Debit Card # Got Stolen. Freakin' Out! What Do I Do?

Updated on August 03, 2012
N.G. asks from Arlington, TX
13 answers

I have NO idea how my debit card number got stolen, but they racked up $350 worth of charges from my account. It's a VISA debit card, so they were able to use it without my PIN. The bank will credit the charges back to my account, but now I feel freaked out. Should I not be paying my bills online? What else could they have had access to? The customer service rep at the bank assured me that they wouldn't have access to any of my other information having only stolen my card number, but this hasn't ever happened to me before. Should I call the police? Any advice is appreciated.

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answers from Washington DC on


I am SOOO sorry!! this happened to me when I was 7 months pregnant with Nicky. I went to lunch with some friends from work, then two days later, I went to pay for something and my card was denied. I called the bank - they had used my credit card number to purchase over $500 worth of stuff on-line (as he has my CIV number).

I went to the bank, filed a police report and tracked it back to the restaurant I had lunch at. They subsequently fired the server and helped the police track him down and he was arrested. I wasn't the only one this happened to.

What did the bank do? They changed my account number - not just the debit card, but the account number as well. It took about 3 weeks to get all the money back and then the overdraft fees for each transaction (even though I had savings - you know that if THEY have to transfer the money - they still charge you).

I would call the police. They can trace the charges back via IP addresses and you can place charges against the person or people!!!

Do NOT panic. DO NOT let some piss ant thief scare you!!! Take charge girlfriend !!!

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

First of all, I am glad you caught it when you did.

We've never had a debit card stolen but we've had credit card numbers stolen several times and it has always been resolved easily.

It happened at a restaurant in Arlington when my hubby took a client to lunch once. The waiter swiped his number and racked up $600 in charges.

There are so many scams, it is hard to trace how it got stolen.

The liklihood of them getting access to your banking is low, especially since the bank is now aware of the issue. Typically, you have to sign an affadavit saying that certain charges are not yours and those charges are reversed.

You might want to change your passcode for your online access just to be on the safe side. I pay personal bills online and I routinely switch passcodes for safety purposes.

I sign onto my bank and credit card daily to reconcile & check for anything that looks like fraud. It does not take much time and I stay on top of it that way. Since we run business and personal accounts, I deal with a lot of activity.

Another thought, when our credit card was swiped in Arlington, we were told by the credit card company that charges seem to end close to $600 because fraud charges over $600 and if the person is caught, the tougher the law is on them for penalty and fines.

Good luck and I am glad you caught it.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

There are so many ways they can get your number it just isn't funny. Some ATM machines they fit this scanner over the card swipe. Other times an employee will swipe the information and then swipe the charge.

My point is it can and will happen and most of the time they never figure out how. The best you can do is monitor your account and catch it quick.

Oh online bill paying is probably the safest use of your card. Probably the least safe, ordering pizza. The ordering pizza is because more people I know that was how someone got their information.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Oh God, am sorry it happened to you!
You already did the most important first step, which is contacting the bank and letting them know about the number getting stolen, and I hope you also gave them your proper last transaction using the card, so they'd know which ones belong to the fraud.
Paying bills is probably OK, but here's what my hubby always advises me to do - if you do use a debit card to pay bills online, use only with regular and known websites. Do not use a debit card with any unknown online shopping sites. After making any online transaction, always log out of the site and close the browser.
And, regardless of whether you used the debit card/credit card today, always check your card balances and accounts and recent transactions at least once in every 2-3 days. 15 minutes is worth the peace of mind.
I hope everything is in clear with your bank, and hope you feel calmer soon!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Jacksonville on

I worked in the banking industry for 10 years so here is what I can tell you.

There are hundreds of ways for people to get your card number. Some people have even figured out how to duplicate your card, create their own PIN and go to town. I've seen it happen. It's really crazy.

Your debit card and your bank account number are two separate things. Just closing the card should be sufficient. The bank will have you fill out some affidavits, (at least they should) saying that you will be willing to prosecute whomever is responsible. You can file a police report if you so choose.

I've had my card stolen too, once the card was closed I never had another problem.

Unfortunately with advancing technology comes advancing risks.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Get rid of your debit card, period.
I've had this happen 2x, and the amount of headaches caused when it's tied directly to your bank account sucks.
You need to take out fraud alerts with the credit agencies, too, in case your ID is tied in there.

Calling the police won't help. Unless they've used your card for something that payment defaulted on (like bought something really expensive, and walked out with it before payment was processed) you won't need a police report.

Stop using debit. With a credit card, you simply alert them of the fraud, get a new card, and you're done.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Raleigh on

You were probably skimmed at a restaurant or somewhere you would least expect- probably not online. Anytime anyone takes your card back for processing, they could be skimming your number. I know a handful of people this has happened to, so it's not uncommon.
However, always make sure that anywhere you put in a debit card # that it is encrypted. The URL will have https:// instead of http:// in the URL.
Hope this helps!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

This happened to me a few years ago. I'm sure your bank has advised you to close the account and start over with a new account number and new card.

My banker told me my debit card should never leave my hand... such as at a restaurant, store, etc. I should swipe it, enter my pin and that is it. He also told me I should probably just use a credit card with fraud protection, and pay it off every month. Much safer. That way thieves don't have direct access to your cash in your bank accounts. So that's what I do now. I don't use my debit card at all anymore.

My banker also told me it was necessary to call the police in order to make sure all the processing at the bank (the return of my money, etc.) went through. You need to file a police report. It won't do you any good personally, but it will help the bank work through the fraud report.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Been there. It sucks.

1. cancel the card.
2. go to the bank and ask for a report of the current charges. You will have to sign a paper that the following charges are fraudulent.

They will not freeze your account, but will freeze any charges coming in on that #, so you may need to go back or call every day for a week to approve charges.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I just had this happen to me (where my debit card number was "compromised"). You should request a new debit card from your bank and. It took me about 4 days to receive my new debit card. As long as your bank is crediting back your charges, I would not be scared to use your debit card for any online purchases/bill paying.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Huntsville on

There isn't much you can do. The bank will handle the fraud claim. I assume they have canceled your current card & issued you a new one?

The safest way to pay online is with an actual CREDIT card, not a debit card. That way you aren't losing money straight from your account. However, I'm not yet privileged with a "real" credit card lol But if you have one, use it online instead.

Still, swiping your debit card anywhere leaves the info with the store & that store's data system can be hacked. Ya just never know.



answers from Phoenix on




answers from New York on

Stop using that account until it's been straightened out and close it as soon as possible. There's no reason why you can't/shouldn't be paying your bills on line.

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