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 Sunday another $500 was withdrawn, and this morning my card was cancelled.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!