Identity Theft. It Can Happen….To Me.


Two days ago I went online to check my bank account balance and found that I was locked out. The online service said it was because of “too many login attempts”. I thought that was strange at the time, since I hadn’t been trying to log in.

Occasionally though, my husband jokes with me about not knowing my password, so I thought he might have done it. When I called him, he didn’t know anything about it. I just wrote it off as a weird experience.

Yesterday, I logged on to again to transfer some money to my savings account, and I found a $3 charge to my account that I did not make. Apparently, someone had visited McDonald’s with my credit card number.

Now, the strange thing about this is that I still have my debit card – it’s not missing! It was in my wallet the entire time.

I called immediately to cancel my debit card and have a new one issued. Right after I said a very thankful prayer that the thief only purchased a hamburger!

I’ve been trying to puzzle out exactly how this happened, and really, I may never know. I do know a few things though:

  1. The unauthorized charge was made in my own home town.
  2. They have the card number, but not the card.
  3. They do not have my social security number or they would have been able to reset my bank account password instead of getting locked out.

So, The best that I can come up with is that someone, at some point, copied my card information when I used it locally.

I have always read that some people can be so “secure” with their information – shredding all personal info, not ing things online, etc. Yet they will hand their credit card to a 17 year old at a drive through, or a restaurant and let them walk off with it to run the charge. Yup. I was one of those people! I guess I will be paying with cash a lot more often in the future!

I also have a second layer of security. I monitor my credit reports. I don’t think this person has any more information about me than my debit card number. However, I will be able to tell immediately if they open up any new accounts in my name because it will show up on my credit reports.

Suddenly, that $15 a month monitoring service is actually being put to good use :)

So, all in all this was just an excellent reminder that I need to be more careful with my debit and credit cards. Sometimes there really is nothing you can do to prevent identity theft. From now on though, I think using cash a little more often is a good policy.

Have you ever had an experience like this? Do you know someone who has? What did you do to combat it? Tell us about it in the comments section!

So, that’s it for the scary news today. I ran into some much happier articles in my feed reader this week. I’d love to share them with you.

Cherry Pickin':

This was my favorite article of the week!

Political Madness…It’s Almost Over:

  • Clever Dude gives an awesome rundown of the Libertarian party. Since I pretty much knew nothing about this, it was a completely interesting and informative lesson. Excellent article.
  • Erik at Money Smart Life did a two part post that took a close look at John McCain and Barack Obama’s proposed economic policies.

The State of The Nation:

  • Mr. Micah wrote an article on “Stocks: What We Really Own“. She makes a wonderful point here. If you’re investing in something that’s valuable, it’s best not to worry about what it’s worth today. As long as you believe in the investment, and you’ve completely investigated it, then the best thing you can do is let tomorrow take care of itself and hang on to your investment.
  • The Financial Philosopher had some interest thoughts on “Money Worries Should Be Telling (and Teaching) You Something…“. I love this blog! If you’ve never been there, please, check it out. There is always worthwhile and thought provoking content there.
  • Jim at Blueprint for Financial Prosperity has a devil’s advocate post on “401(k)’s and IRA’s Are For Suckers“. Well, you can almost hear me falling over on this one can’t you? Still, these are always excellent and well thought out articles – always fun to read!

Child’s Play:

  • The Smart Spending Blog at MSN Money has an article called “Even teens are feeling the pinch in this economy” I think it’s very worthwhile to teach your child about your family finances, and what’s going on with the world. Obviously, the idea isn’t to scare them to death. But I do think that any information you can give them about the financial state of things is valuable to them as they grow and learn. Besides, open conversation fosters interest, and having a child interested in money and finances is priceless.
  • The Simple Dollar did two excellent articles; “Brand Preferences and the Two Year Old Child” and some “Some Follow-Up Thoughts on Fruity Cheerios and Branding Our Kids“. Teaching our kids about marketing tactics only helps them. When I first learned how companies market products to us I was both disillusioned, and a little angry. I was lucky that I had an excellent marketing teacher in school who revealed many of the most common tactics and plays that these companies use. It forever changed the way I thought about my purchases.
  • Get Rich Slowly advises us to create a will. After all, it’s not as scary as we think it will be! I do believe that creating a will is one of the best things you can do for your family, and especially your children.

Carnivals, Festivals, and Celebrations!

Many thanks to the following carnivals for featuring our articles this week!

That’s it for this week’s review. Hope you’re having a great weekend!

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4 Responses to “Identity Theft. It Can Happen….To Me.”

  1. FFB Says:

    I once had a fraudulent charge ( a couple actually) on my checking account from what I believe was my debit card. Only places I used it was one purchase at a sporting goods store and for a re-curing gym membership. I was able to get the money back but not with out some sweat and pain. Back then I was living paycheck to paycheck and the $100 or so really hurt. So two lessons: Don’t use your check card as debit and make sure you have enough in savings to get by!

  2. ConnieB Says:

    Excellent advice FFB – thanks for your comment!

    The point about having enough money in savings to get by is an excellent one. I mean, these guys could have really taken me for a ride. If they had, the money we had in savings would definitely have mattered. It takes time to dispute items with your bank.

    Thanks for sharing your experience with us.

  3. Matt @ Steadfast Finances Says:

    I had someone steal my only debit card, and one credit card spending an approximate sum of $10k. Worst part, it was only 2 weeks after I purchased my first home. Talk about stress… missing your first mortgage payment because some wanker bought 50 tickets to Oz Fest.

    My money was easily credited back to my accounts within 1-2 business days as it was the prototypical fraudulent case. Mainly because the charges were all internet related (ticketmaster, amazon, etc) but the event was rather eye opening to say the least.

  4. ConnieB Says:


    That is terrible! I am so glad you were able to get everything resolved. What an awful time to have it happen too. Very glad everything worked out ok in the end.

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