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I think my debit card number has been stolen!!!

Moms View Message Board: General Discussion: Archive April 2006: I think my debit card number has been stolen!!!
By Cocoabutter on Saturday, April 1, 2006 - 11:19 pm:

I joined a workout gym in December. It was a fluke, really. I had entered a drawing for a Hummer, knowing full well I would never win. But I got a call saying that I had won second prize- a 2 year membership to a women's workout gym. When I went in to sign up, I found out it really wasn't FREE, but I had to pay a maintenance fee required from all members for the use of towels, showers, lockers, etc. It only amounted to $12 per month, plus a $10 fee for the membership card that gets swiped when you enter, but it was all due up front. Since I really need to lose weight and I am SOOOOO out of shape, I decided to go for it. I owed a total of $149 for the first year. I paid for it in 3 installments (the lady that signed me up was really nice.)

Now, the first 2 payments were $50 each, and I paid those in person with my bank debit card, which I use for just about everything. Then about 3 weeks after the second payment, I got a phone call one evening from a lady at the gym asking me if I could pay the remaining amount over the phone. I said sure, since hey, I KNEW I owed the money, and I wanted to get it paid off.

Then she says, "Let's see, I see you have a balance due of $99?"

I said, "No, I only should owe $49."

She says, "Oh, okay."

And I gave her my debit card number.

The charge came through just as it should have. That was in January.

Today, I ckecked my account online, and there is a charge pending for Monday from the workout place for $99!!

I was so furious! In addition, the place was already closed for the day!

The chickie that took my number over the phone probably wrote it down and kept it, then when she needed cash, she probably entered my card # in manually and then took the cash. In the transaction description on my bank's website, it says POS DEBIT next to the name of the gym, so I do believe that someone had to physically enter the card info into the credit card machine. In addition, they NEVER processed my card automatically before, and I NEVER signed an agreement to allow them to do so.

So this really puts a crimp in my finances. I needed that money for groceries. Dh and I are living paycheck to paycheck and he only gets paid every 2 weeks, and this is the week he doesn't get paid.

I don't know how I am going to make it till Monday. I am so furious, and nervous, wondering what else this chickie got a hold of.

I called the bank and cancelled my debit card and got a new one. I called Experian and they had an automated system for putting a fraud alert on your credit file, so I did that. I got my first free credit report online, and nothing is out of the ordinary. Yet.

When I go in on Monday, I will ask to speak to the manager. I will show him a copy of the contract I signed which states what my full membership obligation to them was. I also have copies of my bank statements that show the 3 transactions that paid for my membership, and a printed copy of the information on my account that I pulled from the bank's website today showing the pending transaction.

I know that I have done everything I can at this point, but I am still panicked and nervous and anxious.

I am also kicking myself for not listening to my instincts when I heard that girlie say that I owed $99. If she had my account and membership info in front of her, she would have known how much I owed.

I hope this was just an accident, but I am not so sure. I am almost positive that I will get my money back on Monday, but I can't wait.

By Ginny~moderator on Saturday, April 1, 2006 - 11:28 pm:

Did you tell your bank that the $99 charge was fraudulent? If you did, maybe they will at least put a hold on it.

By Cocoabutter on Saturday, April 1, 2006 - 11:32 pm:

I asked them if they could, and she said that I'd have to talk to the dispute department, but that would have to wait until Monday, too.

By Beth on Sunday, April 2, 2006 - 10:35 am:

Well hopefully it was just an accident. But either way I am sorry this happened to you. I know how it is to "need" that money. Things have gotten better for us but there were plenty of years were that $50 bucks would have made it breaked it. ((hugs)) I hope everything gets straightened out.

By Crystal915 on Sunday, April 2, 2006 - 09:23 pm:

Your bank should cover it, if you contact them about it. ((((Hugs)))) That's just so sad, I don't understand how people can do things like that.

By Mrsheidi on Sunday, April 2, 2006 - 09:43 pm:

You know, I bet it was a computer error. Also, pending amounts aren't always the amounts that are debited on workdays. Check it again on Monday and I would have a chat with the lady who took your number over the phone if it did end up going through as 99$. Shouldn't be too hard to figure out whose job it is to call people, especially at a certain time.

By Cocoabutter on Sunday, April 2, 2006 - 10:59 pm:

A computer error would be nice, but I don't think so. I made the first 2 payments in person, so I know that this place has a little machine that is connected via the phone line and it is specifically for processing credit and debit card transactions. I used to work with one of these machines years ago at a gas station. Someone had to have entered in the transaction manually for this charge to go through.

It is pending for Monday, so if it posts, it won't show up until Tuesday AM. Regardless, I do NOT owe this place any more money- I have paid them in full and I can prove it. I have a membership contract stating the full purchase price of my membership and my bank statements to prove that the payments totaling the membership amount were debited from my account.

I only got 4 hours of sleep last night b/c I was so anxious about this situation. (I got a nap, though, thanks to my hubby. :)) If we don't get the money back, we have to find a way to make it on $14 for the next five days. I'll have to do some creative financing. I haven't had to do that in a long while. We haven't been this broke in years.

Thanks for all the good wishes. Keep me in your prayers for Monday when I go there to tell them what happened and ask for my money back. I am thinking that if they do some checking and find out that I am right in my assumptions, I may go ahead and press charges against the employee, or at least be sure that the workout place does.

By Ginny~moderator on Monday, April 3, 2006 - 06:03 am:

Lisa, this is all a darn shame, and I understand your anxiety very well, having been there.

I doubt it is a computer error. But, one thing it might be. A lot of vendors, particularly restaurants and I think gas stations, put a "hold" on your credit card (and your check card is treated like a credit card in some circumstances) that is larger than the actual charge, for reasons I don't understand, and when the actual charge is put through the hold is released. More than one person has found they have bounced checks for just that reason.

Do let us know the results of your visit to the bank and, if necessary, the exercise place.

By Janet on Monday, April 3, 2006 - 03:11 pm:

OK, I'm the one who handles debit cards for our bank, and here's what I would tell you if you were our customer. Come into the bank and fill out an affidavit for an unauthorized charge. Tell us what happened, give us your information, and we'll research it for you. We'll give you provisional credit on your account until we resolve the dispute (we have 10 days to resolve this, legally). If you feel like your number has been compromised (perhaps someone has your number and is using it without your consent), then we would close your card and issue you a new card. But by all means, let your bank know it was an unauthorized debit, and quickly. They will help you resolve it. :)

By Cocoabutter on Monday, April 3, 2006 - 04:24 pm:

Thanks, Janet and Ginny, and everyone. You are all so cool!

First, I called the dispute department at my bank, and I was told that they can't do anything until tomorrow after the pending transaction actually posts to my account, which is tonight. So, I went to talk to the manager at the workout place this afternoon (she didn't get there until 2PM).

BUT I have good news! All my suspicions were correct, and I got a FULL REFUND!! In fact, she just fired the thieving wench on SATURDAY! So, since I had already called my bank and had my debit card # cancelled, I couldn't give that card to the manager to give me a refund, so I gave her a different debit card to an account at a credit union (which I rarely ever use) to process the refund for me.

She said that she had known about this activity for about a month, and she is working with her boss to get charges filed against her. She is now just waiting for clients to come in with complaints of unauthorized charges so that they know more of the scope of the problem. I told her about the phone call and me giving the employee my bank card # over the phone. I gave her the copies of my bank statements (not my originals, and with my account #'s blacked out) and said that she or her boss can call me if there are any questions.

Now the bad news- even though I got a full refund, the funds in the credit union account that she refunded to won't be available for another 2 days! UGH! But I feel so much better knowing that we haven't lost our money.

So, it appears that all's well that ends well!


By Dawnk777 on Monday, April 3, 2006 - 05:32 pm:

Good grief! Good thing the girl got fired.

By Janet on Tuesday, April 4, 2006 - 12:59 pm:

I'm glad it all worked out for you! :)

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