Wednesday 3 August 2011

Let's Turn this into a Learning Experience

Glancing over July's bank statement yesterday, I noticed some huge withdrawals on the same day - in the UK. After I was back in the States. What the?

Yes, folks, it seems my cashpoint/ATM cum Mastercard has been cloned. To be honest, I was initially very confused. I mean, I still have the card in my possession so how could anyone possibly have been withdrawing money on it. I remember the last withdrawal I made in the UK and there was no one around except my children. They came back to the States with me so I know it's not one of them running lose with mommy's card.

My mother rang the local police who are now all over it. They deduced immediately that it had been cloned. Indeed, there was a lapse of a few days between my last withdrawal and the start of the rampage, meaning that someone has made a duplicate. They did a test run with a $50 purchase in Marks and Spencer before making three withdrawals the next day to the tune of $1,000 and another three a couple of days later for the same amounts. Given that I wasn't able to cancel the card till yesterday, Lord knows what else they did.

Fortunately I can prove that I was back on this side of the pond by then so I shouldn't be liable for most of it.

I would normally beat myself up for being careless but in this instance, there was nothing I could do.

In future however, I am advised only to make withdrawals from cash machines that are owned by banks. The ATM/cash point I used isn't owned by any particular bank and according to the police, these are more likely to be fitted out with devices to record all card information, including your password.

So friends, I'm using this annoying experience to put you all o your guard. It can happen to anyone, so take steps to protect yourself.


  1. This is the sort of thing I'm very worried about, it seems so much more common these days. Sorry to hear it happened to you but glad that it's going to be sorted out.

    That's a good tip about only using bank owned cash-machines, even better are the cash machines located inside the bank which are even less likely to have been tampered with.

  2. ouch. sorry this happened and thanks for the heads up.

  3. Bad luck! Very scary and frustrating when something like this happens. We recently had credit card fraud after buying something on the internet - my father also had his card cloned in a restaurant in Soho once. Still, at least your card company has it covered.

  4. Oh no! Sorry that happened to you but thanks for sharing keep us informed.

  5. My worst nightmare! Good job you caught it so quickly, though! I spend a lot of time in great paranoia worrying about just such a scenario. Thanks for the tip about the bank ATMs!

  6. Wow, bad news! I had a card stolen once and didn't realise until payments started bouncing. If you are defrauded, the bank will give you the money back though, it's just a major pain.

  7. Paul - too right it is. I am now on a mission to make sure the company that owns the machine is made to ensure that their machines aren't tampered with. Everyone else is having to pay and really, it's their fault.

  8. This happened to me a few years back and I felt violated especially as they spent all my hard earned cash on booze & cigarettes.
    I did get it all back after a load of hassle & the bank paid up as it was their fault on this occasion.
    Maggie X

    Nuts in May

  9. Expat Mum: "... and really, it's their fault..." Wouldn't it actually be the fault of the guy who put the card skimmer on the machine ;)

    Sorry to hear about this. It is becoming way too common and I always check any ATM I use--bank or not.

  10. Thanks for the warning - I hope it all gets sorted out quickly and easily.

  11. How very annoying and thanks for the tip - will be more cautious - hope you get it all back Lx


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