Don't Get Robbed Like I Did! Rant & WARNING.

Last Update: March 06, 2019

As it stands, I am still planning to do one more year at Wealthy Affiliate however, as with any other year, at the time of renewing my subscription, it doesn't come easy.

This year, I had already saved back the money needed to do this seamlessly, but once again, something came along to foil the plans.

My Trip to Kissimmee, Florida to see my sister and niece ended on a very sour note - something I would not know about until Friday, nearly at the closing time of my banking institution.

I got a call from the Fraud Prevention Department...a number of attempts were made at running my debit card (as a credit transaction.) This is not without successful usage of my stolen debit card information! The money I had saved back for Wealthy Affiliate, not to mention other things? Kiss it good-bye - for now!

Two of five successful transactions have cleared, both of which are now disputed. There are three more pending. At this point, I have had $199.75 taken out of my account. I expect another $300 to slip away to the thief that stole my bank card information!

I will get this money back, but at the expense of VISA, not the store merchants that honoured the transactions, and indeed, "forced" the sales or transactions to go through, even when denied by my bank. Don't ask me why.

What complicates this whole thing is that I had JUST closed out my old account - due to it having been compromised! And two months prior to this, had been contacted by Fraud Prevention after inserting my debit card into a gas pump card reader.

This has caused me, not so much the loss of funds (but temporarily) but having to update the information everywhere I do business, utilities, etc. As would be the case, I left one of these undone and this resulted in automatic pay having been terminated without my knowledge, which in turn resulted in penalties and loss of privileges (cannot use any debit cards with my ISP for six months - all for not monitoring my bank account, plus the unexpected expenses this caused!

Rant Over - now the WARNING...

I included a video here. Also note the header image. These serve to warn readers just how easy it is to get robbed. I'm sure most people are familiar with this, but for those who put too much faith in using their debit cards - WATCH OUT!!!

It's mostly the magnetic stripe on the back of your card that gets you into trouble, but think you are safe using a chip reader in a store?

Think Again!!!

Scammers have gotten much craftier putting overlays atop of the card reader keypad, etc. The reader looks completely normal though you are putting your data into two layers of readers - the scammer's and the merchants beneath that.

3 Seconds to Install Overlay...

See the video above. (or link, if the video disappears after publishing this...)

No chip reader at the store/restaurant counter? Watch out!!

Look at the header image above...

These are all card skimming devices, one of them the size of a book-bag pencil sharpener. Some store clerks out of many are not those you want to do business with when they take your debit card out of your sight, behind the cash register, etc and secretly swipe your card before swiping it for the purchase.

This is likely how I got robbed at a 7-Eleven or Subway Sandwich shop near where my niece lives, when I walked out from there to get some soda and a meatball sub. Neither place had chip readers. DON'T GIVE YOUR CARD TO ANY STORE EMPLOYEE TO SWIPE!!!

The frightening thing about all this - it's instant and a very popular way to commit a crime. These devices, and even master keys to open the service panels at gas pumps can be purchased, sometimes buy one, get one free deals at the common online marketplaces and retail stors! It's sad but true.

This is not to scare anyone away from using their cards, but to be more viligant. You stand a better chance of not becoming a victim by using your debit card to make CREDIT CARD TRANSACTIONS. Do NOT use the card for debit transactions. If you must give the card to a store employee, do NOT let that person take the card out of your sight.

Pay in cash instead of using your card wherever this is convenient. A little more inconvenience of having to go to your bank to draw out the funds you need.

Ironically, per the video above, the thief that took my funds obtained it in Miami, Florda, a place known for lots of fraudulent activity. Fortunate for me, the thief had problems using the bogus card at a Speedway (or Wawa) stores when the person had to swipe the card repeatedly to get it to work, which triggered Fraud Prevention.

What angers me is that the thief got away with everything. The merchats got their money because they forced the sale when they discovered the funds were denied, something I don't understand, but that they are apparently able to do. I will get the money back, but someone has to pay for this! It's sobering!

Not to mention, this now ties up as much as $500 of my money until resolution has been made, which, in my case, can take up to four weeks because I had just closed an account and opened a new one.

I Realize This Is Not About Marketing

I felt it needful to write this. It's fresh on my mind because I'm going through it now. Depending on where you live, you might not be as fortunate as I am to have the kind of protection that is in place where I will be getting the funds back however, it causes a lot of problems and one which may affect when I pay for my renewal here.

I realize this is essentially "off-target" to what blogging on here is to be, and is one of the reasons why I refrain from writing on here. I am ticked off about the invasion and had to share it in hopes someone who reads this benefits from it.

Daniel

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Hudson Premium
Thanks for sharing this, a very welcome reminder to us all.
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You are welcome. Sadly this stuff is way too common now but I have changed the way I do purchases, using my card only where I routinely go and careful in all the others.
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DWestbury Premium
Thanks for that, I know first hand from a recent experience. My card was nowhere near the transaction which occurred 10,000 miles away in Canada.
Thankfully I checked my Credit Card statement transactions, which I do monthly...!
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For me, part of what happens is not continually monitoring account activity. Albeit, this time around, I wouldn't have known. The culprit apparently had problems getting the card being used to work properly and swiped it multiple times. This triggers Fraud Prevention. I've done it myself. When a card gets old (or dirty) you, the user can also trigger Fraud Prevention. However, I used my card and suddenly there were transactions from hundreds of miles away. It is a pain in the butt, but I am grateful the security system is there.

You should actually be checking once per week at the most, and probably more often - not monthly. Just my thoughts.
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mlight56 Premium
Thank you for sharing ... one can never be to careful ... cheers ... Michel
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You are welcome :) That's right. It is too easy to take it for granite and it becomes a wake-up call when it happens. Most people I know have had it happen to them at least once.
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AlexEvans Premium
Hi Daniel, that would of been frustrating for you. The positive is that you will get it sorted.

Thank you for the reminder, It can be easy to get caught off guard. Always keep that card in view.

The thing I think about in situations like yours is if they did this to you, how many other folks have they scammed.

Given that you have isolated it to, two possible connections it should be realitvly easy for authorities to track the offender.

Having said that the appitie to do so has to be there.

Thank you for posting, I learnt something new from your post and conversation.

Alex
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I have been to the doctor. I have something far worse than stolen money at this point. Some things came up in the bloodwork that isn't very promising. I will be going for further testing. This is going to be a long month for me.

Maybe it's my time, but for now, I am thinking this isn't so.

As for the the culprit, the deed was done in Kissimmee (actually, Winter Garden) and the locations where the person used my money is about 300 miles from there, just north of Miami.

At this point, there is little hopes the culprit will see justice done for what he did.

As it is now, the money might not even matter.
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Of course, I looked into the diagnosis further and found out that cancer colon testing they're putting me through is apparently routine procedure and it definitely got me worried. Just to let you know what was going on and why I wrote what I did in my first response. I had just come home when I found your reply on here.

Whew!
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AlexEvans Premium
Hi Daniel, sometimes we can get those shocks, and fully understandable. It will be a routine procedure and it is always better to be safe than sorry.

Still helps put things into perspective, best wishes and hope all goes well.

Alex
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I'm sure they all will fall into place after having taken proper steps to resolve them. The other transactions still have not appeared on my bank statements other than the $1 charges for each, and hopefully this means they were intercepted. I should have the money back before it's time to renew at the end of the month.

Thanks for the discussion!
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MKearns Premium
Thank goodness you didn't have to kiss it all goodbye in Kissimmee Daniel We all learn as we go!
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I do consider myself fortunate though it is not without inconvenience and has tied up the funds. So far, the other transactions have not cleared and hopefully they won't, though I do have the $1 charges for each reflected, five times, one for each. This may be when the Fraud Prevention caught this going on and have successfully stopped the payments. I was advised otherwise however, that if the merchants force the sales, they will go through.

I wasn't even aware of such tiny devices like this that dishonest employees can easily take to the stores where they work. They are BlueTooth devices. I will be using bank notes much, much more than the card going forward.
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BenjisDad Premium
Use a credit card much easier to get money back and transactions halted in case of fraud.

If you handle it like a big kid, you can even use it to make cash back or fly for free.

It's much easier to get credit back rather than cash right out of your account.

Regardless, just pay the card off each month (or week) and never hold a balance.

With mosg cards you get purchase protection, bonuses, luggage protection, all types of cool stuff.
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I don't, nor have I ever held a regular credit card. One can make a credit card-type transaction with a debit card so long as the funds are there to cover it. Like you said, it is easier to recover from theft if the card is used as such. It also makes it harder for the thief because in a credit card transaction, you input a zip code rather than a pin number. This stops some of the fraud in its tracks though not 100%.

What's funny about not maintaining a balance with a credit card - the lovely folks in these institutions consider folks who keep their credit card balances from accruing are to them, known as "deadbeats." From what I understand, if applying for a credit card, when you have a history of doing this, it is actually a strike against you. Obviously, they love it when you go in debt of course, and even more when you default on your payments!

As bad as they come down on such a user, it puts a lot of money into their revenue and is a very solid income stream and viable part of the business that they anticipate.

I learnt years ago about compounded interest and have avoided this at all costs. I do not have any kind of consumer credit debt and would only enter a debt situation under what is known as debt-service, which is well-known amongst the wealthy.
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BenjisDad Premium
It does require you be responsible. But if you pay the balance each month and only buy what you would have bought anyways, then you control stuff and take advantage of the free perks a credit card affords you.
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You are right that there is reasonable purposes for having a credit card, and that they do come with benefits. I just never had one and can, at this point, do without it.

If it comes down to it, I would hold a credit card, not as a consumer, but a business owner. At this point, debt can be used as a viable resource when using it under calculated risk or planned and predictable investments using other people's money.
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GlenPalo Premium
Sorry about the loss and inconvenience this causes. But thanks for sharing. I recently started using more cash because of problems like this. I had a card blocked because of a purchase that did not process properly.
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Definitely going to change the way I handle my money going forward. This really sucks! Again, sadly some on here don't have the kind of protection that is offered in the West and Europe.
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Thank you for sharing this with us!
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Well, hey there!

You must be in your 7th or so year here yourself! I hope you are doing better than I am at this! I remember you joined at about the time I had my one and only sales spike that I have never been able again to repeat. A lot has happened here since!
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