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Scheherazade in Blue Jeans
freelance alchemist
*sigh*, part the first 
11th-Feb-2013 01:13 pm
Boondock/can't believe
On Friday, I was idly goofing off on my iPad and pulled up our Mint.com app so I could categorize anything that needed categorizing. I know, I have a weird idea of fun. I find categorizing things + a constant awareness of exactly how much money we have and where it's going to be comforting, in the sense that peeking at our full fridge and pantry is comforting.

But Friday was not comforting. Because I found that someone had emptied our bank account. By charging a bunch of stuff on it. From Europe.

And of course our bank was closed, because blizzard.

Adam called Mastercard directly. They connected him to Eastern Bank's fraud division, who clarified that yes, someone had gotten hold of my debit card number; they actually tried to charge an additional eight things, but couldn't because they'd already emptied our account. The fraud division claimed that they would shut down my card, but said they couldn't do anything to reverse the clearly-fraudulent charges; I'd have to call the bank directly.

The bank was, of course, closed on Saturday due to the storm. So I called first thing today. After checking Mint again - and seeing that they let another charge through.

So today they allegedly turned the card off. And will be sending me a new one. But they demanded that I go to the bank in person to fill out the fraud report. They refused to do anything over the phone.

And they said that it would take ten days for their researchers to review the fraud claim, once I submitted it in person. Ten days. For them to determine that a bunch of charges made in Europe, where I have never been, were fraudulent.

Not ten days from our report of the fraud, mind. Ten days from when they decide they feel like doing their jobs.

So. Thank goodness Judah was still home and was able to take me. Because the buses are iffy today and we have freezing rain.

So at the bank, I signed the sheet of paper. And got verification that yes, it would be ten days until we got any of our stolen money back. Also, it will be seven to ten days until I get a replacement debit card, which leaves me all kinds of screwed in several different ways.

When I first ranted about this on Twitter, several kind people offered to loan us money to see us through; I appreciate the thought, but Adam gets paid on Friday, and it would take that long just for that money to process through PayPal. We just have to stick this out.

And switch banks. Because this is ludicrous and unacceptable.
11th-Feb-2013 06:19 pm (UTC)
We are huge fans of our credit union DCU
11th-Feb-2013 06:55 pm (UTC)
Cannot second this enough. The time my credit card number was stolen, I was contacted after two charges - the cheap $0.99 test purchase, and the thousand dollar actual purchase. Got that ironed out in five minutes on the phone, and they said a new card would get me in 3-5 days.

Thing is though, that night I was driving out to Pennsic. The nice phone rep asked where I worked, and told me that on my lunch break I could drive to a branch five minutes from me and they'd cut me a new card on the spot.

Right there, they hooked me for good.
11th-Feb-2013 07:24 pm (UTC)
::makes notes::
I inherited Eastern when Wainwright went away. I've been thinking of making a move for a while, but the where has always been a conundrum.
11th-Feb-2013 07:28 pm (UTC)
when Adira lost her passbook at the savings bank, when she was 7, the savings bank tried to charge us 10$ for someone to notarize(one of their own employees) an affidavit that she had lost it. A 7 year old, really. We paid it, emptied the account, and walked across the street where we adults had opened our house accounts a few months earlier. The nice lady at DCU gave her the standard 10$ credit to new kid accounts and then, upon hearing the story about the affidavit charge, added another 10$ to Adira's account. Made customers for life out of all of us.
11th-Feb-2013 06:27 pm (UTC)
Yikes! Hope everything gets sorted out soon!
11th-Feb-2013 06:32 pm (UTC)
Ouch and yuk. :(

I hope you get your money back soon. And that you never have to deal with this again.
11th-Feb-2013 07:01 pm (UTC)
Would it be OK for me to post a link to this on Eastern Bank's Facebook page? That might get you more prompt attention.
11th-Feb-2013 07:10 pm (UTC)
Adam already posted.
11th-Feb-2013 07:24 pm (UTC)
I just now saw that. I've been a satisfied Wainwright/Eastern customer for many years, so this story is quite upsetting to me.
15th-Feb-2013 03:52 pm (UTC)
Have you gotten any satisfactory response from the bank yet? (If not, I wonder if I should threaten to close my accounts there.)
11th-Feb-2013 07:04 pm (UTC)
11th-Feb-2013 07:25 pm (UTC)
Oh, fuckity. Makes me glad we moved to credit unions from Eastern.
11th-Feb-2013 07:32 pm (UTC) - With the greatest of respect
and sympathy for your situation, this is how debit cards are handled, pretty much everywhere. Credit cards are different.

I hope you find a financial institution that has better customer service and I doubly hope nobody ever rips you off again.
11th-Feb-2013 07:38 pm (UTC) - Re: With the greatest of respect
I was about to say the same thing, unfortunately :/ My lovely credit union (MITFCU) was a little bit better when my debit card number was stolen--they talked me through stuff on the phone and emailed me the forms to print out, fill out, and take to the bank--but it was slow and not at all like I hear about every credit card ever handling fraud (quickly and painlessly).
11th-Feb-2013 07:46 pm (UTC) - Re: With the greatest of respect
not at all like I hear about every credit card ever handling fraud

This is because in credit card fraud it's almost always the credit card company's money that is at risk. They are big, have lots of staff and lawyers and are very motivated to fix problems. With a debit card it's your money. Also, the laws around credit cards are very different from those around debit cards.
11th-Feb-2013 08:03 pm (UTC) - Re: With the greatest of respect
Sadly, this. This is why my husband and I use our credit cards for everything (we don't carry balances from month to month - we just use them as charge cards). We now use our debit cards only as ATM cards for withdrawing cash.
11th-Feb-2013 08:18 pm (UTC) - Re: With the greatest of respect
I only use my debit card to pay at the co-op, because I imagine the card fees are less vs my credit card. Everywhere else goes to my regular credit card. (Which also gets me free money at Amazon, yay books.)
11th-Feb-2013 09:16 pm (UTC) - Re: With the greatest of respect
You might find out if you can get your bank to set the non-PIN ("use as credit") limit on your debit cards to $0 to lower your vulnerability to fraud. (Unfortunately, this only works well for people who use credit cards the way you and your husband do, since otherwise it means carrying a balance and paying interest on your purchases.)

Years ago, I left my then-bank because they sent me a new ATM/debit card that could be used as a credit card, and wouldn't let me go back to a PIN-only card. More recently, the bank I switched to also stopped issuing Maestro (the PIN-only brand of MasterCard); when I asked them about it, they set my card to have a $0 non-PIN limit so that nobody can clean out my account with just the card number.
11th-Feb-2013 11:57 pm (UTC)
You might find out if you can get your bank to set the non-PIN ("use as credit") limit on your debit cards to $0 to lower your vulnerability to fraud.

Ooh, that's a great idea.
11th-Feb-2013 08:22 pm (UTC) - Re: With the greatest of respect
While generally debit card != credit card in this specific situation I disagree. I recently had my debit card number stolen and fraudulent charges made with it from Europe. One phone call to my bank's 24/7 fraud hotline had my card shut down immediately and the charges refunded to my account within 24 hours. The paperwork was all handled via email with electronically signed pdfs.

I know Big Name Banking Corporations are evil but for once I am glad I had one that worked in my favor.
11th-Feb-2013 08:09 pm (UTC)
That sucks. Definitely find a new option!
11th-Feb-2013 11:23 pm (UTC)
That sucks :(

< start fix it reaction >
Sounds like you've got this covered, but:

if you need money TODAY:

1. Someone can bring you cash. Cash still works & deposits perfectly.

2. Wires. Cost about $10, maybe a bit more. Might have a charge to recieve 'em, too. Instant, pretty much.

(Were we in Boston, we could drop some cash off, if it was needed. We won't be there till Friday though.)

Also: You may wish to investigate the nature of an emergency credit card to keep around the house, unused. Only for these kind of situations.

It can make the next time some big entity screws up far less life affecting- bringing it from OMG! to oh, annoying.

(Yes, i know that's not going to help today. Sorry for the fix it option. Maybe it will help someone else that reads it)
12th-Feb-2013 01:32 pm (UTC) - Happened to me once...
I had my MC# stolen once -- a debit card -- and what the bastards did was take my MC# and go to a MasterCard website where the fraud-doers signed me up for a "disposable" number that no one could track. They charged nearly $370 worth of merchandise from Salsa Jeans in Portugal (a company that doesn't even ship to the US, fwiw) over 2 transactions before I noticed. Had I not noticed, they probably would have charged more because using the "disposable" number gets around a lot of the fraud notification systems.

As for your bank, there's only so much that they can do -- based on my own experience from 2011, they can only refuse payment on charges made *after* the cancellation of the card. The one that went through after was probably swiped prior to the cancellation, so it was still processed.

I, also, had to physically go to the bank and surrender the card and fill out the fraud report. Their goal, I presume, is to try to find out where the fraud happened. They are legally required to conclude the investigation within 10 days, and my bank gave me a "provisional" refund pending the outcome of the investigation (which was them just making sure I wasn't trying to scam them). If they haven't done that, ask them about it. Talk to a manager if you have to.

I don't know how the scammers got my number. I'd used it at Amazon and Radio Shack recently...but if someone hacks into a system, they can get anyone's info, no matter what bank they use. And since most of the people doing this are outside of the US, there's nothing our government can do to punish them.

I *am* sorry that this happened to you, on top of everything else that you're fighting with right now. Let me know if there's anything I can do for you, ok?
14th-Feb-2013 05:25 pm (UTC) - Re: Happened to me once...
Apparently, there are ways to attach a reader of some sort to various swipers around and about. This is what the bank person said when it happened to me, anyways.

I had some unusual transactions... last year I think it was? anyways, my credit union saw them, called me up, and I confirmed that those were not mine. They sent a new card out to me after canceling the old one, and they fought the fraudulent charges successfully. I think MC was out the money in this case, though I don't know for sure.
12th-Feb-2013 06:08 pm (UTC)
Holy mackerel. Just seeing this now. Whatever I can do to help, just send up a flare.
13th-Feb-2013 01:06 am (UTC)
After similar bastardry, I switched to a credit union local to me. I have been nothing but happy since. I'm so sorry that this happened to you!
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