I was about to leave the house this morning, when my home phone rang. It rarely does this (since the only folks who have it are telemarketers), and even more rare is it ringing in the morning.

So I answered.

On the other end of the line was a gentelman from my bank, Coast Capital Savings, letting me know that my debit card has been cancelled, since it was used at a confirmed card skimming location. I got the number for my new card over the phone so I can continue to use online banking, and it was suggested that I take a look at my bank records for the past 30 days to ensure nothing out of the ordinary had gone on.

I wasn’t terribly worried about the situation – I’d just downloaded my January transactions and reviewed them at the end of the month anyway, so I knew they were fine.

But Lo! In the last two days, someone’s certainly been taking some far-reaching liberties with my account. The last transaction I made was to deposit a cheque on Saturday afternoon. Two hours later, a $500 withdrawl was made (my daily cash limit), followed immediately by a $2000 “deposit” (likely an empty envelope). Sunday another $500 was withdrawn, and this morning my card was cancelled.

At first I thought maybe my card number was skimmed at some shady corner store I’d stopped in at some point on my travels. But looking at the transaction pattern, I’m significantly more creeped out.

Because my financial institution is a Credit Union (instead of a bank), I’m able to use the services of any BC Credit Union ATM. The closest ATM to my home isn’t a Coast Capital machine, but it is a credit union nonetheless, so I use it most often – and Saturday afternoon was no exception.

Looking at my transaction records, the fraud was committed at the EXACT SAME BRANCH I’d just deposited that cheque at a mere 2 hours earlier. Coincidence? I’m not so sure. I’m thinking back to that night – I used my card in the outdoor card-reader to open the door. I put my card in the machine. I entered my pin. I don’t remember if there was anyone else in the bank, but I don’t think there was.

Because the investigation is ongoing, the fraud protection people weren’t able to tell me which location my card was skimmed at – but I’ve used my card MULTIPLE times at all of the places I’ve got in my bank statement in the past 30 days, and that bank machine is no exception.

So there’s your lesson kids. Cover your PIN, no matter where you are or how safe things seem. The bank people tell me that compared to the amount of cardholders and transactions that take place each day, card scams are generally pretty rare, but clearly they do happen!

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5 thoughts on “Violated!

  1. Chris

    My credit card was recently (and fraudulently) used for a $970 wire transfer in London, Ontario. BMO quickly cancelled my card, but they didn’t actually contact me to tell me this. I had to get declined while buying groceries, then get booted out when trying to access my account online, then call customer service before I found anything out. It sounds like your Credit Union is a bit friendlier.

  2. danny!

    i had my bank card skimmed last year but luckily they didn’t get my pin. i got a call one saturday morning asking if had used my card earlier. i had just woken up so obviously i hadn’t.

  3. tcottontail

    I hope your credit union is crediting your account for the charges you didn’t make?

    My husband ran into a skimming problem a month ago, but it was because he was trying to purchase something that was a higher amount than he normally charges, so they delined and cancelled him on the spot. Lucky I was there with my cc to save the day, since we generally use mine to book vacations so I charge more to mine. šŸ™‚

  4. peechie Post author

    Indeed, I won’t be charged for any of the debits that weren’t mine, or any interest or service charges for being in a negative balance when the fiends first tapped my account.

  5. Linz

    Hey Jen!

    Rarely get to hit your site – but none the less checked it out to see this! How Crappy! I work for RBC and have seen this happen a few times. Generally the bank catches onto this activity fairly quickly and they are able to protect their clients because of that. Oddly enough it has nothing to do with the pin number… I would say that the card reader in the door or the actual ATM would be the target as they can stick a card reader in fairly quickly. Alot of banks have caught onto this so they have revamped the set up of their machines so that these creeps can’t do this. We saw a bunch of people get hit at a bar close to the branch I work at through one of those generic ATM machines. I use cash a lot more now because of the fact that my eyes have been opened. It is very wise though, that your limit is capped at $500.00. It’s because of this (and the empty envelope if that’s what they did) that your CU was able to catch on… their operations support staff would have caught on as they would get an over limit report and tend to it. SOO many people complain about having limits on their accounts b/c “it’s my money and I wanna spend it…” (justified…) and once I explain why we do that they tend to back down, so my advice to you and your readers… keep it capped people and reconcile your accts regularily as these creeps are getting smarter and smarter. (I could go on for hours…) Take Care and congrats on your engagement. Sorry so late. Missed you at Yoga with Jen and Mel last sunday – should do it again sometime and we can all do brunch!


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