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Debit Card Numbers where stolen - need advice(7 posts)

Debit Card Numbers where stolen - need adviceFender
Jul 15, 2003 3:26 PM
I just found out today via online banking that over $600 have been stolen from me via my debit card. First charge was for $27 and I did not notice it, since it was a few weeks ago. But this morning I was checking my balance online there it was. A charge from for $209 dated 7/11 and several charges for today from various places, from a wireless company to a place in North Hampton, MA (I'm in CA).

I immediately called my bank and literally ran to the nearest branch of my bank and filed a claim. Now, while all this is being sorted out (10-20 working days), what can I do? How can I recover my money? Can the person who stole my number be caught? How can I know that they do not have my SS number?
Jul 15, 2003 5:24 PM
Do you have the "Check Card" feature? That is, the feature that allows you to use your ATM anywhere Visa is accepted, but with the funds being taken directly from your account. If so, it could just be that your card # was stolen, and that this feature (whice does not require a PIN) is being used. In this case it would likely require a simple number change (and a probably less simple process of getting your money back).

Second, is it just some kind of glitch? The purchases that you are listing seem like unlikely targets for credit card fraud, especially a hotel where whoever used it would likely be recorded by security cameras.

Anyway, no idea about what further actions you should take. Good luck.
re: Debit Card Numbers where stolen - need adviceFTMD
Jul 16, 2003 7:39 AM
I had the same thing happen. I believe that my account number was stolen while on vacation in New Orleans. I had nearly $2500.00 drained from my account. What really sucked is that I learned this on 2/14 so I was broke and with a frozen account on Valentines Day and couldn't pay for the dinner with my girlfriend that night. Anyway....

All I did was go immediately to my bank and speak with the branch manager. He and I then spoke with HQ's to officially file the claim. My account was frozen and red flagged for any debits coming in. At the time I had no outstanding debits or checks coming in so that was good. The bank provisionally credited my account with the amount stolen that day as well.

About 5 more debits were caught as the thief still attempted to use the account number. I then closed that account and opened a new one. I filled out investigative paperwork with the bank about 2 days after I discovered the theft stating that I didn't make the disputed debits and that I wished to prosecute. After about 3 months of silence, I got a letter from the bank stating that their investigation was closed and that they confirmed that I had not made the charges. I never learned if they found the person who did this.

Anyway, it sounds like you are doing the right things. Close that account as soon as all of your legit debits clear.

I found this on the net once, and it's got some good ideas on how to avoid future problems, several of which I have implemented. I can't officially credit the source, but here goes:

o The next time you order checks have only your initials (instead of first name) and last name put on them.

o If someone takes your check book they will not know if you sign your checks with just your initials or your first name but your bank will know how you sign your checks.

o When you are writing checks to pay on your credit card accounts, DO NOT put the complete account number on the "For" line. Instead, just put the last four numbers. The credit card company knows the rest of the number and anyone who might be handling your check as it passes through
all the check processing channels won't have access to it.

o Put your work phone # on your checks instead of your home phone. If you have a PO Box use that instead of your home address. If you do not have a PO Box use your work address.

o Never have your SS# printed on your checks (DUH!)
you can add it if it is necessary. But if you have it printed, anyone can get it.

o Place the contents of your wallet on a photocopy machine, do both sides of each license, credit card, etc. You will know what you had in your wallet and all of the account numbers and phone numbers to call and

o Keep the photocopy in a safe place. I also carry a photocopy of my passport when I travel either here or abroad.

o We've all heard horror stories about fraud that's committed on us in stealing a name, address, Social Security number, credit cards, etc.

Unfortunately I, an attorney, have firsthand knowledge because my wallet was stolen last month. Within a week, the thieve(s) ordered an expensive monthly cell phone package, applied for a VISA credit card, had a credit line approved to buy a Gateway computer, received a PIN number from DMV to change my driving record information online, and

But here's some critical information to limit the damage in case this happens to you or someone you know:

We have been told we should cancel our credit cards immediately. But the key is having the toll free numbers and your card numbers handy so you know whom to call. Keep those where you can find them easily.

o File a police report immediately in the jurisdiction where it was stolen, this proves to credit providers you were diligent, and is a first step toward an investigation (if there ever is one).

But here's what is perhaps most important: (I never
....the rest......FTMD
Jul 16, 2003 7:45 AM
But here's what is perhaps most important: (I never even thought to do this).

Call the three national credit reporting organizations immediately to place a fraud alert on your name and Social Security number. I had never heard of doing that until advised by a bank that called to tell me an application for credit was made over the Internet in my name.

The alert means any company that checks your credit knows your information was stolen and they have to contact you by phone to authorize new credit.

By the time I was advised to do this, almost two weeks after the theft, all the damage had been done.

There are records of all the credit checks initiated by the thieves'purchases, none of which I knew about before placing the alert. Since then, no additional damage has been done, and the thieves threw my wallet away this weekend.(someone turned it in). It seems to have
stopped them in their tracks.

The numbers are:

Equifax: 1-800-525-6285
Experian (formerly TRW): 1-888-397-3742
Trans Union: 1-800-680-7289

Social Security Administration (fraud line): 1-800-269-0271
Jul 16, 2003 7:55 AM
I appreciate you responding to this. In my case they only had the card numbers on my debit card, not my credit card. I called my CC company last night and there had been no new charges so I was at least somewhat safe. My only concern now is my social security number.

I will start calling those organizations you listed.

As far as how the theive(s) obtained my number, I have no idea. I am assuming it was either cloned at an ATM or at a restaurant or bar in which a third party had access to. From no on, I'm paying cash or walking with the wiater while they bill me.

Thank you so much!!
Legality question...jose_Tex_mex
Jul 16, 2003 3:26 PM
... I too am concerned about identity theft. I have all of the credit cards I want. Any other loans will be done in person.

I understand individuals are allowed to write a paragraph of some sort which is included in your credit report. Would a statement stating you wish to have no credit cards issued unless done in person with license and passport hold any weight? If a bogus account was opened wouldn't the issuing authority be bound by your terms?

Maybe it's not a legal safeguard. However, it would make the cc company look bad.
re: Debit Card Numbers where stolen - need advicejrm
Jul 16, 2003 8:49 AM
if its a Visa or MC/debit card arent you only liable for like $50 and no more?