Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Western Union Fraud

You want to talk about distracted driving, that was me, coming to work this morning.
That's because I was online, looking at my checking account - I pretty much do that on a daily basis.  When I got into the account, the amount in there was waaaaaay lower than I expected to see.  I started thinking, what on earth did I do?  I fixed Caleb's car and filled it up with gas, but it wouldn't have cost that much money.

The account comes up and there it is: 2 debits in the amount of $155.02 each.  Didn't make any debits for that amount yesterday or the day before and if I had, I wouldn't have made 2 of them for the exact same amount. I didn't recognize the name of the company on there, it just had WU with an 800 number.  I called the number - Western Union.

You want to talk about a good reason to check your accounts on a daily basis, this is the biggest one I can think of: people out there are out to steal your money and if they find a way to do it, you are cooked, screwed and shafted.

I'm walking out the door of my house, spacing everything else out.  I want my money back.  I got very mad, very quickly.  I would love to get my hands on the people that steal your bank information and then steal your money.  It would not be a pleasant encounter for that person or those individuals, I can assure you of that.

Well, I'm looking up the phone number of Chase and attempting to drive - not very smart on my part but everything in the "sane" department seemed to have checked out at that point.  Just get on the phone with the bank and get the account frozen or whatever needs to be done immediately.  I finally got them on the phone and the representative connected me with their fraud department.  It didn't take him long: Someone did an over the phone or online transaction with Western Union last night using your debit card number.  Your checking account is fine, it was your card that was used. We are cancelling that card right now and will be sending you a new one which will arrive in the next 7 - 10 business days.

All well and fine, but what about my  money? - I'm thinking but didn't say anything, thought I'd heard the guy out and see what happens in such circumstances.  They are "temporarily" crediting my account with the money and it's up to a review department to determine whether I get to keep it or not.  Well what are you going to do about this fraud, the person that enacted it?  It was not very clear at that point.  Well getting my  money back even if temporarily was better than hearing so sorry, sob, you lose.  Actually, the two transactions were still showing pending, meaning the bank hasn't even cleared them yet.

Standing down now.  At least my account is safe and no more fraudulent transactions can occur, but there is still one question that I must somehow resolve: How did they get my debit card number?  The last place I used it was at Quik Trip - a gas station a mile away from my house in filling up Caleb's car.  I use cash more often than not, I use the debit card but sparingly.  I wonder if one of those things had been installed on the gas pump card reader that I have read about?  I don't remember looking at it that closely.

The other place was Auto Zone.  These are the last 2 places recently that I used the card.  My online bill paying is mostly through the checking account number, not the debit card.  So I don't know, but I am going to call or visit the gas station today to see if such electronic device might have been found on thei pumps, however, I think it would be difficult for a thief to do such a thing in a very well lit area at a place that is open 24 hours a day.  I don't know, really.

Just makes me happy that I check my accounts almost every single day.  I do it because of this potential: thieves getting in there and stealing.   I hate Western Union, btw, it is the Bank of Thieves.  They use that mode to steal more than anything.  Excepting the fact that I did not use Western Union, at all.

Edited:  I just got off the phone with Western Union who, as I figured, basically told me to go blow  - the money was taken out last night.  I was thinking someone local got a hold of my information.  I thought wrong.  Pasy, Philippines.  Some dude, at 11:57 pm last night, went to a convenience store in the Philippines and made these transactions.

Here's the real problem: HOW did this person get my debit card number?  An online transaction is my guess.  I'm going to have to go in an change the passwords on all accounts that I pay online.  The only other thing I have done is buy fish food from an eBay seller - I have been buying from this same person for a couple of years now.  I'm trying to wrap my mind as to how this person got my number and I just don't know.  That card has been cancelled, but that is no peace of mind if this person can just find out the new card number once I start using it. I pay my car payment and credit card payments online.  I also pay Direct TV; water bill; Century link internet and Verizon online as well.  Some of these use my bank account number, most of them use the debit card number now that I am thinking about it.

I'm racking my brain, 2cd edit here, attempting to figure out how, exactly this individual got a hold of my debit card number.  Is there malware installed on my computer I don't know about?  Odd occurence: a Windows update 3 or 4 days in a row now, attempting to install on my computer.  You know, those auotmatic updates that come from Microsoft?  That is not normal.  I'm going to have to back up the files I want to save on my deskto- which fortunately aren't that many - and delete and reinstall Windows 7 as a precaution.  I've been wanting to do that for a long time, anyway, I just found the motivation to do it.  I am giong to change all passwords on every online account and I am going to make sure they are all differnet passwords.  So I will have to write them all down.  I have virus protection, but is it good enough? At this point, I don't know.


And I am still worried about whether this "temporary" credit is going to remain.


Oh well.

ben