UPDATE TO: RISKS Of Online Banking, and What Just Happened To Us In Fort Lauderdale (A $20,000 theft was in fact attempted! Details in 6th post down)

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    Aug 14, 2012 3:37 PM GMT
    A cautionary tale if you conduct your banking online. My partner couldn't open his bank account online yesterday morning (Mon), and it wouldn't allow him to reset his passcode. So we went over to our local branch, and learned their corporate fraud division had done an online account block due to suspicious activity. No money had been stolen yet.

    The account was reactivated, only to be blocked again in the afternoon, when an unauthorized attempt was made to change the e-mail address associated with it. More things then happened that I won't discuss here yet, with investigations now ongoing. But I can say that it seems to be happening in the Fort Lauderdale area to others.

    Your bank credit or debit card will continue to operate (until your account is depleted), so you may not know otherwise until you find your online account has been blocked, or the passcode changed. To help prevent against fraud:

    - Change your passcode often, and use a high-strength one
    - Check your account often, to insure its integrity
    - Run virus programs on your computers that check for phishing malware
    - Do not use unsecured and unencrypted WiFi for banking

    Ask your bank:
    - About their online fraud protection policies, what their liability is, and what your own responsibilities are
    - If using their own banking app for mobile devices offers increased security compared to using a browser to access your account
    - If their online banking software rejects access from unknown computers, even when provided with the correct account name and passcode, and if this is configurable
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    Aug 14, 2012 3:51 PM GMT
    Good lookin' out Art..!! Thanks..
    (i really want that hat!)

  • Aug 14, 2012 3:55 PM GMT
    I've had my share of fraudulent transactions in the past and have discovered a wonderful feature my bank (Regions) offers. They have a section in their online banking where you can sign up for text alerts. Alerts for low balance, each transaction, etc .... Now when I buy something with my debit card, I generally have a text message on my phone before I can get the card back in my wallet.

    This came in handy when someone cloned my card (presumably at a restaurant) recently. I got the text and knew it was not one of my charges and was able to contact the bank and stop the transactions before any damage could be done.

    Not REALLY the same issue, but kinda related so thought I'd throw it out there in case someone wasn't aware of this service. I'm sure many banks offer it.


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    Aug 14, 2012 4:05 PM GMT
    MemphisShowOff said...
    This came in handy when someone cloned my card (presumably at a restaurant) recently. I got the text and knew it was not one of my charges and was able to contact the bank and stop the transactions before any damage could be done.

    Not REALLY the same issue, but kinda related so thought I'd throw it out there in case someone wasn't aware of this service. I'm sure many banks offer it.

    I've never had any issue with online banking. I usually log on when I'm at work and here we have 'corporate strength' security. But thats a good feature to have. I'll be checking if my bank offers that.

    As for cloning your card that happens with the cards that have a magnetic stripe. I almost always use my credit card with the chip technology when I pay. I almost always use the bank card at the ATM and extremely rarely to make any payment.
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    Aug 14, 2012 4:26 PM GMT
    A few years back, I had a rash of fraudulent charges to my debit accounts, both personal and business. I had to get replacements about four times within two years. At the time, I thought it was kids working at local business stealing the numbers, but now I'm pretty sure it was leaks in the bank's security.

    At the same time, I've been locked out of my accounts several times due to "suspicious charges." None of these charges were ever fraudulent and the bank has never correctly identified one of the fraudulent charges. My conclusion is that the bank is not very good at this.

    At least, they should call you up and TELL YOU when they freeze your account. Seems like a no-brainer.
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    Aug 14, 2012 9:23 PM GMT
    UPDATE TUESDAY: The crook(s) almost managed to transfer $20,000 out of one of the business accounts late yesterday (Mon), fortunately only a small fraction of the total, and it failed anyway. And their intermediate transfer target was my partner's own personal savings account.

    Bank security thinks it was a way to more easily cover the transaction until they ultimately moved the money out of his accounts entirely, a tactic I don't really understand. And they say it's common to move a series of smaller amounts at first, rather than the entire 7-figure amount, to confirm the crooks can do it and because of various checks in the system that watch for very large transfers.

    But the bank stopped this anyway, because it was attempted just as we were leaving the branch manager's office, when the account was already frozen. So today the bank decided to change all the account numbers yet again.

    In fact, the $20,000 transfer attempt came right after a fake phone call by the crooks was made, TO US! We were just finishing at the Vice President's desk when my partner's cell phone rang. Being busy, he asked me to take it.

    "Mr. Xxxxxx please." "Mr. Xxxxxx is not available at the moment. And who is calling, please?" "This is [bank name] and we need to speak with him about his account." "Well he's at the bank right now, speaking with a Vice President about his account, so..." CLICK

    Today we were told that the attempt to transfer the $20,000 came just 4 minutes after that call, per the phone's date/time stamp. No one is sure why, maybe they were hoping to beat the bank before the business accounts were frozen, another explanation for their moving the money to the personal account until their ultimate receiving target was ready. Right now the business account remains locked down, and no more activity can occur.

    We're told that a number of these attacks on other accounts came from the same source in the same time period, so it appears we weren't the sole targets. For the time being the bank has these accounts under special surveillance, so a recurrence is deemed unlikely. And credit bureaus have been notified to also watch for any evidence of identity theft in transactions they monitor, and likewise Social Security is involved. Hopefully my partner's safe at present. What a nightmare!
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    Aug 14, 2012 9:30 PM GMT
    Sounds like an inside job.

    Close your accounts and reopen them at a different branch.
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    Aug 14, 2012 9:32 PM GMT
    im stuffing my money in my mattress from now on
  • metta

    Posts: 39104

    Aug 14, 2012 9:39 PM GMT
    The thieves are getting very clever. I have had a few calls for my business telling me that I owed money for some kind of advertising that I never signed up for. They tried to tell me that they have a signed contract with required annual payments. They asked me to pay for it and I told them no. They asked me if I wanted them to give this to their legal department and I told them that I don't care. I have never heard of them and I know when I sign contracts. I have more proof that it was totally fake...lol...but I wont get into that.

    And then I have had problems with the solicitors coming to my door...I ended up putting a no solicitors sign at my door because the only way I could get rid of them was to give them money. I know that some of them were down right lying. They just don't take no...no matter how many times I tell them. And I hate being rude. So now I can just point to the sign when they ask. I live on private streets and we are not supposed to get solicitors but we still manage to get them.
  • Import

    Posts: 7190

    Aug 14, 2012 10:15 PM GMT
    do u bank with Bank Atlantic?
  • Kipstrdl

    Posts: 162

    Aug 14, 2012 10:19 PM GMT
    Art_Deco said

    "Mr. Xxxxxx please." "Mr. Xxxxxx is not available at the moment. And who is calling, please?" "This is [bank name] and we need to speak with him about his account." "Well he's at the bank right now, speaking with a Vice President about his account, so..." CLICK


    Get an investigator to find out where that call came from and nail those bastards
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    Aug 14, 2012 10:41 PM GMT
    metta8 saidThe thieves are getting very clever. I have had a few calls for my business telling me that I owed money for some kind of advertising that I never signed up for. They tried to tell me that they have a signed contract with required annual payments.


    This isn't a problem exclusive to scam companies or fly by night operations. I used to do business with a certain telecommunications company (I won't name them, but they have two letters from the alphabet and an ampersand). One of their contractors actually Photoshopped my signature from a document I signed onto a document I'd never seen before.
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    Aug 15, 2012 12:47 AM GMT
    Kipstrdl said
    Art_Deco said"Mr. Xxxxxx please." "Mr. Xxxxxx is not available at the moment. And who is calling, please?" "This is [bank name] and we need to speak with him about his account." "Well he's at the bank right now, speaking with a Vice President about his account, so..." CLICK

    Get an investigator to find out where that call came from and nail those bastards

    It didn't take an investigator for the first step. The number was displayed on my partner's iPhone. I ran it through an online number search program, and it delivered landlines with 2 names at 2 different addresses in Fort Lauderdale, possibly a result of a recent account change. That information is now in the hands of professional criminal investigators.
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    Aug 15, 2012 12:53 AM GMT
    Credit union. Kthxbai.
  • Vaughn

    Posts: 1880

    Aug 15, 2012 1:24 AM GMT
    Someone made a copy of the magnetic strip on my debit card from a gas station pump. They also got my code by replacing the number pad on the pump. Thee took out 3 grand, which is way over the limit I set, from a casino. This pissed me off even more because the bank shouldn't be making exceptions to our agreement unless I authorized it. Don't trust gas station pumps which do not give you gas after accepting your card.
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    Aug 15, 2012 2:00 AM GMT
    LIEV saidCredit union. Kthxbai.
    Yeah baby! You got that right!
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    Aug 15, 2012 2:16 AM GMT
    Anocxu saidGood lookin' out Art..!! Thanks..
    (i really want that hat!)

    You're welcome!

    And have a hat of your own. They're Henschel, available online. I bought my first in Key West, when my cancer meds made me sensitive to the strong sun there. Now I buy them online, because I like the look, and keeping the Florida sun off my face is still a good idea for a White guy. You're blessed with a natural sun resistance that I lack, but style applies to everyone. Check out their hats:

    http://www.henschelhats.com
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    Aug 15, 2012 2:42 AM GMT
    LIEV saidCredit union. Kthxbai.
    Just wait till you're at a gas pump with a hidden strip that swipes your card.

    That happened to me earlier this year. Fortunately the bank refunded all that I lost (only in the four figure range - nowhere near 20K), but it was still inconvenient.

    Now I have two checking/atm accounts...one for emergencies (quasi savings account) and one for everyday use and bills.
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    Aug 15, 2012 2:44 AM GMT
    When it happened to me, the first sign was usually a half dozen small "test" charges. $5 to greenpeace, $4 to WWF, $5 to PETA, and the like. Or a dozen $2 transfers to some concert ticket trading site. Either they were just testing the card number, or they were doing thousands tiny transfers at a time.

    The one that I couldn't figure out was when "my wife" ordered up hundreds of dollars of stuff from two or three stores. And had it delivered to an address that didn't exist, but would be a couple of miles up the road from me. WTF? Obviously they had quite a bit of specific information about me. But how could they make money on that?
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    Aug 15, 2012 3:08 AM GMT
    mindgarden saidWhen it happened to me, the first sign was usually a half dozen small "test" charges. $5 to greenpeace, $4 to WWF, $5 to PETA, and the like. Or a dozen $2 transfers to some concert ticket trading site. Either they were just testing the card number, or they were doing thousands tiny transfers at a time.

    The one that I couldn't figure out was when "my wife" ordered up hundreds of dollars of stuff from two or three stores. And had it delivered to an address that didn't exist, but would be a couple of miles up the road from me. WTF? Obviously they had quite a bit of specific information about me. But how could they make money on that?
    Welcome to the world of identity theft. Mine were charges from USPS locations that didn't exist.
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    Aug 15, 2012 3:10 AM GMT
    Happened to me too. They started with a few small charges of $2-$5. then they order Gevalia coffee to be delivered to my house. When I got home from vacation, there it was sitting on my doorstep. Then they ordered prescription glasses and frames. I got a call asking me for my prescription so they could send them to me. Then they ordered something else to be sent to my home, but I had been to the bank and closed out the account by then. They had all of my account numbers, address, phone number and even knew the address and phone number of the store I worked in.

    I also had this happen with a credit card a few years ago and they went to a store in the Detroit area and bought a $3500 large screen TV. When the bill came, I called the bank and they said that my wife had gotten a second card from the bank to use because she was moving back to the Detroit area and was setting up a house. I told them that I did not have a wife and I had just moved to Phoenix and no intention of moving to the Detroit area. The lady on the other end of the line said "WHAT! NO WIFE! yep, no wife, however, I do have a boyfriend and he is sitting here next to me. Would you like to talk to him?
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    Aug 15, 2012 3:13 AM GMT
    I stopped writing personal checks to ANYBODY who isn't my landlord or the federal government a few years ago. Might be worth considering now that they're profoundly useful. icon_rolleyes.gif

    I love Norton360 antivirus. It's worth the $80 a year I pay to cover three machines.

    The third machine is on my desk at work (god help me if IT finds out..)

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    Aug 15, 2012 3:26 PM GMT
    mindgarden saidWhen it happened to me, the first sign was usually a half dozen small "test" charges.

    Thats the usual MO. They do 1 or 2 tiny withdraws to see if the account is accessible. These transactions usually go unnoticed and people done really look at their statements. Especially nowadays where the statement is online. Who logs on every month and reads their statement? Once they can access the account then they move in and clean you out.
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    Aug 15, 2012 3:32 PM GMT
    TellMeMoar said
    mindgarden saidWhen it happened to me, the first sign was usually a half dozen small "test" charges.

    Thats the usual MO. They do 1 or 2 tiny withdraws to see if the account is accessible. These transactions usually go unnoticed and people done really look at their statements.


    That is what happened to me, a £1 charity donation 'test' charge, but my bank's security system jumped on it straight away and they blocked my card and called me to let me know.