The other day, the bank’s Fraud Department’s automated call system telephoned to request that my husband call them to discuss some suspicious charges.

Turns out someone somehow stole the numbers from his debit card and were using this fake card to pay for stuff.  Five charges were made before the bank caught on and called us.

His card was in his wallet when I called him.  We have no idea how this crime was committed.  (I’d love to really know the details.)

He canceled the card and the bank told us what to do to recoup the money that came from our account.

The funny thing is that the person who stole from us did not really live it up.  He or she bought almost fifty bucks worth of stuff from Gymboree, fifteen dollars worth of gas from Shell Oil, a meal at Denny’s for $15.99, a Coca-cola for $1.75 from a vending machine and stayed at the Courtyard Marriott (that charge hasn’t cleared yet).  As it turns out, the charges have to clear first before we can contest them and get reimbursed.  (Nice, huh?)

Seriously, if I were living on stolen money, is that how I’d spend it?  I’d like to think I’d buy a ticket and high-tail it to Tahiti with an all-new wardrobe.  If I were a thief.  Which I am not.

I wonder if this thief will be caught?  I somehow doubt it.

* * *

Meanwhile, I’m sleeping a little better.  I’m just thankful that my insomnia is not made worse by having to care for babies with irregular schedules.  I was reminded of those days by an old journal I came across this weekend.  When my twins were three they had chickenpox back-to-back.  For six days, I hardly slept.  Aside from the time my son had surgery and was hospitalized and then sent home with a catheter (!!!), the chickenpox days were among the worst days of my motherhood.

Now, at least when I can’t sleep, that’s all I have to do:  not sleep.

10 thoughts on “Robbed

  1. I’m guessing the thief didn’t live it up so as not to attract attention. Had it been my card, the bank probably would have never noticed the suspicious charges. It would have taken my card getting declined somewhere when I tried to spend or my statement before I noticed.

    You can use a debit card at a vending machine?!?!

    But yes, if it were me, I would be all about the living it up! Maybe the marriott was living it up for them? They could be motel 6 kind of people…


  2. My husband goes on the bank website daily to check our balances and look at transactions – he would have caught it before the bank did. We have friends who had their debit card numbers stolen, and over $10,000 was spent in another country before it was caught – yikes! (course they would never be able to spend $10,000 or even close to it if they stole our cards…)


  3. I’ve heard stories of waiters copying down debit card numbers when they run your card, so we never use our debit card in restaurants. Sometimes if the charge is small you don’t have to put in your pin number. Stolen credit cards are so annoying. Who has the time?

    And the chicken pox story makes me shudder. I can’t imagine. We did the vaccine but who knows if it will work.


  4. I’ve had my debit card stolen twice. Both the same, they start out charging small amounts to see if anyone will notice, then go for the kill! All in one day, and the bank caught it both times before I even noticed.

    Just noticed on your sidebar that you’re reading AML book. I just got it from amazon yesterday. I love reading about her, fascinating lady.


  5. make sure you check your credit report Experian or whatever it is called also. In addition to someone using our card, that is how we were alerted to someone opening about 5 accounts in our name. They too did not buy anything too extravagant. Even returned some items that did not meet their needs to LIllian Vernon. So we got fake charges and some credits to our account!

    With each new account I found out about I got a new knot in my stomach. We were not responsible for any of it but it took almost 1 year to clear everything up. Nightmare dealing with automated machines.Oh, and the collection people were a real joy.


  6. This happened to me and I caught it by my online banking. They ran up $800 in charges, but we caught them and the bank reversed the charges. All were for jewelry at Fashion Bug. Then I called Fashion bug when I started getting the order verifications in the mail and they refused to tell me the address that they were being shipped to. I turned it over to the state police.


  7. My dad’s debit card number was stolen a few months ago, and the thief used it to buy lottery tickets! He would buy 100 tickets at a time from the same convenience store in Moses Lake. Once the police figured it out, they went through the videos and got him pretty quickly. I had the same thought, if I had access to an unlimited amount of someone else’s money, lottery tickets are not on the list of things I’d think to buy!


  8. It was similar when that happened to us. They just made several small purchases. I think it was in hopes we wouldn’t notice them popping up on our account. Alas. We noticed. Fraud alert wasn’t then what it is now. This Christmas we got a fraud alert message each time we bought each other a present, ruining all kinds of surprises.


  9. just found your blog thru owlhaven’s. funny you should mention the fraud thing. just 2 days ago i rec’d the same phone call from chase about our mastercard. same thing happened to us, only they racked up $883.67 before having the card cancelled on them. we both still have our cards too, so not sure, but am guessing they “made” a credit card to use. they wracked up some bills at sears, quick shop, dillons grocery store and taco bell. i’m with you, if i was using someone else’s money, i sure as heck wouldn’t be buying some gut wrenching food from taco bell! anyway- kudos to chase for catching it when they did. they’ve been very nice about the whole thing and we aren’t responsible for any of the other charges.


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