Thursday, January 01, 2009

DC Examiner editor reports misuse of her own debit card: a cautionary tale

On January 1, 2009 the DC Examiner runs a particularly chilling story on p 19 about a personal experience of design editor, Joana Suleiman. The title of the article is “Hunting ME down: A needed wake-up call for card users”. The article is not yet available online.

Ms. Suleiman received a call that enormous amounts of electronics purchases had been charged to her debit card in Britain. When she looked up her accounts online, she found that all of her checking and savings had been depleted. It took two months for her money to be restored. Of course, one of her first steps was to place fraud alerts and security freezes with the three major credit reporting agencies.

The only “bad habit” she had was using her debit card online. She had a home and work firewall, didn’t visit risky sites, didn’t answer phishing emails. She also used a credit monitoring service and never had an negative reports. Had a credit card been misused instead of debit card, she simply could have disputed the charges.

People who use debit cards in stores should visit their accounts frequently (especially when on the road) to look for any unexplained charges or debits.

Update: Jan 5, 2009

The article is now available online at the Examiner, here, as an Opinion piece.

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