Thursday, April 19, 2012

Sparky's Been Hacked!

Things were going along pretty normally today...we packed up and headed over to Camping World to get our new bed put in....Since we were going to be there for a few hours, Sparky pulled out her beach chair and sat outside under the shade of a big ole tree, and knitted for awhile...

Until the phone call came.....An automated call from Wells Fargo Fraud department..they wanted me to verify the last five transactions on my debit card. I've had to do this before when we move around more than normal. After the first time my card was declined because of traveling patterns, I made an effort to notify Wells every few weeks about where we were, and had done it recently, so I was a little surprised to get this call. The first transaction was made in mind started reeling. Did I buy anything on line where the company was based in California? I didn't think so...The next two transactions were also from California....Now, I started to panic. The transactions were for more than several hundred dollars each. After punching a few more buttons affirming these transactions were not made by me, I was put in touch with a live representative from the fraud department. We started digging, and apparently, someone got my debit card number and started a charging spree. Luckily, for me, I don't keep a whole lot in the checking account at one time, and so after three tries of buying stuff, the card got declined due to insufficient funds. My checking account had been emptied. By this time, I was pretty upset.  I filed a fraud claim with the bank, and then the hassles started with how to proceed from there. Wells offers several options for protecting your numbers and accounts. Without going into those details, it took me an hour and a half of talking to bank representatives. To complicate things, when you are in a different state than where your accounts originate from, that affects what you can do if someone starts using your bank card or hacks into your account.

Wells Fargo explained that your debit card number is not the same number as your checking account so only the debit card number was compromised. But heck, they might as well have compromised my checking account as well, as it got emptied faster than a speeding bullet even though Wells called me the very next day when the charges went through.  Wells had no idea how they got my debit card number. It could have been an online purchase (highly possible), a gas station, a restaurant employee. I just saw a TV show the other night where they showed a waitress with a little device that many home party dealers use to record credit card sales. I had one myself when I sold Tastefully Simple but never used it. It seemed to risky to me and not very secure to be carrying this little card reader/swiper around in my pocket in order to record credit card numbers to be entered for sales credit later. The show showed the waitress running the card thru the little reader as she walked back to her service station and stowing the card reader in her pocket. What's to prevent anybody from purchasing these little readers for about a hundred bucks and scamming people on a regular basis? I try to watch my card wherever it goes, and stand there and wait when running the card inside a gas station if I don't run it at the pump, I try to look at the card readers at the pumps to make sure they haven't been tampered with, but I'm still clueless how they got my number and for now, so is the bank. I'm supposed to get my money back in a couple of weeks, I sure hope so! Debit cards are not handled the same as credit cards, that I know. We shall see......

There are apparently "rings" of scammers working in the Tampa area who obtain numbers one way or another, and then sell the numbers to people who make fake debit cards. That was just one scenario the banker explained to me. Seems like I had just heard about central and south Florida being one of the top areas of the country for credit/debit card fraud in the country. And now, I'm a victim.....

Back to the Camping World Store....Our bed was done....The great thing was, it was an easy install. Tiffin already has the outlet in place for sleep number beds AND a compartment for the motor. We didn't lose any storage space under the bed! The tubes are at the head of the bed, and everything worked out great and very neatly, and the Camping World tech guy did a great job. One good thing that happened today.....Yay!
We're at Lake Magic, an Encore park that honors the Florida Max Pass, so, our stay is FREE! We'll preview the park for you tomorrow....See you then!


  1. Try as we might, it's impossible to stay secure in this day and age of 'convenience technology'. Hope the resolution has put the money back in your account. (And if this is the second comment from me, feel free to delete ... the first one disappeared.)

  2. Nice to see that your bank was on the ball, hope you get your money back soon.

  3. Wow...that is very scary. I wonder if it would be prudent to get a new debit card a couple of times a year? We have alerts sent on our Droid phone that tells me when certain transactions have happened. I can set the criteria for what I want to know about. I'm thinking I will add more alerts and lower the amounts.

    Glad your bank was alert and got it stopped.

    Hope you enjoyed your new bed!

  4. Similar thing happened to me last month. Wells Fargo was on the ball right away when the charge was for an escort service in the UK. Good luck.

  5. Oh my goodness. Now I'm worried since I'm stuck here in the Tampa area. We have debit cards but don't use them. But we put EVERYTHING on our credit card and then pay it off each month. I like to have the records. You probably remember the hassle with our bank cutting off the card anytime anything looked the least bit odd. What a PIA but I sure don't want what happened to you. Seems really unfair for either you or your bank have to suck up your loss?? I just don't feel that as a species we humans are going at all in the right direction. There is just too much to worry about and too many bad guys.

  6. How awful for you... I hope it gets resolved quickly. We usually use our American Express for all charges and pay it off at the end of the month. (It gives us cash back, even on our diesel purchases!)

    But we have a line of credit attached to our checking account/debit card situation and would really really hate to ever have that compromised. Oh my they could go to town on that one!!! ouch! I think we are going to re-figure that ourselves. Thanks for the heads up and hope yours is taken care of speedy quick!

    Karen and Steve
    (Our Blog) RVing: Small House... BIG Backyard

  7. I got this same post on my blog too a few days ago... and there is an embedded link in the text... its for a website and I sure didn't click on it, and you probably shouldn't either. I went into my comment moderation and deleted this sbo person and marked it spam....

  8. I have heard it is safer to use credit cards for purchases rather than ATM cards. It had something to do with the banks
    rules on how much they were obligated to help you with the fraudulent lose. Seems credit card rules keep you a bit safer. With ATMs, the money can be just wiped out.