Crooks Stole Your Personal Bank Information From PIN Pads

Using debit cards at Michaels craft stores caused major headaches for a lot of folks like Cody Alexander.
Cody says, "Somebody had been trying to spend money in our account."

He and many others learned crooks had tried or were successful at taking hundreds, even thousands of dollars from their checking accounts over the weekend.

We're told banks and credit unions will return the money, but the hassle remains.

Those who are affected... customers who used Michaels pinpads to pay for items at Michaels from February 8th through May 6th of this year.

Jennifer Carson says, "It's my money and someone is stealing it and I don't know. It feels very eerie."

Edgar Johnson explains, "It's extremely scary when someone can get into your account. They haven't touched your card and you haven't handed it to anybody."

So how can we protect ourselves from crooks who have compromised store pinpads or even put skimmers on gas station pumps? Retired FBI agent Jeff Lanza says don't use debit cards at all.

Jeff says, "A debit card makes you more vulnerable. They can take all the money out of your bank account without your knowledge and then you have to fight to get the money back from your bank. It's much better if you use a credit card."

Jeff believes credit cards offer more protection. They're not tied into your checking account and won't hold up the use of your money like debit cards will.

Jeff travels the country advising banks and businesses how to better protect themselves from criminals. He says no system is fool-proof.

He adds, "Unfortunately it's like the cold war. You know it's escalating so they do a better job of protecting and the crooks do a better job of hacking."

Jeff also also says police your accounts using the online function.
Every couple of days log on and look for suspicious charges way in advance of getting your statements.

Ironically, I just learned today my card was compromised. It's not connected to the Michaels situation.

I was told to properly dispose of it I could either shred it with a high powered shredder, use a strong magnet across the magnetic stripe to deactivate it, or cut it into several pieces, chopping through the name, account number, expiration date, and security code.

Finally don't put all the card pieces into one trash bag. Separat them and put them into a couple of different trash bags.

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  • by Kate Location: Colorado Springs on Jun 23, 2011 at 08:04 AM
    Mine was charged to AT&T Estore, which I did not use... Two charges of $150. I DO check online and caught it in time - I don't think it was related to Michael's, but it could have been. So inconvenient, because using a credit card means it's harder to not acquire more debt unless you make constant transfers...
  • by CW Location: Colorado Springs on Jun 21, 2011 at 07:35 AM
    I was also a victim of this situation with michae's Craft store. But I had no reason to believe my account was compromised until my husband who is serving over seas called me early sunday morning angered and to call the bank to see what these withdrawls were on our account. Over $600 dollars was taken. We work to hard to have what we have and to think it is that easy for someone to take it away.
  • by Anonymous on Jun 21, 2011 at 06:34 AM
    Very sorry to hear. Good wise information from the federal reserve. Use your online banking daily. Multiple times a day even. According to the federal reserve you have 24 hours to catch fraudulent charges and dispute them. The bank will return the money in "provisional credit" while the investigation goes on. At th very most, you will be held liable for $50. If you do not catch the fraudulent charges in the first 24 hours, you could be liable for the first $500 of the disputed charges. So, if your bank issues you provisional credit, at the end of the investigation, you could be liable for up to $50 or $500, depending on when you caught the fraudulent charges and filed a complaint. Please see the federal reserves website for details. We went through this with DirecTV when they stole over $800 the day after Thanksgiving.
  • by HB Location: CO on Jun 20, 2011 at 10:27 PM
    They stole 2093.20 from us, I hope we get reimbursed, didn't receive a call from the bank, they are doing an investigation. Well I'm thinking no more debit cards. I hope this person(s)get caught and rang through the ringer......messing with every bodies money..
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