Lessons Learned After My Debit/Credit Card Was Hacked!

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Manic:  Me yesterday morning when I discovered that my checking account balance had been zeroed out.  I knew something was wrong!

Managed:  Immediately going online to see my account and then calling my bank right away to report the fraudulent charges!  Luckily, my bank will recover the funds and reimburse me the $1,000 the thieves got away with online.  I had done everything right and yet, I still was robbed!  So here are the things that prevented a bad situation from becoming worse and here are some of my lessons learned from this unpleasant experience…

What I did right…

*I made sure that my debit/credit card had a daily spending limit.  Thank goodness for that because once the bad guys hit that limit, the stealing was halted.  The banker could see their additional attempts come back over the limit when she she did the claims research.

*I check my bank account every morning, no matter what!  Part of my daily morning ritual is to check my bank accounts right after I finish reading my emails.  Because of this, I was able to catch the crime early on and report it right away, which speeds up the entire claims and reimbursement process.

*Because I check my account daily, it didn’t take me long to know exactly which charges weren’t mine.  If I was only checking weekly, I would have had several pages of banking to go through, so this was a time saver which sped up the recovery process.

*I called the bank immediately.  Even though I had places to be and people to see, I delayed my morning commitments to take care of this right away.  I highly recommend that if this happens to you.

*I have an overdraft protection line in place that covered the last charge that came through last night after the fraudulent ones and that one was truly my charge that I would want the bank to cover since it was legitimate.  I was thankful that I didn’t have to explain the whole situation to a merchant that I paid with my now hacked debit card.  If you don’t have any type of overdraft protection from your savings account or from a bank line, I highly recommend getting one, especially in this day and age with online fraud on the rise.

What I learned:

*Even if you haven’t lost your card or had it stolen, you can still be robbed, both online and out in the public.  After doing the research and reviewing my recent online charges with my banker, it appears that my card information was apprehended while I was out and about rather than through my online usage.  Although we don’t know that for sure, it pays to be more aware.

*There have been reports of debit card numbers being stolen from gas pump keyboards.  The banker I spoke to explained to me that it happens, but that the banks haven’t quite figured out how the thieves do it.  She told me to always press clear after I’m done pumping the gas.  I will tell you this….today I paid cash for my gas!  Yep, I went inside, like the old days and paid the cashier in cash and then filled my car.

*Anyone you give your card to, such as a waiter, can easily take your card to a back room and take a picture of the front and back of your card in an instant.  Then they have your name, as it appears on the card, the expiration date and the security number, that is usually found on the back of the card.  It appeared that the person who hacked my card had all of that information…even though I still had my card in my possession.  So unsettling!

*After talking with my bank, I immediately put my card in the shredder and ordered a replacement.  So without an ATM debit/credit card, I was forced to pay in cash all day long and you know what…I’m considering going back to the good ol’ cash system after this experience!

*Paying for your products with cash saves you cash because you don’t have the bank/card fees and believe me, doing it this way makes you way more aware of just how much you really have in the account.  A card feels like magic at times.

*Sadly, this was another reminder to always be on the alert and extra cautious, both online and out and about.

*I also contacted my computer expert to schedule a checkup to make sure that my computer isn’t infected with any virus that is tracking my every keystroke.  Another unsettling thought, for sure!  My computer expert is also managedmoms.com writer, Roman Acevedo and he has been our computer guy for the last five years.  He is very good, so if you ever need a solid computer pro to fix or check your computer, you can contact Roman at 602-908-1676.

*Lastly, if this happens to you, don’t forget to check and notify accounts that your stolen card may automatically pay each month.  An example might be your gym’s monthly fee.  If the card that was hacked is the auto-pay card, make sure you notify that business and change to an updated card.  I truly try to avoid auto-pay situations for this reason, among others, but like most of us, I have set auto-pay up at times.

So that was my morning yesterday.  Not fun at all!  Very upsetting.  Has this happened to you?  What is your best advice? Share here in the comments section and remember to be careful out there….and at home when you are on your computer in the online world, especially during the holiday season!




  1. Rachel,

    I’m so sorry this happened to you! I hope today is a better day for you.


    • managedmom says:

      Thanks Nancy! Today is better!

    • that is sad how that happens to the good people i check my bank every morning tooeven before that cup of coffee but this episode just hppened to me about two days ago i ordered some clothing off line no problem with my mastercard gift card the last order wasnt completed i couldnt understand so iv tracked my order and had the company put a hold on it until i get the money for it. so i called the mastercard line to get a transaction history and balance and no matter how many times i called it keeps telling me that it is an invalid card number i dont understand how that even happen. i love to shop and i hadnt been able to shop in quit sometime so i feel down about it the card has been in my prossession the entire time and i only ordered from the same placei am glad that your dAY GOT BETTER IF I CAN GET HELP THEN I WILL SOON BE HAPPY BUT I GUESS AT THIS POINT I WILL HAVE TO SEND MY PROBLEM BY MAIL TO MASTERCARD THATS GONNA TAKE ME SOME TIME TO GET IT SETTLED. I JUST HOPE I CAN GET THE 86.00 THAT I LOST OUT ON THANKS FOR READING IF I FIGURE OUT WHAT HAPPEN I WILL RETURN TO LET YOU ALL KNOW THANKS AGAIN MS ANDREA


  2. My card was hacked in 2001, for $8000! The charges came from all over the world, Australia, Africa and India to name a few. Wells Fargo was less than cooperative, and kept putting me off when I called. After a week, I learned that I should file a police report to expedite the process. I got my funds back the next day, so that worked great. Turns out the info was stolen from our online payment to AOL. One thief was apprehended in Australia because, at the time if a charge exceeded $2500 internationally, it was a Federal crime. He went to a port in Sydney to pick up his computer and was arrested. He told police he had answered an email that offered ligitimate credit card numbers for sale. The email was traced to Ethiopia, but they were unable to find the originator. By then I am sure they were long gone. I left AOL, and Wells Fargo because of this nightmare. Since then, I do have a spending limit on my card. I was very upset that Wells Fargo had not red flagged these purchases.

    • managedmom says:

      Wow Jodie! So sorry that happened to you! Ugh….sure is scary that this can happen so easily. Thank you for leaving your comment with your good advice!

    • I understand our difficulty. This as happened to my Target card numerous times, and I even had my identity stolen. Sad t say, changing over to a chip card did nothing to slow down the fraud that has been happening on them. Of course, my young cousin who decided to be running my life was less than understanding, and I was blamed for the problem. It turns out she never wanted me to ever have a credit/debt card, and when I opened a debit card account and after she found out, I was verbally insulted for days. After the Target card case I was blamed for being the one getting in the way. As a result, I have to pay more for some items as a gift card does not work internationally, and I have no credit card or debit card in my possession. I hope it turns around for you. Stay away from Target cards, they are not secure. You get hacked just making a payment. As a result, I wound up not buying the vintage boombox with the aux port. Hopefully, you have someone that is understanding and will not blame you for being a victim. One hallmark of controllers is to play the blame game, it is always if only if you did this or that differently.

  3. Rachel's Aunt JS says:

    Good information, Rachel. Hope everyone reads your article. It’s a good one.
    So sorry this happened to you! It’s that time of year when usage is up, cards are out more, and we’re all too busy to be extra careful. I do not like it when any sales person takes my card out of my sight — as they do in restaurants, especially. That’s something to watch out for, but what can you do, but watch as they go and hope they’re gone for only an instant. I once got someone else’s charge card back when that little tray came back to my table with the receipt to sign and “my” returned card. Always look at the card before putting it away. Restaurants should process card payments at a desk as you leave — much safer for the customer.

    As editor of our bank’s newsletter, I write about security issues quite often. While we all struggle with passwords….changing them often is another good personal security practice!

    • managedmom says:

      Great advice Aunt Janette! And you are an expert in this field, so I really appreciate your comments on this issue. Miss you, too!

  4. Rachel,

    I do not have a debit card, but I understand that whenever you use it you have to enter a PIN number for the purchase to go through.. That PIN number is not on your debit card, so I do not understand how the thieves were able to use your debit card.


    • managedmom says:

      Hi David,

      Thanks for checking out managedmoms.com and for leaving a comment. Your comment prompted me to change the title in my headline because it is a debit card, but is also works as a credit card through my bank with a Visa logo on the face of the card.

    • Hackers only need your 3-digit security number on the back of your debit/credit card to make purchases online where no PIN is required, and sometimes not even that. Anyone who has managed to gain access to your physical card and has seen the 3-digit code on the back (usually on the signature line), or has hacked your computer transactions and watched you enter it yourself in an online purchase, can then go and use those numbers to make their own purchases. All they need is your name and those numbers.

      That 3-digit code is ridiculously NOT A SECURE method of guaranteeing that the purchaser is the actual cardholder. You’d think that being aware of the importance of security issues, banks could come up with some other method to protect their customers from spending fraud. At the very least, that 3-digit number should NOT BE ON THE CARD ITSELF where anyone can see it just by opening your wallet and taking a look.

  5. Hi Rachael,

    My debit/visa card was hacked 1-1/2 years ago. Some “store” in an east block country was making purchases. I caught it early, so not a big amount, but the process of gettting the money back into my account was a headache. At that time, someone told me that a traditional credit card is a much better bet, thieves prefer debit cards (instant cash), whereas a credit card makes it more difficult for them to get the cash. I am not certain if this is entirely true. But, I switched to a credit card and no trouble since. I still use my debit card, but only for the ATM.


  6. I know this is a bit late to jump in on this topic, but this just happened to me today. I do check my account daily and this transaction really stood out. My card was not lost or stolen, it was sitting right in my wallet, yet someone used it at a bank machine! They duplicated my card and had my PIN!

    So I’ve spent the day digging through my transactions to try to determine which one could have been shady…there was only one possible transaction that was not secure – I used my debit card to pay for a cab and they had a wireless debit machine…now, I know to usually avoid these machines because hackers can use scanners and all your information is transmitted in plain text (ie: not encrypted, very easy to read). In this instance, it was very late at night and I thought it would be safe enough, there didn’t seem to be anyone around – except the cabby…anyway, we’ll see what happens, see if I can get my money back, but in the mean time:

    Don’t Use Wireless Debit Machines!!!!!

    Thanks for listening

    • ManagedMoms.com says:

      Hi Denis,

      I’m so sorry that this happened to you. Thanks for letting us know to look out for those wireless debit machines. I didn’t even think about that, but that makes sense that they may not be as secure. Good luck and I sure hope you get all of your money back. So frustrating, I know!

  7. This happened to me on Thursday. Luckily I’ve been in hermit mode and haven’t made many purchases this week. So I was able to spot the fraudulent charges right away and contact my bank immediately. Checking my online statements every other day helped. My bank has been great through this process. This is the first time this has happened to me. I believe this happened after I took my boyfriend out for a work lunch. That was the only place I handed my card over to punch in information. I’ve got to go to the bank today since I relied so much on my debit card that I barely have any cash on me. I used to use cash all the time. Maybe I’ll do that again since it did really help curb my spending.

    • ManagedMoms.com says:

      Hi Gigi,

      Thanks for leaving your comment and so sorry that this happened to you, too. It is no fun. Well, I must admit that I only did the cash thing for about a week! It is just too convenient to use my debit card, but I think going all cash if you can is definitely safer and keeps you on a budget! Glad you got it all straightened out!

  8. Good Afternoon All-

    As of 10am this morning I was made an unfortunate member of this club! I woke up and went grocery shopping only to find that my card has been zeroed down. After calling the claims center, I was told that Id have to wait until Feb 5 at the latest (when the charges were no longer pending) to file a dispute claim, AND THEN would have to wait up to 10 business days for the funds to be returned.
    That was my entire check totalling 750. I am at a loss as to why this is so easy to do. I have not been able to trace it back to how or where it could have happened. My card is on my lap as I write this. Smh, not a fun experience. All of my bills have been made late now!

    • ManagedMoms.com says:

      So sorry this happened to you, too Ariel! It is a terrible feeling and a real hassle to deal with. I avoid using my debit card because of this. I can’t believe how easy it seems to be for thieves to get our card numbers either 🙁

  9. Went to the bank to pull out some money for a little vacation this weekend with the kids. My 3700$ was now 8$. In 48hrs someone in a different state cleaned my savings account out, but what looks like transferring my funds to his card. Bank said I’ll get it all back but it’s been days and still just a sorry hopefully this day. My whole weekend is ruined.

    • ManagedMoms.com says:

      So sorry that happened to you, Nikki. It is so terrible that these crooks can do this! Hang in there!

  10. Ting ting says:

    Happened to me today. $800 was stolen from my bank account!! From an ATM in another state. our card wasn’t lost or stolen….it is in my hand as we speak!! These loser criminals need to get a job!!!!! I was assured the bank will launch an investigation and I will get my money back in 7-10 days. I’m hoping sooner!! I’m soooooo mad!!!!

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