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Who would ever think that having a son in college could save you money?

by Greg Miller

Our oldest son is finishing up his sophomore year at NC State. Like most parents with kids in college, I check his checking account balance on a regular basis as his funding source.

Last Thursday, I went online to transfer another $100 to his account to get him through the balance of the semester. When I opened up our personal account, I thought the balance was low. In the pending transactions were two ATM withdrawals from the night before, one for $402 and one for $202, both of them two minutes apart at an ATM machine in WEST PALM BEACH FLORIDA AT A PUBLIX PHARMACY.
Here is what was on my computer screen.


I immediately knew my account had been hacked in some manner but did not know how. I called my local bank and we quickly discovered that my DEBIT card had been used at an ATM machine. We could not figure out how both my card number and my PIN had been scammed. The banker immediately “hotcarded” my debit card , making it inactive. He instructed me to report this to the Bank’s fraud department which I did.

I googled the address and found that the card had been used at the ATM in the Publix Pharmacy in West Palm Beach, Florida. Nobody in my family has been anywhere near this location. In fact, I only use my debit card locally for cash withdrawals at the bank and for local purchases as a check card at the grocery store, hardware store, dry cleaners, etc. I never use the debit card to order anything online or over the phone.

I still do not know how my debit card number and the PIN were scammed.

Several rules to take from this:
• Use online banking and check all your accounts, including credit card accounts, at least once a week
• Review your bank statement every month as soon as you get it. You only have a set time to dispute any items with the bank.
• Never use a debit card for online purchases or purchases outside of your local area. Use a credit card instead for these purchases.
• Know your bank’s policies on stolen or misused debit and credit cards. The rules differ between debit and credit cards.


One comment on “Who would ever think that having a son in college could save you money?

  1. […] Partner Gregory D. Miller, CPA shared his personal experience with identity theft in a blog entry from May […]

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