To Whomever Stole My Debit Card

By glblguy


To: Whomever Stole My Debit Card:

I am not sure who you are, but I thought I would take a minute to write to you and let you know the negative impact you had on my life over the weekend.

Sometime after I visited Walgreens on Thursday, you found my debit card and obviously decided to take the opportunity to use it, not just once, not just twice, but at least 10 different times before I realized it was missing.

It would seem you decided to first spend $150.00 purchasing Halloween items at Party City and then went next door to Target and spent another $62.00. As far as I can tell, that was it for the day. I did lose my card late in the evening, so that probably explains why you didn’t spend more.

The next day, you decided to purchase some groceries totaling $74.34 and then filled your gas tank up costing me another $60.00. After all of this spending, you must have been hungry since you went to Olive Garden and got dinner for $46.99. Seems you either drive a lot or you have another car that was also out of gas, as you spent another $50.00 (in two $25.00 transactions). Given you did the two $25.00 gas purchases, you must have been thinking I might be close to running out of funds. You were right. Of course that didn’t stop you, as you tried to purchase at least 9 more things which caused my bank to charge me $280.00 in NSF fees and caused my account to go way negative.

Total Damage you caused to my checking account? $877.35

It took me until Friday evening around 6:00pm to realize I didn’t have my card. Of course I foolishly thought I had just left it at home and didn’t notice the damage to my account until around noon on Saturday while trying to buy some food for my family. That’s only the beginning though. Let me explain…

We decided to take off for a long weekend. This was the first vacation we’ve had in more than a year. My wife and kids headed to the mountains on Friday around noon. I got tied up at work, and couldn’t leave until around 4:30pm. I payed all of our due bills and made sure we had about $500.00 in our checking account for the weekend before I left. We had planned to visit a mountain top amusement park and a mountain train ride while there.
On the way up, I stopped to get dinner around 6:30pm and when I went to pay, I realized my debit card was missing. I incorrectly assumed I had just left it at home. We have two checking accounts (one our primary and one for our groceries) so I used the grocery account to pay for my meal. We don’t normally keep much in our grocery account, so after my meal I checked the account balance real quick, and I’m glad I did. Our primary account available balance was lower than I expected. I should have reacted, but just thought maybe I made a mistake or that maybe my wife had needed to buy some things for our trip. I then transferred some money over from our emergency fund just in case.

The next morning (Saturday) we needed to purchase some groceries and headed to the closest grocery store. I am not sure why, but I decided to check our account balance again, and it was negative, $300.00 negative to be exact. I immediately called the bank.

The bank’s fraud department noticed your activity pretty quickly once I called and blocked the card and opened a fraud case. They even provisionally credited me for the transactions that had cleared so far so I would have some money. We were able to buy our groceries. I thought that was all you had charged, I was wrong. We enjoyed the weekend, even though due to lack of cash we decided to not visit the amusement park or train ride we had planned. Our children were pretty disappointed.

On Monday, we were going to go site seeing, and while backing out of our lot, our Durango’s rear tire slipped into a ditch. We were stuck. $65.00 for a tow truck and a few hours later we were unstuck and completely out of cash. No big concern though as we were heading out the next morning anyway.

We packed up on Tuesday morning and headed home, only to find out while trying to purchase gas that we again had a negative balance on our account. Fortunately we had enough gas to make it home, but just barely.

Upon returning home, I checked online banking and realized further transactions had cleared on our account along with a ton of overdraft fees. I again called the bank’s fraud department and they added the additional transactions to the case and credited me the funds along with refunding the overdraft fees.

I just wanted you to know the difficulty you caused me over what I had hoped would be a wonderful weekend for my family. We needed this vacation, and frankly deserved some quality time together after the crazy year we’ve had.

In your selfishness, and lack of concern for others, you ruined it. You are a thief, and in my opinion pure scum. I am working closely with my bank, and fully intend to prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law.

Hope to meet you soon,

The Glblguy


Has this ever happened to any of you? How do you keep your emergency funds more liquid? ING Direct takes 1-3 days to transfer money, in this case, I needed it sooner. Do you bring extra cash on your trips? Wishing now I had done this. I even considered carrying a credit card again…

Special thanks to the Wachovia Fraud department for their legitimate concern for my family and I. Their quick and responsive handling of the problem made a difficult situation much easier.

88 Responses (including trackbacks) to “To Whomever Stole My Debit Card”

  1. paidtwice Says:

    Oh glblguy…. that sucks. So much. :( :( :(

    I am so mad at that person right now I could spit. Ugh. I’m sorry it messed up your vacation. Ugh. :(

  2. Amanda D Says:

    I’m sorry that happened to you! I *NEVER* use my debit card for this reason. I’m too paranoid about something happening to my account. I use a credit card and pay it off every month, which provides better consumer fraud protections.

    Although slightly paranoid, it’s probably good idea to keep at least a few hundred dollars of your efund in cash in your house (in a lock box or fire proof safe). You can never predict when an act of terrorism or mother nature will crash the whole electronic financial market, disabling debit cards and credit cards for a period of time.

  3. Chris Says:

    You can get an Electric Orange checking account with ING. They provide a debit card which you could keep in a drawer somewhere for emergencies only. You have to transfer from savings to checking online, but at least you can get to your money instantly.

  4. Lynnae @ Being Frugal Says:

    I am so sorry this happened. I hope you can find this guy and prosecute him.

    This has never happened to me, for which I’m thankful. You have me thinking, though. Our EF is in an ING account, too. We need to fix that, I guess.

  5. BuildAndSucceed Says:

    That’s terrible. I’m glad the bank is taking care of it for you and not giving you a difficult time (even though it’s obvious what happened). I guess they are usually good about that kind of thing.

    As Amanda mentioned, that’s one of the reasons I use my credit card for almost every purchase (besides accumulating reward points as well)

  6. Randy Peterman Says:

    Wow, that’s stunningly bad. Please tell us that you were able to sleep on your vacation :) I know I would have lost sleep.

  7. Elizabeth Says:

    glblguy —

    I’m so sorry this happened to you. Thankfully I’ve never been the victim of this type of theft. In fact I had quite the opposite experience — I dropped my credit card in the grocery store parking lot. I noticed the next morning that it was missing but thought my daughter might have it as she’d been shopping with me and she swiped it (it’s both credit card and Rewards membership card). I called the grocery store on the wild hope that I’d left it there and was informed that someone had turned it in at the service desk. From the marks on it, it had obviously been run over in the parking lot. I was lucky; my card fell into honest hands.

    Last summer I was witness to a smash-and-grab theft in a sports park parking lot. I was on the phone with the police before the thief left the parking lot with a description of the vehicle. The police were on the scene quickly and able to locate the victim quickly. She called her bank immediately but the thief had aleady used the card to buy gas. I never heard anything after that but it was a rattling experience — as I’m sure yours was.
    I can’t even imagine the stress and heartache this thief has caused you and your family. The thought of the devastation that such lawlessness and callousness cause makes my blood boil.

  8. plonkee Says:

    This is why I have an emergency credit card when I travel. I keep it in a different place to my wallet so if that gets stolen, I’m not completely out of pocket.

    I’m sorry that this meant you couldn’t enjoy your vacation as much as you wanted to and that your children were disappointed. Hopefully you’ll all have more successful vacations in the future.

  9. Gina Says:

    Oh GBLBL guy, so sorry to hear about what happened. And kudos to Watch-Oh-Va-Ya (that is what we used to call them when the bank first started). I feel the worst for you and the wife that you had 6 disappointed kids on your hands. That is almost as hard as knowing someone is purposefully taking advantage of you.

    Just in case … Be sure to contact the 3 credit reporting agencies: Experian, Trans Union, Equifax and put a fraud alert on your credit reports. Can’t hurt.

  10. glblguy Says:

    Thanks for all of your thoughts and encouraging comments. It was a bit hectic, but Wachovia really made me feel a whole lot better about it. It was just really disappointing that someone would do something like this to another person.

    Thanks for all of the suggestions too. After a great deal of thought on this today and after reading all of your comments I am definitely going to set-up an ING Electric Orange Checking and keep the ATM/Debit card for emergencies. As for a credit card, I need to think on that some, as I’m not sure I feel real comfortable going there yet at least for me personally.

    Thanks again for all of your concern, thoughts and suggestions

  11. glblguy Says:

    @Gina – Hadn’t thought about that…good advice, thanks!

  12. Mrs. Micah Says:

    All those mouths, too. I’m glad you’re able to put food on the table despite all the awfulness that’s happening.

    This is probably why, in Hebrew law, people had to repay several times what they stole–built in compensation for pain, suffering, annoyance, frustration, and all the negative consequences of a theft. Better system, I think, than one which doesn’t get you the money back–hope you get it, though!

  13. Tim C Says:

    Being from Canada, I found this interesting. In Canada, a found debit card is worthless without knowing the PIN number, all debit transactions require a PIN number. Credit cards, however, require only a signature.

  14. Laura Says:

    I’m sorry that your weekend got ruined by a selfish thief. I hope you do catch him and are able to prosecute him/her. It is my fear that you’re not his only victim.

    I’m glad that Wachovia is working with you and your family is in my prayers. I hope that this doesn’t excessive rob you of your peace of mind. Take care!

  15. glblguy Says:

    @Tim – Hi Tim. Fellow M-Network blogger plonkee said it’s the same in the UK. Not here though, and it would seem none of the merchants verified the signatures like they should.

    @Laura – Thanks Laura, I hope they catch them too. Peace of mind is fine. Honestly I never lost that, as I knew I had money in savings. Just made me really mad that that human would do that to another.

  16. Pinyo Says:

    I am sorry Glblguy. Lousy things seem to always happen to good people. I hope you do get this guy (gal?) just to teach him a lesson.

    As far as PIN verification goes, could you possibly present your point to Target and other merchants about how important it is to help protect the consumer?

  17. Lazy Man and Money Says:

    While this is horrible, horrible, horrible, it sounds like you almost ran out of funds getting stranded in the process. I don’t know if you carry a credit card, but this is a good reason to have one.

  18. glblguy Says:

    @Pinyo – Planning on doing that. Thanks Pinyo.

    @Lazy Man – Had the funds, just not in a place I could quickly get to them. So yes, in that regard you’re right. I don’t carry a credit card, but you’re right, might be a good reason to consider having one. I am seriously considering it, just not sure I’m ready to make that leap yet. Thanks for dropping by!

  19. Marchie March Says:

    Sorry for your troubles – I hope you get all your money back. If I wear you, I’d request an investigation. Im sure the stores that the cards were used had cameras. They can simply trace the time when the cards where used and from which cashier it was used on. Match the time between the purchase and the surveilance video and you should have a case. Please post that *bleep* picture all over the internet! I will give you all the bandwidth you need.

  20. glblguy Says:

    Marchie March – As of later today, hey fully refunded all of my money. The bank is sending me an affidavit to sign and then will begin an investigation. I hope they find them as well. Thanks for the bandwidth ;-)

  21. Erin Says:

    I was just cruising along in google reader and thought I’d take a peek and see if you were back from vacation. I was NOT expecting to see this. I am so incredibly sorry, I truly hope they find this person.
    Supposedly Target has an incredible theft prevention/loss department that might be able to find the video of the thief.
    I’m so sorry :(

  22. GradGirl Says:

    Oh, that’s terrible! I have had this happen to me, too–twice, actually. And my family members have, too. Both time, thank goodness, my bank caught it, stopped it and let me know. Once it was a computer hacker in Europe and the other time unknown. I didn’t lose any money, and it wasn’t just before/during a trip, like your situation was, but it still stunk.

    It’s hard to understand how someone could do something like this. Glad your bank is so helpful, though.

  23. Steven Aitchison Says:

    Couldn’t help but feel the anger you felt in this story. I hope they catch the person who has done this.

  24. Plutark Says:

    That’s the problem in USA, you don’t have a pin number system on your debit card, which means that if someone stole your card they can use it anywhere. Why don’t you have the pin number system? beacause it’s an european company who have the patent and the American government do not want an European Company having this technology. Such a shame when you see it could have saved your weekend. Good luck for your problem and hope they will catch the guy who did that to you.

  25. glblguy Says:

    @Erin – Thanks Erin!

    @Steven – I was pretty angry. Moved past that though, just really disappointed now. I just can’t believe someone would do something like this.

    @Plutark – Well, we have a PIN system, we just have the option to not use it. Thanks for the comment, and I hope they catch them too!

  26. rina Says:

    This makes me so angry! It amazes me how people don’t realize the difference between right and wrong….or worse, knowing that what they are doing wrong they proceed to do it anyway.

    I had a friend when I was in high school that once found a credit card at a store. Obviously someone had dropped it. Instead of trying to find a way to return it, they went home (where I was with another friend) and proceeded to laugh about it and were talking about what they would do with their “new-found wealth”….about the PlayStation they would buy, and other junk. It makes my blood curdle just thinking about it. I never looked at that “friend” in the same way again. I’m not sure what they finally did with the card, but I gave him a piece of my mind and I hope he did the right thing.

    Good luck with your case, I hope they catch them!

  27. lynn Says:

    I had a similar experience last year. I did not have overdraft protection so the person who stole my debit card number could only spend the amount of money I had in my account and not any more from overdraft. I was able to find out right away that I had no money left in my account when I first tried to use my debit card that day. When I finally cleared everything up with the bank and opened a new account I decided not to have overdraft protection in the event that this happened again. If you can keep at least $50 in your account it really is worth it not to have the overdraft protection.

  28. vh Says:

    What a terrible story! This is exactly the reason I never carry a debit card, refuse to let the credit union issue one, and if one of my financial institutions sends me one uninvited, I cut it up. With a credit card, you’re liable for only $50; a thief who steals your debit card can clean out your checking account and eat up all your overdraft protection, and if you haven’t missed the card before the crook is done cleaning you out, you have no recourse.

    I can’t imagine carrying around something that’s not even protected by a PIN. It’s inexcusable that financial institutions issue such an instrument.

  29. glblguy Says:

    @rina – I’m sure they knew, just didn’t care. It amazes me how people will take advantage of others. Thanks for your comment.

    @lynn – I don’t have overdraft protection. Got rid of that a long time ago. It went that far negative due to charges that cleared via Visa (They had my card not my pin) and due to overdraft fees. When using a debit card like a Visa, it doesn’t check your balance, but allows the transaction anyway and causes your account to post negative once it clears.

    @vh – Until this past weekend, I would have completely disagreed with you. But now, I think you surface a very legit perspective and concern.

    Thanks for all of your great comments and shared stories!

  30. Patrick Says:

    Glblguy, I am very sorry to hear about this. I got a little mad reading it. I really hope they catch the thief who used your card. I will agree with the other recommendations – either having an emergency backup account, or a credit card for emergency use. Credit cards also have a few more fraud protections than debit cards. I hope this gets resolved quickly.

  31. Writers Coin Says:

    Hey let us know if you end up catching the person. How do these cases proceed from here?

  32. glblguy Says:

    @Patrick – Thanks, seems it makes a lot of people mad in addition to me :-) Working on the emergency back-up now. Created an ING Electric Orange Checking Account this morning.

    @Writers Coin – Sure will. Bank is waiting on a signed affidavit from me, and will start the investigation process. Not sure on the details of that yet, but I’m sure I’ll find out more soon. I’ll make sure I post updates.

  33. Ann Says:

    Something similar happened to me two years ago, and Wachovia was also very helpful in that situation. Mine was a case of stolen card/PIN numbers and not a lost card, so it was much easier to prove fraud when my entire checking account was cleared out in ATMs in Florida…when I live in New York! Wachovia was such a blessing, they did an investigation and immediately reimbursed me for everything that was stolen. It was a pain to deal with, but the people were nice so that helped. I still have a debit card, but I try to use it as little as possible. I’m pretty much on a cash basis now, with a credit card for backup.

  34. rstlne Says:

    Hi, I got here through a link in The Simpler Dollar. I’m sorry that your debit card got stolen. I don’t know of a good solution to that problem other than to have a credit card. I usually bring cash on road trips myself.

  35. Rachel Says:

    yeah that really stuck sometimes people just suck as for what to do on vacation I always take some money with me in travelers checks

  36. Amy Says:

    So between you and your wife you only have two linked debit cards? That’s your only electronic option of paying? I’m only a poor college student but I’ve always felt it was a good idea to have more than one card just in case. Even when I go buy groceries, I always take both cards with me just in case I can’t use one for some reason. Also, if you had a credit card you would have been able to spend money on your family (that you were planning on spending)instead of disappointing them.

  37. glblguy Says:

    Hi Amy, thanks for visiting. So you carry multiple debit cards for the same accounts? I don’t have or use credit cards. I am working diligently to get out of credit card debt right now, so I think a credit card is really the last thing I need. Guess I hadn’t planned on someone spending all of my money.

  38. Amy Says:

    No, glblguy, I have two debit cards for accounts at two different banks. One is more convenient for me to use for purchases (my dad has an account with the same bank, so it’s easy and free for him to transfer money to me) and ATMs, the other has a savings account with a great interest rate. The other plus of having two banks is sometimes if I really need cash I don’t have to go way out of my way just to find my specific bank. I can transfer that money at a later time when it’s more convenient.

  39. Matt Says:

    I found a checkbook on the train the other day with only a P.O. Box address on it and no phone number. I mailed it to them when I got off the train.

    It has happened to me before when I’ve lost my debit card and I’ve had people ring up hundreds of dollars on my lost debit card(thanks for leaving me stranded without enough gas to get to school that costs me a ridiculous amount of money.)

    I’ve seen the bad and the good of lost money and cards, from both sides.

    I prefer to be on the good side because that’s what I would want someone to do for me. Also, I have no desire to steal your money, commit a crime or worry about going to jail.

  40. Dayvid Says:

    Sorry to hear about your troubles. I had a similar experience back in March when someone somehow got my debit card number and then used it to order $600 worth of merchandise online from Victoria’s Secret. (Seriously, who buys $600 worth of underwear?) I was furious for the entire day. Luckily, the transaction was still pending and I was able to cancel it with VS, though the thief had requested overnight shipping. I bank with USAA and they were exceptionally helpful as well. Unfortunately, this occured at the beginning of the month and I had already mailed my rent check. I had to explain to the landlord that he shouldn’t deposit the check until I got things cleared up with the bank. He was understanding, but it was embarrassing nonetheless.

  41. Randy Peterman Says:

    @Dayvid, if you’ve ever been into Victoria’s secret, you know it wasn’t underwear and that could have been just six different pieces… but, um, that’s possibly too much information. So we’ll move on.

    I had a friend just shoot me a message recently that went through the same thing just 24 hours after reading this post. Crazy.

  42. Ryan Healy Says:

    Wow, that is really something else. Sorry to hear about your situation.

    I recently took a trip and accidentally left my debit card in an ATM machine. I realized it the next morning and called my bank immediately to cancel the card.

    It forced me to use a credit card for the remainder of my trip. Fortunately, nobody ever charged anything to my debit card.

  43. Emma Says:

    My experience is with checks. I ordered new checks for my checking account. I went on a business during the period when the checks were suppose to arrive (my boyfriend usually get home around 5pm after work). Apparenly some time between 3-5pm someone only took th box of checks from the mailbox. When I got back, I checked my account over the phone and realized that $1,800 has been debited from my account! All I can say is the credit union was wonderful in helping me clear this up. The first thing they did was close my account and stop all payment on the checks. I had to fill our all kinds of paperwork and file a police report. When I got copies of the cleared check, it was obvious that the person spending the money was not me. The signature did not match, sometimes the another name was added on top of mine on the address line, and the drivers license number that the store clerk sometimes write down was wrong. Then, the collections letter from the merchants start coming in since my bank did not honor any of those checks. I had to write letters to all this collection companies letting them know that I was not the one writing bad checks and mailing off copies of the police report to them. Sometimes it takes 3 letters for them to finally stop harassing me about the payment. It took 6 months before I finally stopped getting collections letters. Needless to say, I have my new checks deliver to the branch of my credit union and pick it up there from now on.

  44. Bill Says:

    Your experience shows why, as a former (reformed?) banker, I’d never use a debit card.

    Debit cards are for the convenience of the bank, not the consumer.

    Nothing stops a bank from requiring you to submit a written affidavit before they credit your drained account (while it generates “non-sufficient funds” fees for the bank as legitimate charges, such as outstanding checks, hit the account)

    If you are worried about the temptation, get a very low limit credit card (e.g. $500 credit limit)

  45. glblguy Says:

    Thanks again everyone for your stories. Hopefully by sharing what happened to each of us, it will make others more aware and help them be more careful.

  46. N'Awlins Kat Says:

    Glblguy, sorry to hear about your troubles. Eeek. My only foray into debit cards was when my husband and I decided to each have a “mad money” account, instead of just the joint account, to use for internet purchases. The VERY first time we went to use the card to order a printer, it was somehow debited twice–generated orders for two printers, which we learned when we got two confirmations with separate order numbers. Seems a system crash generated the problem. On a weekend. With the company’s business office closed and no way to stop payment or cancel the second order, or let our bank know what was going to happen. We had to wait till both shipped, then ship one back to be reimbursed. Naturally, the second (accidental) transaction bounced, as well. My bank got it straightened out; waived the fees when we moved money from another account to cover the shortfall and explained what happened. But it made a believer out of me. Never used that vendor or the debit cards again.

    Also, there’ve just been too many holdups at ATM machines and inside banks lately for me to feel comfortable with anything but the drive-thru, and I do like the paper trail of checks, being rather obsessive about paperwork.

    For emergencies, though, even though we do have credit cards, I also keep about $500 in series I savings bonds that I could cash if needed, say, if we’re out of town suddenly. I have a record of the serial numbers, along with the rest of the bonds, in a safe (actually, redundant lists of serial numbers), but the 5 $100 bonds stay in my go-box, in case we need to leave suddenly again. A little safer than just keeping a large amount of cash, though during hurricane season, I also keep a minimum of $500 in cash on hand, just in case. Other times of the year, not so much. It took quite a while to accumulate that stash, along with the “hidden” balance in my checking account (anywhere from $300 to $2000, depending on circumstances), but it makes me feel more secure.

    Re identity theft: several years ago, we went out of town for 10 days; on our return there was a huge stack of mail to go through. I went wild with the letter opener; slashed open something from Discover (congratulations, Melissa Ann Andre, here’s your new Discover card!). Only problem….I’m not Melissa, and she doesn’t live at this address. A little research on my part determined she didn’t seem to exist at all. Oops! I contacted the Postmaster, told them I’d accidentally opened this piece of mail, and told them I was contacting Discover. Called the sheriff’s office, too. Neither seemed particularly exercised by it, in spite of the fact that I know EXACTLY who has lived at this address from the day the house was built. Hmmm. Called Discover, asked for their fraud dept, told THEM what happened, and they rather nastily threatened to report ME to the feds for “tampering with someone else’s mail.” Uhhh….it was an accident, and I thought they’d like to know someone seemed to be using my address to commit fraud. The wouldn’t cancel the account, either. We agreed to disagree; I told them to quit sending stuff here. Ten years later, I STILL get stuff for this alleged person, and naturally Discover sold their lists, so now the credit card offers come from multiple sources. Oyyyyy. It’ll probably never get straightened out. Meanwhile, after their attitude, I cut up my own Discover card—no more business for them! Fortunately, no bill collectors have ever showed up for her. Go figure!

    Hope you get everything straightened out quickly. It seems these days the onus is on the victim to prove they’re the wronged party, and the crooks get off scott-free. Or maybe I’m a cynic.

  47. N'Awlins Kat Says:

    Ugggh. Wrote a book, didn’t I? Sorry!

  48. Sue M. Says:

    Glad it all worked out for you.

    I, too, am paranoid about this problem. How I deal with my debit card is it comes from a different bank and different account. Only I have access to my main accounts, and I put money to the debit card as I need it. It is not my savings or checking account. I do not use it for my regular debt payment, I use my credit union’s online bill pay for free instead, which is my main account.

    I agree…no more credit cards. I, too, am on a money diet, and would greatly suffer if there were any miscellaneous subtractions to the amount that I did not authorize.

    Keep us posted on the “alleged” thief’s incarceration, if you can.

    Good luck in your financial endeavors!

  49. Justin Says:

    This is exactly one of the scenarios I am pretty sure we hashed out earlier. It’s scary how easily you can lose access to your own money in these situations and why I advocate using a credit card.

    I hope you get all your money back and recovery doesn’t take too long or cause too many problems. Have you checked to see if all your checks that may be out there have enough money to clear?

  50. glblguy Says:

    Hey Justin. I’ve been waiting for you to make me eat crow on this one…Have any salt and pepper? Heard crow tastes a little better that way ;-)

    I actually have my money back, and just waiting on Fraud at this point to give me an updates on their investigation.

  51. glblguy Says:

    @N’Awlins Kat – No problem, thanks for sharing all of your “lessons learned” with us!

  52. Justin Says:

    That did sound a bit like an I told you so, didn’t it. It wasn’t intentional in case you were wondering.

    I had something sort of similar happen several years ago when a direct deposit was supposed to go in but didn’t and I had to fight the bad transaction fees that were associated with that, and know I don’t want that hassle again if I can avoid it.

  53. glblguy Says:

    @Justin – No it didn’t…just funny because when I realized what had happened, I told my wife that a frequent commenter on my blog was recently telling me about the risks of something like this :-)

    Didn’t think it was intentional at all.

  54. John F. Says:

    I’ve had this happen and the debit card itself never left our hands. We think it was someone who swiped the strip into a card reader (waiter, maybe) and then had a new card made.

    This is actually VERY common. Search “skimming credit cards” on Huge risk. Especially in big cities, USA included.

    We were out over $2,500 before noticed anything. And charges kept rolling in for a few days after we reported it. Our bank also covered the lost funds. That was great.

    But the big hassle was then (a) getting new cards and (b) now having every transaction that posted to the account, ours included, be suspect.

    We travel a lot. And were overseas for a prolonged time when the problems happened. So, suddenly, we were cashless.

    Really terrible, the people who do this. Sorry your experience ruined your vacation with the kids (that would really make me furious), but I’m glad to hear it seems to be working out now.

  55. glblguy Says:

    Hi John, thanks for the comment. Learning that this occurs pretty frequently. Can’t imagine being overseas, that must have been crazy…and $2,500…WOW!

  56. Justin Says:

    I imagine the 2 day window to notify your bank could really hurt if you are overseas and can’t get through to your bank.

  57. Free From Broke Says:

    Man, that’s a tough story. Sorry to hear you went through so much. Many years ago I had a number of charges on my debit card. This was at a time when I was living paycheck to paycheck. Not sure how they got my account # but it hurt. I ended up getting the money back but I was still left feeling vulnerable. I wouldn’t use a debit card for purchases for at least another five years. By this time you could use them as credit cards. I still won’t make a debit transaction. Great post though. The person who used your card will probably never see it but maybe there’s someone out there who will that will think twice before committing fraud.

  58. glblguy Says:

    Free From Broke – It was pretty painful, but a good lesson. I’m still working with the bank. Plan to update everyone on the status after the first of the year. Thanks for the comment!

  59. Justin Says:

    @Gilbert: A credit card far and away is the better choice, assuming you can pay it off in full each month. It is required by law to offer all the protections it does, debit cards only do so by the grace of the issuing bank. Also, as you point out, money taken from a debit card is you money immediately gone, a credit card is not the same in that regard. You won’t bounce a rent or mortgage payment because your credit card was stolen, for example.

  60. glblguy Says:

    Justin, removed Gilbert’s comment. It was SPAM.

  61. pete @ biblemoneymatters Says:

    i had my paypal account hacked at one point, I still don’t know how. They transfered about $800 from my checking account. I noticed right away, and paypal reversed the transaction, and I only lost the money for a short period (day or two) of time. Very scary to have something like this happen though.

  62. v2the4 Says:

    Im sorry to hear about you losing your debit card, and Im glad your bank was able to get all of the fees back to you, overdrafts and all.

    I had a situation similiar to that a few ago..I stopped by a Valero store to use the ATM. I withdrew $300.00, got my receipt, but didnt get my card, which was left in the machine. I realized about three hours later that my card was missing. I checked the bank of america website, and it appeared that $200.00 was taking out of my account less than a minute later.

    I called the bank, explained what happened, and they cancelled the card immediately and gave me a provisional credit for the $200.00. Nothing else went through on the card.

    Additionally, about a month ago, i was at work on a saturday and went into the parking garage to get some fresh air and to wake up a bit, since I work 12 hour shifts…going down the stairs, I found a wallet with everything scattered about….4 credit cards, 2 debit cards, a gas card, grocery store cards, drivers license and misc things. There was $44.00 in cash also. I was able to find the persons work number by looking him up on the business directory for the building because he had a business card in his wallet. He was a lawyer. I left him a message that I found his wallet, and to call me so he can pick it up.

    needless to say, the guy didnt call me back until monday afternoon, and since I was off work, i told him I would drop his wallet off on the next day when I in the area. I dropped his wallet off to his secretary, who didnt even know I was coming with the guys wallet, and the lawyer didnt even bother to call me back and say thanks or give me anything….if I was a thief, I could have caused that guy a tremendous headache by running up his amex, bankofAmerican card and anything else….but Im a nice guy!!!

  63. Going Gazelle Says:

    This has to be one of the best posts I’ve read.

    Bummmer about your kids vacation man. That really stinks.

    First off. Kudos to Wachovia. Their response really shocked me.

    I’m an FPU coordinator. One of my small group leaders is a detective that does 100% of the ID theft investigations for their district. He swears up and down 99% of all banks do not have a heart when it comes to cleaning up debit card theft. They only follow federal law and Visa policy. The fact they are stealing a card issuer’s money – not your money makes the credit card folks work 10 times harder to clean up the mess when this happens. If you read Visa’s policy they get 7 to 10 days to put the money back…. Yeah great if you can wait that long. Visa’s zero protection policy is NOT Federal Law – and they can change that in 15 days notice at any time.

    This is my wife’s biggest fear about the debit only deal. And why she still holds on to the card from college….

    We use a brick and mortar bank for depositing checks, coins and cash. Then we use an eBank for everything else. Virtual savings accts. Checking, debit, FFEF, etc.

    The brick and mortar bank has under $200 for a mini EF.

    The eBank has two checking accts with two debit cards. So we each have a redundant debit card if we loose one. That bank has the FFEF as well. Moving cash over takes a nano-second. Forget the three day cooling off period with wiring new funds to the bank.

    Moral of the story. Never keep all your cash at once access point.

    I’ve come to the conclusion. Credit card companies are bad. Debit cards are just plain evil. They offer way more to the banks than the consumer.

  64. K Says:

    Hi im really sorry to hear yet another theft story.
    1 month ago me and my partner had all of our saveings stolen through debit card id theft.
    which was about £6000
    this may not be alot of money to some people but to us we had worked hard for this.
    so thanks to yet another scumbag me and my partner can not take our 1 year old son on our 1st holiday all together and could not buy the new car we was saveing for.(we were also saveing to get married, will have to wait now :( )
    But apart from the nice luxuarys we wanted to get we couldnt even pay our rent!
    so back to square 1 of saveing i just hope they catch these people so we can get our money back. i dont hold out much hope tho :(

    These scumbags do not understand the devestation the cause they just take peoples money and have a jolly.

    any way im done with my moaning i guess we all just have to get on with things now.

  65. Steffen Says:

    The bastards who stole my debit card just now managed to spend 250 british pounds ( = $500 . I live in London) within 4 minutes of stealing it from me.. FOUR F*CKING MINUTES.. not bad.. Luckily I cancelled the card – I don’t even want to know how much they’d be able to steal had I not cancelled it within 4 minutes! I’m sooooo mad!

  66. Mary Says:

    Did you find the person who did it? I just had my debit card (not stolen) but someone found it after i lost my wallet and used it.
    They only took 250 something. I was more bumbed than mad. Had a really crappy week and this just added to it.

  67. ridingthebullet Says:

    I’m wondering…I had my debit card stolen a few days ago. Someone tried to rack up $700 worth of groceries, but gave up when asked for the signature. So my card was never charged the $700, but the police were called. Do you think they’ll persue it? I just wonder because this must happen almost every minute of every day, is there any way they could catch all of these jerks? Even the ones that don’t go through with it?

    I also work at a theatre where someone has rung up obscene amounts on gift cards and then tried to refund them for cash. It’s our policy to only refund it back to the card originally used, so they never get the cash from us, but should I report it to the police? Or will they just see it as a waste of their time? I don’t have the person’s name or anything. I don’t even have the whole card number. But we would have a security video of the person who came to refund them….

    I just hate the idea of these people getting away with it ’cause their plans were foiled. They intended to do it.

  68. Mary Says:

    Did you catch the person??

  69. me Says:

    O my gosh did you catch them?

  70. matt Says:

    I lost $9550 from my checking account. someone stole my information and used it in purchasing a lot of valuable things. the hard part was i have gone overdrawn for $4000. I lost nearly $10,000 from my account. It took me days before finding out that my account was being used by some fraud, my bank has not returned the money or by any chance for it to happen.

    I am simple person, my paycheck that goes directly to my checking account every week stays in my account. I am not a spender, so I have enough money from my checking account that has been drained by some fraud. It is hardship for me until now, I want to save money that I don’t spend unless it’s for important things such as paying bills, and food. I don’t even have a car so I don’t need to spend for gas. I always walk going to work, and walk going back home.

    It feels terrible having all your hardship and sacrifices be drained by others. I never even have a credit card so I don’t have anything to pay for any purchases. I use debit card all the time, since you are spending your own money and by not owing anyone.

    This has caused nightmares. I know I am not going to have my money back. I just want to think and believe that the person who took my life away, that person could need the money more than I do. I know it is wrong to think that way, but somehow it’s just what I want to believe so at some point, it won’t hurt that much anymore.

    I know by not going to the police, or filing a complain won’t do any good. I guess somehow I believe that even I do, I won’t get my money back. They won’t catch the person who stole my money.

    I have learned my lesson. I closed my account, and paid for the overdrawn $4000, money I have never gotten to use. My own money.

    To whoever did this to me, I pray for your soul. I just hope that you will never do this again to others. Not everyone could be strong as me, pls do not hurt anymore. It is wrong.

  71. Laura Says:

    Just read your letter…I can sympathize with you. I recently lost my debit/credit card. I was coming out of a convience store and apparently dropped it. Whomever was behind me must have picked it up immediately. I am 61 years old with a small income (I work 40 hours a week as a custodian) this is all I have. I thought I had it in my jacket pocket…when i went to look for it that’s when I discovered it was gone. This was some 9 hours later and the weekend. After reporting the card to the bank…I went on-line discovered the card had been used already…$100 was gone from my account. Unfortunetly for me it was the beginning of the month and I had paid my bills…my account no. had to be changed and all my creditors had to be notified. It was really scary when the bank informed me it my take 2-3 weeks before I would be refunded and more charges were coming in….I am still recovering…I prayed that this person choked on the dinner they had curtesy of my me…just to let them know I also had to ask my daughter for help in getting the medicine I needed!! If my some chance they read this…I hope they feel real good. I doubt that…hope they get caught at this and spend many years in jail!!!

  72. cindy Says:

    I had this just happen to me as, well :( I have caught her and She will be going to court soon.

  73. steve Says:

    Why are you posting this on here? Yeah that is a sad story and it sucks but the guy isn’t going to be on this site and happen to read this by coincidence

  74. steve Says:

    Oh and I think you should have an easy time finding him. By looking at the time he purchased everything and the location and if the store has cameras you can just look at the time he purchased it and see his face, license plate etc

  75. dawn Says:

    Wow……I take some solace in seeing am I not nearly alone.

    Word to the wise… bank (WF) informed me that the way I just had 1k stolen from my account was that the criminals/thieves skimmed my debit card number AND pin from their own ATM while I made a deposit of checks…!!!!! :O
    I cannot believe this goes on in broad daylight…with cameras watching.

    They very quickly refunded all my money. But we all pay in the long run. I will never use debit again.

  76. laura Says:

    so what happened …did they ever get the thief? this also happened to my best friend who is a single mum. ack! makes me sick!

  77. laura Says:

    I think what got me most about this was it happened at the worst time ever right before your holiday. It is soo similar to what happend to my best friend. However atleast now the bank is onto it..(after a bit of pressing!)
    I am blogging about her situation now…it it was similar to yours!

  78. emmabee Says:

    WOW! i am so sorry what happened, i have never had this happen to me as i am in the UK so we can to enter our pin but one time i think someone in primark or new look charged by debit card with something they wanted while i put it in the machine, i think they sneakily scanned through these items and then erased it from the receipt just before they printed it off, it was 2 items only £13.99 and £6.99 so not so much as i think most people obviously know i don’t have a lot of money, at the time it was not a bit deal really as i was on job seekers and i really don’t spend money ether as i don’t know what to buy myself, at least they had the decency to buy cheap items lol, i try to not use my card in those counter machines unless i am doing it myself in asda at the self-service machines, but honestly i don’t like the idea of what i buy showing up online as when i was on the job centre and at one of those so called “Work programme” things and going to it every 3 weeks they some how knew i was taking out money to save for living expenses while i am currently going to college, they harrased me there about it so i had to quit a month early (it’s more scary really that the banks tell these people things as if they don’t trust us). The thing is they accused me of saving for college courses, it is scary they spy on what i am even taking out but i was saving it for living expenses as it is intended for, i really like using visa debit as i can use it online too when i need to, i think you should really not consider using credit cards because of all the extra charges and plus they just dangle there in front of you to make you spend, my parents are almost out of debt through over spending on our last holiday like 5 or 6 years ago, i would honestly stick to just debit card and another account for bills, savings and food, i have a basic account and i want it to stay that way because it scares me into being responsible with my money as if i over draft it’s like £5 charge per day, i don’t yet have another account but i pull out all the money i need and i take out money i’m saving too in cash, i never keep any money in there for too long. I am 22 and i also keep myself on strict budgeting at all times, i am quite nifty with Microsoft Excel, of course i have to as i am only getting travel help from college but i still do it anyway so i know where my money is going and isn’t going to, maybe keep note of everything you spend on Excel? if you have it that is. I hope you catch the person but yeh… don’t even use your debit card on anything where your not controlling the buttons and the scanner on the other side, always use cash.