We found out a few days ago that my husband’s bank card had been cloned and used by a fraudster. We were alerted by text by our bank and took prompt action. Luckily we were changing banks, so we only had a couple hundred dollars in the account. However, it was stressful, and in the end you do feel violated.
I tried to sleep after the texts came in and my mind was racing with all these thoughts about how it’s modern day mugging, and horrible how it’s so common place and normal now. We just accept it as an inconvenience of the digital age. This made me pretty angry, and I had to use every tool in my mindfulness tool box to try too sooth myself and go to sleep (we are talking progressive relaxation, chakra music, reading, prayers). And I still didn’t go to sleep til 3AM.
After taking action with the bank the following day, I decided to research the heck out of this issue. It turned out that our card info had been stolen at the drive-through ATM of the bank itself! I mean if you can’t trust the banks to check their own machines, what hope do we have in other point of sale locations.
Tips to Ease Your Mind About Fraud
Here are some strategies I learned to help make this issue less stressful for you:
- Make sure you have text alerts setup on your online banking, so when irregularities are detected, you get info as quickly as possible. When they text you respond immediately.
- When making point of sale purchases at gas pumps, the grocery and other stores, use credit instead of debit when possible to avoid revealing your PIN. If you must use debit, then always cover your hand while putting the digits in.
- Before putting your card into the ATM slot, wiggle the card reader. If it moves at all, don’t use the ATM. Look around the machine for anything odd, cameras are often hidden in plugs, or brochure attachments on or near the machine.
- When you put the card into the slot, wiggle it a bit, this can help mess up the reader from gathering your data off the magnetic strip.
- Use smart access cards or limited pre-paid visa cards for online purchases or purchases when you are out and about. Keep limited funds on these cards, so crooks never have access to the bulk of your funds.
- Check your accounts online or on your mobile apps frequently, especially when on vacation to watch for irregular charges or ATM withdraws.
Here’s a great report on it from an ABC station in LA: