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