I was looking at my checking account online early this morning and noticed a charge I had not authorized from a place I have never heard of. Something called the Crystal Hotel in Miami, FL, for $1.73. They reversed the charges immediately, but it made me sit up and take notice. I called my bank's fraud line this morning and had my card cancelled. The bank was able to tell me that it is a hotel but I haven't been able to find it online. Hopefully some clerk was in a rush and entered the numbers incorrectly and this is all for naught.
We have had our money stolen via our debit card before. The last time my husband and I took a vacation we took our kids up to my in-laws in Virginia and then drove down to Atlanta and spent a very nice week at a posh five star hotel downtown. We saved up for over a year to pay for it. A scam artist in the form of a parking lot attendant got hold of the numbers from my husband's debit card and proceeded to bleed our bank account by having the card run through a hotel in some minuscule podunk town in South Carolina. Just getting it straightened out enough so we could check out of the hotel in Atlanta took several hours of phone calls that went all the way up to a corporate manager with our bank and required the police to verify our identities over the phone twice. Once we got back into town our local bank manager did verify that we were here, had a police report from Atlanta PD, and that we probably weren't at Jebeziah's No-Tell Motel in Bums' Rush, SC racking up charges. Apparently once our accounts ran dry they forgot to turn off whatever program they were using to automatically charge our card every hour to an hour and a half and it continued charging and bouncing until the local bank manager did something to block it. There were over a thousand dollars just in fees, and we were well over ten grand in the hole. Ultimately it took weeks to get everything figured out and get our bank account back into some semblance of normalcy. Fortunately I have a checking account that is seperate from the family checking they accessed and we were able to use mine in the interim so we were able to deposit paychecks and keep the bills paid and the kids fed but it was a very stressful time. We wound up mailing a few merchants money orders to pay for legitimate charges we made while on vacation that the bank mistakenly did a charge back on. Most of them were very understanding, especially since we were contacting them rather than their having to chase us down, but one quick lunch ended up costing us an extra $150.
Having my bank turn off my card and waiting while they mail me a new one will be inconvenient but it really seems the prudent thing to do.