How Do You Protect Yourself From People Stealing Your ATM Information?
~ Account Info & Pins Stolen and Used to Take Your Money ~
So, I got a call from my bank yesterday (Citizens Bank) that my card had been “compromised.” They said my card was immediately cancelled and a new one was to be delivered via Fed Ex the next morning. They asked me to check my accounts, and right there in my checking was a withdrawl from an ATM machine in Boston for $500 that I did not take out. Ugh! This has never happened to be before. What should I do? Would I lose this money? How did it happen? Was it my fault?
I happened to be in Boston this past weekend for a blogging conference called Springboard. It was a great conference and almost everything was included so I rarely used my debit card. In fact, the only time I did use it was in a taxi. I talked to the people at Citizens over the phone and they said that it could be likely the incident happened because sometimes taxi cabs are known for having cameras installed in the back to be able to see you typing in your code. They recommended that I cover my hand next time to prevent that from happening. Yikes! I would have never suspected that! Maybe I am just too trusting, but that freaked me out. They said people can even take movies of you at the gas pump or grocery store with their cell phones without you knowing it and get your pin number that way. Lesson learned that I will either use credit or cover my hand when entering my pin from now on! Scary!
Well, I was so mad about the taxi situation, but after going to the bank this morning to file my claim about the stolen $500 I learned more. Apparently it could have just be a coincidence that I was in Boston this weekend and this could have happened anyway. Still scary, but maybe it was not that “accused in my mind taxi driver” anymore. That makes me feel better and I hope it was not him. The bank said a retailer here was hacked and this situation has happened to multiple people at Citizens Bank. He said I was the 4th one in this morning to file a claim for the “Boston Incident” and that many people this happened to did not even go to Boston at all. Crazy! I don’t know the exact number, but they said this is a widespread issue they will be dealing with all weekend.
Fed Ex dropped off my new card to my house as soon as I got home from the bank. The lady delivering the card told me she had over 20 new cards on her truck for people in my town alone. Scary!!! When I asked the bank how this could happen (because in my mind someone would NEED my card to take from an ATM), they said they think someone hacked in, took account numbers and pins, and then they made fake cards to use at multiple ATM machines to take out money and then got rid of the fake cards. Wow! I guess at least this would not be my fault at all.
Protecting Yourself ~ What I’ve Learned
In any case, I’ve learned a lot from the situation I’ve gone through today.
1. This can happen to anyone.
2. Protect your card and pin.
3. Cover your hand when entering your pin number.
4. Possibly use credit instead when possible.
5. Be aware of your account and withdrawl transactions.
6. Check your surroundings ~ Cameras could be where you least expect them.
I want to thank Citizens Bank for taking quick action and cancelling my card and sending a new one within 24 hours. They knew before I did of the compromising of my account and worked fast to help me. They also assured me my identity was not compromised in any way, and I will get refunded my money in 10 days.