Thursday, October 7, 2010

Someone's a Dirty Thief

One of my wife's bank card numbers fell into the hands of a dirty rotten thief. She pulled out some cash and discovered a much smaller balance than she expected.  When she got home she looked at her bank account and on October 1st six charges totaling $1200 hit her account.

I don't care who you are or what your financial situation...$1200 is a lot to steal from someone!

Both of us have had our other banks deal with fraudulent activity.

My credit union card has been killed and replaced three times because of it in the past 6 years.
  • One preventative. Their website was used in one of those email schemes where they ask you to follow the link to "your bank's website" and enter your account number in what is actually a dummy site created by crafty hackers.  I don't know if I was the reason, but I definitely reported that one when it crossed my inbox.  They went through and zapped every one's cards who were potentially affected.  Their online security measure got some serious upgrades within a month. 

  • Another time a giant online purchase tried to go through and they called to verify and I was not on the receiving end of that transaction.  

  • About a month ago my card was killed because someone in Florida and someone in Nevada tried to process a crap load of tiny charges on my card at the same time.  They were motels keying in larger and larger amounts each time building up to $50 before the fraud team noticed.  The bank zapped my card and refunded the charges immediately. I know who stole my card number too.  Little creep at the convenience store down the road from one of my stores.  Strangest transaction ever.  I even called my bank from the parking lot to have them check my account.  The fraud happened two days later.

My wife's other bank was hit by PayPal fraud.  Someone used her account on an online poker site for $500 a couple days before Christmas last year.  She filled out an online form and was contacted the same day.  Once they told her the source she yelled at me for making her set up a PayPal account...which she never used because it was too complicated...I ended up using my own for what ever that initial purchase was years ago.  Her bank immediately refunded the amount back and went after PayPal.  Apparently it is frequent with Online Gaming sites.

When my wife was laid off, she received unemployment.  Texas created her an account through Chase Bank to receive her funds.  She's never closed the account, though after tonight, she just might.  She called and they instructed her to write a letter to their card services department to file a report for unauthorized charges.  The said they shut off her account and would issue her a new card.  They will issue a good faith refund of the disputed charges two weeks following the letter's receipt pending further investigation.

Mail a letter?  Wait two weeks?  What the hell is this, the 80's?  Come on Chase!  Get with the modern world.

The customer service lady said all of the charges were keyed in manually.  Four of the charges were to a place called Sheetz.  Two of them were to a place called Martin General.  Both in Pittsburgh.

What the hell?  I went to Sheetz in Pittsburgh in February!  We bought ice one night.  We bought (a surprisingly good) breakfast one morning.  We also filled the tank up.  
Some little rat fink at Sheetz went in and stole a bunch of money from us!  My company has gone through some serious information protocol changes over the last few years.  Shredding isn't enough.  Now we have no access to customer's information on a normal basis and credit cards are gone the second the card is swiped.  No record ANYWHERE attainable.  What the hell is this (relatively modern and clean) convenience store doing with hard copies of credit card numbers in a store?  Who still batches card numbers anymore?

I blasted Sheetz a complaint and hit their Yelp and CitySearch pages too.  I know we weren't the only victims, they're guaranteed to be in a world of hurt soon once all of these charges start getting reversed.

Ever been a victim of identity theft?  Ever had someone steal from you at all?  Violated isn't the right term.  I'm pissed.  One of my employees tells me all the time how you should never give your debit card to someone or use it online, always use a credit card.  I'm starting to believe his paranoia may be founded in reality.

Follow Up Note 10-08-10
I was contacted back by Sheetz Security Operations Department.  They got some info from me and said I needed to file a local police report.  Local police in Austin, Texas of course are like, "we'll file the report, but because it's out of our jurisdiction, (no joke Pennsylvania is out of your jurisdiction) we won't pursue it further.  But you can talk to our Financial Crimes unit if you wish."  Yeah, thanks.

So I did some research further and found that Martin General is the store front version of Martin Oil.

Their security department was much more interested in catching their criminal.  Their Alexandria, PA location is where the diesel transactions came trough.  The headquarters for Sheetz is only 15 minutes away.  So maybe it's higher up than I expected. 

My theory is that someone comes in and fills up their giant truck tank and pays cash.  The little crook with a well crafted scam takes that cash and finds a card that can hold the amount of the transaction.  Bam you have a lot of money!


  1. This might come as a big surprise, but I actually have a rambling story regarding someone stealing from me... Probably too much to post in a comment, but I'll sum it up by saying that my wallet was stolen from out of a parked vehicle about five years ago and my bank account was completely drained and then some, because they went past zero. (Stupid overdraft protection.)

    That sucked major donkey balls, so I definitely know what it's like.

    It pisses me off that some people actually do shit like that. If you want to be lazy or whatever, fine, but don't take from those of us who are actually trying, you know?

  2. Exactly! That does suck Donkey Balls! Working the system is one thing...very bad, but straight taking from another individual is just low low low.

    My mother's purse was stolen from her car because she inexplicably forgot we didn't live in a small town. She was in and out of the convenience store to pay for gas in under 2 minutes. (before the era of swipe at the pump)

    The theives racked up $16,000 (yes that's sixteen thousand) in different transactions at Best Buy and Wal-Mart using checks. Coincidentally they used the same cashier at Best Buy. I don't recall the outcome, but I do know the bank helped them out for a while.

    That came back to bite them 10 years later when they moved to another state and were buying a house.