Thieves of today are slick.
They know how to trick you even when you take precautions.
They rob you of freedom.
The thieves of today can devise plans to take money from your bank account.
I met the thieves of today. Not in person but close enough to feel the pain they inflicted on me. I had my debit card personal identification number (PIN) stolen.
The thieves are so clever. They use ATM skimmers- devices added to the front of gas pumps. The device reads and stores the card number and PIN, then recreates cards to take money out of bank accounts.
Details of my story:
They withdrew $600 on a Thursday night in September 2018. Friday morning, I got a text asking if I had made the withdrawal. I did not respond immediately since I wasn’t sure if the text was legitimate. I called the bank later that afternoon to find out if it was really my bank reaching out to me. In that time, the thieves had made two additional withdrawals and the grand total was $2,000 stolen from my account. The bank hadn’t stopped any of the withdrawals.
When I talked to the bank representative we agreed to close my debit card immediately. I issued a dispute and was told it would be 1-3 days before a decision was made.
A few days passed and I wasn’t worried at all. My bank had always been responsive and acted in good faith. I was confident the dispute would be decided in my favor.
I was wrong…. very wrong.
In fact, not only did they deny my claim but they accused me of lying. They said I had responded to the text on that Thursday indicating it was an accurate charge. They said the city of the withdrawal was close enough to me so it made sense. They said it was me because I should have been checking my account and if it wasn’t me, then did it take me so long to call? I gave my reasons, but in the end, the dispute was denied.
I then asked to speak to a supervisor because I couldn’t have just lost $2,000 of my own money. The supervisor looked into it and noticed the ATM was at their bank (my saving grace). They watched the footage recorded by the cameras and saw it wasn’t me at the ATM that night. I was given my money back.
I learned a lot of lessons from this experience. Some of my solutions to not let this happen to you are:
Use your debit card as credit to avoid using your PIN.
If your PIN is ever compromised, call the bank immediately to cancel your card.
Protect your PIN and don’t give it out to anyone, even family members.
There is good news! The chances of this happening will be reduced by late 2020 because gas pumps will be required to use EMV chip technology.
Until then, stay safe my friends. Protect yourselves from the thieves of today.
“The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.” - Desmond Tutu