A Cautionary Tale
My friend got slammed right away. There was a call about why a check hadn’t come. Then there was a notice from her bank that a large transfer of money went to pay a credit card (that she did not have) in another state. Later her financial advisor called her and asked if she were planning to move. Someone had done a change of address for her and now all of her mail (including bank statements and credit card bills) were going to another address out of state. This is just a short story of her hell and it is still ongoing.
It’s June now. I thought that for whatever reason, I had dodged the bullet. When my friend started having her difficulty, I did go to my bank and see if I should change may account. We decided to put in warning checks instead. Every day I got an activity statement from my bank and an alert was put on any money transfer over $125. So, a week ago, when I opened my email, there was an alert. Almost $4000 was transferred to Sun Trust Visa (which I do not have). If I had not made this transfer I was to click “here.” Being skeptical of anything wanting me to click “here” I went directly to my banking account and yes, there was this transfer – pending. I did contact the bank via phone and told them I had not authorized the transfer. I was at my bank when it opened and discovered that pending just meant it hadn’t gone through yet (the transfer was done at 2:00 am) but that it would go. I was assured that I would get the money back but now, of course, I had to change my account. But before I did that, I was to do a thorough virus scan on all my devices, change my passwords, and file a police report. Then I could come back and open a new account. Meanwhile, my account was frozen so I needed to see what outstanding checks had not been cashed and let those people know just to tear them up and I would reissue checks when I could.
Now, I do have a new account. I am still waiting on my new debit card and checks. Both should come soon.
What I have learned:
Never ever ever put checks in your mailbox
Try to write as few checks as possible
95% of all breaches are due to paper fraud – not electronic
When someone has your check, they do not want to cash it – they just want your router number and your address
The lag time for me probably meant that whoever stole the checks sold my information to someone else
The police file a report but it is not worth their resources to do much else
Even though I will get the money back, I lost a great deal of time and because I did not trust myself, I had the expense of having my tech guy to the virus scans
So be careful – very careful.
Jonda S. Beattie Professional Organizer