We were having a regular Saturday. We’d just finished breakfast and were about to head out to tackle our usual weekend errands. I logged in to our bank pay a few bills online and found our checking account empty. Someone had cloned our debit card and cleared out all but a few dollars. We felt sick, shocked, and angry. We were careful with our card and only used it in shops we trusted. It wasn’t enough.
The criminal withdrew the full amount allowed by law in two separate transactions in two different counties.
We called the bank to report it, but since it was the weekend, we had to wait until Monday for a full investigation. We called Costco because it was the last place we used the debit card. Costco reps apologized and promised a full investigation. We went to the police department to report it. The officer took our report and told us we to report the second transaction to a different county because the crime occurred there. The second county tried to blow us off, and the dispatcher taking the call seemed annoyed when we explained what the officer first police department advised. When a detective called us back, he suggested that one of our children or friends took our card, used it, and returned it without our knowledge. ‘It’s almost impossible for someone to steal your money without your debit card.’
We called every creditor we’d planned to pay that week and reported the fraud. We needed extensions and unfortunately, late fees.
We did the right things and felt like no one cared or wanted to help. Thankfully, we were not alone. Several customers were robbed that same week and the bank responded with a quickness. The bank returned our money, but the criminals are still at large.
We cannot always prevent fraud, but we can take steps to protect ourselves and at least recover our lost funds.
- Check your accounts often
- Do not use your debit card at an ATM or at checkout if the scanner does not look right
- If fraud is discovered, report it immediately. Call your bank and the police.
- Do not let the person your report the incident to brush you off. You are a victim and deserve full cooperation.