I received this email (edited for this post) from a reader about a debit card scam that is apparently real and spreading across the country. Just another sign of tough economic times as criminals go to extreme measures to make a buck by taking advantage of the unsuspecting and innocent. What was striking to me about this scam is how easy and effective it is. I know I could easily have been a victim.
I want to let you all know that Frank (my husband) and I have been the victims of debit card fraud this week and felt I should warn you all about the horrible but effective scam we fell for. Here’s how we got scammed:
Last Wednesday I had a phone call late morning from Express Couriers to ask if I was going to be home as they had a delivery for me. They said a delivery agent would be there in roughly an hour. The agent turned up with a beautiful basket of flowers and wine. I expressed my surprise as I wasn’t expecting anything like this and said I was intrigued to know who was sending me such a lovely gift. He (the delivery agent) said he was only delivering the gift and the card was being sent separately (the card has never arrived). There was a consignment note with the gift.
He went on to explain that because the gift contained alcohol he has to charge the recipient a token amount of $3.50 as proof that he has actually delivered to an adult, and not left it on a door step if the recipient is out, to be stolen or taken by children. This seemed logical and I offered to get the cash. He then said that the company required the payment to be made electronically so that he’s not handling cash and everything is properly accounted for. Frank was there and got his debit card and the delivery agent swiped it on this small mobile machine that also had a touch screen upon which Frank entered in his pin number. A receipt was printed out and given to us. This card reading machine was similar to what UPS or Fedex have when they deliver to our place so we thought nothing of it at this point. I wish we had.
Between last Thursday and Monday $4,000 was withdrawn from our savings account at ATM machines around our local area. It appears a dummy credit card was made using the details in the machine and of course, they had Frank’s pin number. The bank has stopped our cards and I’ve been to the Police this morning where they confirmed that it is a definite scam and many households were being hit coming into the holiday season. I have filed a claim with the bank to get my money back and it is currently under review. However with our tight financial situation, not having access to four thousand dollars worth of savings is definitely going to make us late on some bills, which means more late fees.
So PLEASE be wary of accepting a gift you’re not expecting especially if the card is not with it and they are asking you for a debit or credit card verification payment. We’ve all received gifts like this and would never dream that it could be such a despicable act. Please also let others know about this terrible scam [You can email this article to them]. Hopefully, these fraudsters have ceased this activity by now but you never know. P.S. I don’t think I’ll ever drink the wine – I’d probably choke on it!
Editor: It is an unfortunate that the worst of times brings out the worst in people. So be on the look out and never ever give your financial information or details to people/companies you do not know. It is better to be safe than sorry.