From Where I Sit – Suspicious Activity

If pressed we can all list a few ways we’ve had a perfectly good day ruined. It may be a flat tire, an extra long lineup at Tim Horton’s, car trouble, power outage, or other such nuisance. Most of us quickly bounce back from these petty irritants.

So, let me tell you about my Monday. A personal banker at my local credit union called me on my cellphone. I didn’t know how she’d gotten my number or, more importantly, why she’d tracked me down. It soon became clear.

She said the fraud department had noticed some suspicious activity on our business account. It appears that in late January at an Edmonton business the information on my debit card was skimmed. Fraud investigators noticed that on February eighth, twice on the ninth, and again on the tenth, cash withdrawals were made at ATMs in Montreal. It continued until the account was cleaned out.

I was stunned, in shock, pissed off, not necessarily in that order. I called my husband to warn him not to use his card because any purchase would be declined. He worried that automatic debits may be dishonoured because of lack of funds. ?don’t worry we won’t bounce anything,? was the reassurance from the bank.

On Tuesday I did the police report in Edmonton. I approached the counter, made a fist, pounded the counter, and declared I was a victim of crime. The duty cop pounded his fist in reply. The next step is taking a copy of the report back to the credit union and swearing an affidavit saying it wasn’t me who withdrew all that cash in Quebec. We won’t be out the money because of the bank’s insurance coverage. Small comfort for this invasion of privacy and inconvenience.

When I had more time to think, I was grateful we hadn’t yet received and deposited a large cheque we’ve got coming. The little bastards would have gotten a windfall. I then wondered what would have happened on an account with an authorized overdraft. They could’ve kept going ?til the overdraft limit was reached.

How did the sleazebags do it? At least one policeman I spoke to says It’s organized crime. When I looked at my slips from that day in the city I narrowed down the likely business. The card had been swiped twice because supposedly the first time it wasn’t approved. It seems quite often they use two machines and the owner and staff are in on it. They’ve got the means to somehow get the pin number as well. The duty officer who took my report predicted the creeps in Quebec used small convenience store ATMs because they don’t have cameras.

Dear reader, be aware, this does happen to ordinary folks doing ordinary business. I know we need to make some changes in how we do business. Being a victim of crime sucks, from where I sit.