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Debit card blues

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This year, my wife and I have had three separate debit card frauds. The first was early this year, when someone near Los Angeles, 1,500 miles or so from Tulsa, Okla., used our card number to buy booze and equipment. Neither of us have been to California in years.

The second was with the same bank card, which, by that time, had a new number, and the third was my own personal account debit card – the sacred writing and editing account, mind you. The money in that account, paltry though it may be, is mine, mine, mine and is used to buy any crazy thing my heart desires.

A banker told me debit-card fraud is growing like crazy.

All three frauds were executed in California – except, I think, for one overseas purchase – and all were in the hundreds of dollars, not thousands. Maybe when the fraud is relatively small the banks won’t spend thousands to track it down and prosecute.

The last fraud – the one from my personal account – came while I was on a business trip. No, I wasn’t anywhere near California – I was in Oklahoma, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana and Michigan.

Being the subject of debit card fraud is inconvenient (so far, no credit card problems):

  1. From a practical standpoint, one may not use the debit card in question until it has been replaced.
  2. Also, a fraud form needs to be completed, signed and mailed to the institution.
  3. And, finally, while the bank replaces 100% of the money, the entire exercise makes one feel, in a word from “Ghostbusters,” slimed.

Have you had any debit card fraud? Where was it committed? What do you think it means? Will this force banks to reconsider debit cards? Will we go back to cash and checks? I probably only write one check a month – how about you? Does it mean we should short MasterCard and Visa?

Have a great week. Try a random act of kindness today.

Check out more blog entries from Richard Hoe.


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