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My Debit Card Number Was Stolen

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I love my bank. I logged on yesterday to take care of a money transfer and I noticed a pending transaction that I didn’t recognize. I did a quick Google search for the name on the charge – SOFTCOM Technologies – and it came up with a webhost located in Canada.

Red Flags. I obviously use a webhost for my sites, but I use LunarPages, which is located in California. I had also never heard of SoftCom, and had no recollection of using them in the past. The other red flag for me is that I use my Discover Business Credit Card for all my business needs, not my personal debit card.

Report a lost ATM/Debit card immediately! I called my bank, USAA, and inquired about the pending transaction. They were great. In the matter of a few minutes the representative was able to determine there had been two charges – one in June and one last night. Somehow I missed the June charge. After the customer service rep and I discussed the issue for a few minutes, we determined it was most likely fraud. I was transferred to USAA’s fraud department and they handled the situation in a few minutes. Once you suspect fraud, immediately contact your bank!

Problem resolved on my end. My card was canceled, a new one was sent to me, and I was informed I would receive a credit for both charges. I asked how the situation would be handled and they informed me they do a charge back with the bank involved to collect the money.

Now to find out what my card has been used for. My curiosity got the best of me and I went back to the SoftCom site and I noticed a phone number, which I decided to call. At this point my debit card was already canceled, so what did I have to lose?

Their customer service rep asked me a few questions, and after I explained the situation, he asked for the first 2 digits of my card number and my last 2 digits to find the account being funded by the card. That didn’t narrow it down enough so I gave him the last 4 digits and he said, “OK, I’ve got your account right here. Roger Williams, right?” Wrong!

He read off the domain name and I typed it into Google. It was filled out in some Eastern European language that I am not familiar with. It obviously wasn’t mine.

The rep was really cool about the situation and said he would flag the site as fraudulent. Within minutes, the site was completely gone.

I was lucky! The entire process took about 20 minutes due to great customer service on both ends. I admit that I was lucky though. I won’t be out any money, and the thieves only made two small transactions (both in the low $20′s). Had they withdrawn more money, they probably could have made me overdraft my account. Of course, I probably would have noticed it more quickly then!

What to do when your debit card is lost or stolen

If your wallet is lost or stolen, you should immediately report it. You will lessen your losses and help prevent identity theft. Here is a story about how a stolen debit card ruined a vacation. Thankfully, Glblguy was able to make it home safely. This event lead him to write about what to do when your debit card gets stolen.

How did they get my number? I honestly have no clue. For a couple years I used my ATM/Debit card as my primary means of payment, but I rarely use it anymore. I now prefer to use cash back credit cards because of the protections they offer and the cash rewards. Just be sure to pay them off every month!


Published or updated February 26, 2011.
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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Glblguy

Thanks for the links. Looks like your thief was “smarter” than mine taking small amounts so you might not notice. Good thing you pay attention to your transactions.

My thief wasn’t as smart going on spending spree all in one day making it really obvious.

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2 Ryan

Glblguy, I think the difference was that they had your physical card and they only had the number for my card. I’m not sure how they got the number, as I rarely use the card and don’t even remember the last time I used it online.

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3 Brody

This recently happened to my wife. It actually started when her friend, K, noticed that money was missing from her account. When K called the bank, they noticed her address and asked her if she frequented a certain sports bar in the area. K told them yes and the bank informed her that they are doing an investigation of the sports bar because they have had similar charges to other members’ credit and debit cards from the same company. The sports bar being the only common link. My wife checked her card since we had all recently been to the sports bar to watch a game, and sure enough, there were similar charges on her account equaling $150. She called the bank and they took care of it immediately.

Stories like these show the importance of monitoring accounts on a frequent basis.

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4 Kristen

Ryan, Sorry to hear what happened. I’m glad you got it resolved so quickly. However, I would definitely encourage you to monitor your credit report carefully for awhile just to make sure the thief wasn’t able to glean any more information about you to open up new credit in your name.

My parents had their credit card number stolen a couple of years ago, and it was used to make overseas purchases. They are relatively certain a clerk at a local home store stole the number, but they couldn’t prove it.

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5 Ryan

Brody: Glad they caught the connection early on and hopefully they nailed the person who did it.

Kristen: great idea. I should probably check my credit report today. Sorry to hear about your parents’ card being stolen, and hopefully it was easily resolved.

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6 Ron@TheWisdomJournal

Makes me nervous just thinking about it, but I generally check my personal bank account every day, plus I have credit monitoring after having my identity stolen. It’s worth the peace of mind.

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7 No Debt Plan

Glad you got it straightened out, scary stuff man.

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8 Mrs. Micah

It’s scary to think of all the ways the number can be stolen. But it’s great that your bank helped you straighten it out without any fuss (and even better, that the thief was moderate).

Btw, just to be on the safe side, I’d check online in a week to see if my account was really credited.

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9 Ryan

Zhu, very true. I don’t know how I Missed it the first time, but I’m glad I dealt with companies who were understanding and stopped the fraud immediately after it was brought to their attention.

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10 Zhu

Taking small amounts is a very tricky thing to do because people are less likely to notice… this is why checking your account often is a smart thing to do.

Glad to see the problem was solved quickly!

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11 Shelly

Someone got a hold of my debit card number and try to make a $126 charge twice at a gas station in CA. It was both denied, but then someone made a Exxon-Mobil purchase and it is a pending transcation. Visa Fraud called me and then they put a blocked on my debit card. Afterwards I called the bank and told them the situation. They in turn send all of what was left of my money into savings and made sure that if in case of a overdraft that the savings would not cover it. Now I would like to find out how this was done, but who knows someone could had guess the number

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12 Pat Stevens

I need to use debit cards because I don’t qualify for credit cards. besides, I’m unemployed and I don’t feel like paying high interest charges.

I have a Mastercard and Visa debit card that my banks issue.

ok, bye

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