Friday, June 10, 2011

"Financially Compromised" Mommy

"Financially Compromised" Mommy
Yep, that's right.  I wasn't feeling so smart or sophisticated today when I went to Costco and had my bank card rejected.  Since I refuse to get any credit cards beyond the one I already have, I don't have an American Express and I wasn't carrying any cheques at the time.  That left me groceries apparently.  It was ridiculously embarrassing and extremely frustrating since I was already cutting it close with my daycare pick up time.

I called the bank to find out what "Unauthorized Card Use" meant only to be hung up on after waiting and being put on hold for several minutes.  I gave up and asked them to hold my groceries so Jeremy could pick them up after he was finished work.  I left to pick up the kids and was thoroughly confused and annoyed by what had happened.  My first thought was that I had exceeded my daily limit for debit since I had paid my credit card bill earlier in the day.  That doesn't usually affect retail purchases though..or does it?!

I called Jeremy to ask him to pay for and pick up our groceries. I didn't waste 45 minutes at Costco for nothing!  He said that bank security had called and left a message.  When I got home with the kids, I parked them in the living room so I could deal with the issue at hand.  The bank said that my card number had been copied along with the PIN and they were monitoring it.  I've heard of this happening to a lot of other people but never thought it would happen to me.  I've been really careful when using debit machines lately after hearing all the recent news stories about skimming.  Apparently, this CAN happen to anyone and I plan on changing a few things so it doesn't happen to me again.

According to the bank security officer, you can do some things to avoid this problem.  I really want to share them here to help out others.
  • The most interesting tip was that this type of card skimming is happening primarily at gas stations and restaurants.
  • For purchases at restaurants and gas stations, use either cash or a credit card.  
  • He suggested carrying $20 at all times for smaller purchases to avoid using a debit card.
  • Continually monitor your bank account to check for any irregular activity.
  • Change your PIN number from time to time.
  • My own personal tip would be to NOT use a debit card unless the business has chip technology.  I will no longer be using my debit card if there is any swiping necessary.
The good news for me is that there was no harm done besides a little bit of inconvenience and embarrassment at Costco today.  I have already changed my PIN number and will be changing the way I make my purchases from now on.  Truthfully, I wasn't using my debit card all that much anyway so this is clearly something that can happen to anyone and it only takes one time to have your debit card compromised.  It's becoming increasingly common and, in my opinion, every business needs to get on board with chip technology immediately to stop this sort of crime from occurring.


  1. Ugh, that would be awful. Sorry this happened to you!! I thought all businesses were supposed to have the chip machines in by a certain date??

  2. This seems to be a fairly big problem here. I've had my bank card shut down numerous times in the past couple of years.

    Very very frustrating!

  3. So sorry this happened to you. But, are you sure about the chip technology being better? I thought I read or heard that it will actually make it easier for thieves to steal our info.

  4. It would be better initially since the thieves are targeting the ones that swipe right now. You are right though..they would catch on to how to compromise chip cards too at some point. Debit cards might just have to be done with and replaced with the debit/credit cards that a lot of people already use.

  5. Yikes. I use my debit card everywhere. You are giving me some good advice here. Thanks.


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