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Debit Card Fraud and TD

This is from 2008 when my wife’s debit card had been compromised.

Past little while I have been ranting about the poor service I get from the Toronto Dominion bank and their various parts, but if I feel it is my right to write that kind of article, I must also point out when they do an excellent job as well.

Victim of Debit Card Fraud

Yup, Mrs. Big Cajun Man’s debit card was compromised some time in the past 3 months, and on Tuesday my bank account was almost cleaned out before the TD security tap turned off the fraudulent withdrawals.

Toronto Dominion

How did this happen? I have no idea, because my wife has her debit card (which is now void and unusable) still in her wallet, so my guess is she was a victim of one of the many “bogus debit machine” frauds that have been happening lately. My limited understanding is that the machine or the connection to the machine is compromised in some way, so that the ID number from the debit card and the PIN number can be taken, and then this information is used to create a fraudulent version of the card complete with PIN, which the criminals then use at debit machines to remove money from the unsuspecting folks bank accounts.

The Toronto Dominion security bureau called my wife to ask if she was in fact in Montreal, taking money out at an alarming rate? Since my wife answered the phone, the answer was “No”, and thus the TD security group leaped into action and has shut off the access point and has referred this to the authorities for their action.

This does leave me with a massive whole in my finances, as the culprits got the money out before they could be stopped, and TD will only reimburse me (once it is proven to be a fraud) in 7-10 business days, so I am now living on my credit until I get my money back.

This disturbs me, because I kept thinking this only happened when you weren’t diligent with your card security, but I know my wife is diligent and this still happened, so now I am going to have to rethink security for my finances, because if this can happen once, it can easily happen again.

Financial Security Measures

A few ideas have come to mind, however, any other ideas from my intelligent and diligent readers would be appreciated as well:

  1. Make sure that only necessary accounts are available from my bank card.
  2. Set up daily limits on withdrawals which is much lower so when this happens again (and it will) the damage will not be as bad.
  3. Be more diligent watching my bank balances on line
  4. Be more diligent with my on line banking passwords as well.
  5. Use CASH more often! That was a suggestion from Michael James on Money as well.

Thanks Toronto Dominion , good job catching this and hopefully good job refunding me the defrauded funds.

I would ask, “What else could go wrong?”, but I have asked that question once too often and, far too often, I found out the answer is, “Much more and worse things!”.

Feel Free to Comment

  1. I only use bank atms and STILL got skimmed. So now I refuse to use any atm machines ever now. Cash withdrawn from a human teller or credit card only since credit card companies are much better at dealing with fraudulent charges.

  2. I just found out today that my card was compromised and a $480 withdrawal was made in a St. Huberts’ BMO ATM in Montreal, Quebec. Oddly i never got a call from RBC to ask if i had magically flown to Montreal to make a huge withdrawal. In any case, i went to an RBC kiosk and saw after i’d made a bill payment, that i only had $400 in my account…this was strange as i hadn’t withdrawn any money since i got paid the friday before. I printed out a mini statement and saw a “WD” of $480. Called RBC and asked them about it and after explaining it was definitely not me, they informed me that there had been more attempts right after that WD…luckily they were rejected since my daily cash wd limit is $500. I was assured by the Security Dept that they would investigate and get back to me within 7-10business days. Hopefully i get back what i’m out. Note: I suspect my card was compromised at the Cineplex Odeon in Fairview beware.

  3. I just found out my debit card has been compromised and I bank with PC Financial. Thankfully, I caught it after 1 transaction, but I am still out of the money and am in overdraft.

    PC has told me a CIBC banking rep will get back to me “within 4 business days” so I am out of pocket until someone gets back to me. As well, they will only reimburse me for the money lost “if it’s found the transaction was fraudulent”.

    After this experience, I think I will start to use my credit card more and carry a bit more cash for emergencies 🙁

  4. Like Ghostryder, I only use my debit card in official bank ATMs only.

    I use my credit card for everything else. If my credit card is compromised, at least I am not ‘out of pocket’ for 7-10 days. It is just a call to the credit card company to reverse the charges. All (or at least most) of the cards now have that ‘zero liability’ feature.

    So my advice is don’t use debit at stores, private ATMs, etc… Go to a ‘respected’ ATM. I also don’t tend to use any ATMs with outside access as someone could have put a reader on it. I use the indoor ATMs.

    Plus, you may as well collect points while you buy.

  5. I never use my debit card anywhere but my bank’s machines. And usually only for deposits, or on the rare occasion I need cash to go to the farmer’s market. I use visa for everything. If it is used fraudulently my liability is limited.

  6. Happened to my wife a couple years back on her credit card; TD was very good about getting the money back an investigating. I’ve even gotten a call from bank when I used my card after taking a long long break from charging anything. Its good to know they’re diligent about this.

    Hopefully you’ll get your money back quickly.

  7. Although some suggest credit cards are more easily compromised, I still prefer to use the CC and not the Debit Card when making purchases for the reason you indicated. The Credit card is not linked to any other accounts. I use the Debit Card to access cash withdrawals at branches of my bank or at one particular branch in the States if I need exchange.

    I also keep ALL my transaction records. This makes it clear to the bank if I were to have unexpected transactions occur, the paper trail is complete!

    I have found that by using a single card for most or all purchases, it has also prevented being called by the bank to confirm transactions. Thus a trail of transactions (airfare, hotel, meals, banking transactions) to and from a destination does not cause the alarm that an unusual transaction in a distant location would.

    I also review my monthly statement to confirm all transactions.


  8. The 7-10 business day delay to “prove” it is fraud before you get your money back is interesting. It seems unlikely that this case will ever be proven to be fraud. The fraudster probably won’t be caught and all the bank will have is your word and the unusual pattern of spending. I’d like to know the real reason for waiting this long to restore the money. I wonder how much you will pay in interest on the borrowing you’ll have to do in the interim.

  9. I had a similar experience with my credit card. Credit card fraud is even easier than debit card because you don’t even need to enter a pin to use it. I actually blame the credit card companies for not introducing more secure measures, Granted, Visa didn’t dispute the charge and handled it promptly but it was a major inconvenience to order a new card, wait 10 days for it to arrive and resetting the pre-payments.

    I learned that someone used my credit card in Georgia US at a gas station when I tried to pay for a burger and the transaction was declined. I have no idea how the credit card was copied because I didn’t do any suspicious shopping.

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