gas pumps, but sometimes it's the only reasonable option. When my friends and I were in Gardnerville, Nevada, last Saturday, we stopped for gas before we headed home, and I used my card there at the pump. I had a weird experience too: It asked me to authorize a 35 cent surcharge for using a card by pressing the "yes" button. I didn't immediately see the "yes" button and pushed "enter" instead. It asked me again to push the "yes" button to authorize the transaction fee, and when I finally located the right button, it declined my card. I went into the mini-mart to see if I could pay in there using a credit card, and I learned they didn't take credit cards, but the attendant ran my ATM card and it worked fine. In hindsight, I'm suspicious now about the machine at the pump. But it might not have been that. It could have been any restaurant I've been to recently. Who knows? It's hard to say.

On my way home from work, I stopped at the grocery store to purchase a few things we needed for the weekend. At the register, I punched my phone number into the electronic payment device mounted on the counter in order to get the store's club card discount, but then what was I supposed to do if I was going to write a check instead of swipe my ATM card? "I want to write a check," I told the cashier, "How do I do that?" "You just write a check," she replied. Of course, I felt kind of dumb! Isn't it funny how quickly our habits change with new technology?

The weekend is here, and I guess I should just hang around the house and sew since I don't have access to my money. Not having an ATM card for a few days might not be such a bad thing after all!

9 comments:

Donna said...

A bit scary even though the situation seems to have worked out for you. Enjoy your weekend!

Suzan said...

I did not receive my ATM renewal card and I just noticed that my card expires at the end of this month. I called the bank and they said it had been mailed over a month ago. Since I didn't have it, they issued a new one and it will be here by the end of next week. What I DIDN'T thing about was that they would have to cancel my current number in case someone else had snagged my card. I went into Joann's to pick up some Kona cotton, got to the check out and had my card refused. I was mortified. Thankfully, I have another bank and used that card. I was so overwrought trying to figure out how to get money out of my main bank until my card arrives. Suddenly it dawned on me...write a check! I never write checks any more and I guess that is why I was so puzzled. You are so right about technology changing habits!!

Teresa in Music City said...

My husband left his card in a pizza joint several Christmas's ago. It even had his picture on it - a sixty-year old man. The young 16-year-old girl behind the counter took it to the mall and charged tons of stuff before the night was over! No one apparently even paid attention to the picture, or she told them it was her father? What a shame! Of course, he was reimbursed too, but at Christmas it was difficult and we had family visiting with us too!

Cathi said...

Glad your bank caught it. I never use my card at a restaurant because they take it to the register & it's out of my sight.

Lady of the Cloth said...

I had the same thing happen a couple of weeks ago. All I could do was lounge around and recover from my forced Plastic surgery. It took 10 days to get my card and because I use it a lot as I don't carry cash, I was LOST! I'm glad the bank caught yours. Our credit union says it is usually from online purchases that get hacked. Who knows? Make it a good day.

Josie McRazie said...

ours credit card was hacked about this time last year. I think the people who hacked it chose the WRONG people to hack, because we only had about $10 available! hehe! I just wish we all used cash! Can't hack that! LOL

Gran - Knot-y Embroidery Lady said...

Holey Moley!!! I could float you a loan of fabric, thread patterns, notions oh heck just give it to you! You can get anything you you want at "Gran's Garage" ....

Jen said...

I bank with Chase, and they've called me a couple of times (somehow they always seem to call while I'm in church on Sunday mornings) and they do a great job of staying on top of my account - luckily the purchases they questioned were all mine - but they were out of the ordinary - and I was so grateful for the call - even if it did make my phone ring in the middle of church! Glad your bank was on top of it!

Vicky said...

That happened to me a week or so ago, except I caught it when I checked my account online. It was a real inconvenience until I got the new card in the mail. Glad your bank was on their toes for you!