Never Thought It Could Happen To Me

I was out on a sushi double-date last Saturday when the first oddity arose. I went to pay for lunch, and my debit card was declined. My debit card? Huh. I chalked it up to weirdness with their credit card machine and paid with an actual credit card, which went through without a hitch.

Later on, Aaron suggested I try paying for our Starbucks with my debit card to see if the earlier issue had just been a glitch. Nope — my card was declined at Starbucks, too. I started to worry, and made a note to check my online banking when I got home.

Later that evening, I logged into my online banking and found the first major WTF: a $635 charge from Virgin Blue. Airline tickets?

I got on the phone immediately to the NCB call center.

The customer service rep who spoke with me was super polite and helpful and told me that my debit card had been frozen by the Fraud Department due to some suspicious charges. He gave me the number for Fraud, although they wouldn’t be in until after the long weekend. That was OK: I wasn’t overdrawn or anything, so it could wait.

Forgot to call Tuesday. Called from my desk at work on Wednesday. The woman in the Fraud Department was also very nice and explained that some unusual charges had come in. Since Saturday, another charge of about $400 from Oman Air had appeared in my online banking, in addition to the $635 charge for Virgin. (Good thing I’d just gotten paid, so my balance could take the hit.) Then she proceeded to rattle off the charges that they’d caught and stopped before they hit my account: London, Turkey, Skype, Yahoo, PayPal, all adding up to more than $1000 — and that’s not counting the $1000 that DID post!

Now THAT would have wiped me out, but good.

So, the nice lady in Fraud ordered me a new debit card with a new card number (note to self: must change anything online that autodebits my debit card) and told me to go into a branch to fill out an affidavit of fraud to get credit for the charges that posted. Plus the International Transaction Fees that posted along with them. Sigh.

No problem. Left work early, went to the bank, and TaMika hooked me up. Didn’t even have to fill out or sign anything — it was all done in their computer system. I should be getting my provisional credit in about four business days; until then, I’m going to be careful about which bills I pay when, so I don’t overdraw myself before I get my $1000 back.

Despite all this, I’m not on the road to being one of those people who gets the prepaid credit cards from their bank for online shopping. I probably just used my debit card on one unscrupulous site — or with a company whose wi-fi network wasn’t well-shielded enough — and away my number went. Who knows where it got leaked. At any rate, I’m still going to shop online, although I don’t know if I’ll be so cavalier about using my debit card online anymore.

My debit card number got stolen, and it turned out to be just a minor nuisance (so far). I count myself lucky: other people have had it worse.