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SanDee 02-11-2012 10:19 PM

Debit/Credit Card Users Beware!
We took an NCL cruise out of Miami On Dec 4th 2011. My husband used his debit card at 2 places in the Bayside marketplace. 1 at the Perfumeria and also at the ATM in the food court. Now I do not know if it is pure coincidental but on Feb 7 and 8 our Bank acct was completely drained and all charges were done in the Miami area to a tune of $2,400.00. Home Depot $750.00, Walmart $650.00+, Exxon $57.00, Walmart $300.00+ and 3 $200.00 ATM withdrawals. The bank informed us that there were several declines that we could not see on our acct. They also explained that this did not necessarily happen at the ATM or perfume store but could have happened at the c.c processing dept. It possibly could have happened here and sold to someone in Miami since these transactions happened 2 months after the card was used there. My gut says it happened in Miami. My husband almost never uses this card and when he does they are very small charges like a haircut or a couple groceries or maybe a bite to eat but never large purchases. This is just a warning to any cruisers who visit the Bayside Marketplace to be cautious with your cards. Sometimes I hate all the technology we have today. It has allowed these lowlifes to steal our identities and live off their pay dirt. Sad thing is most cc companies write it off saying it costs to much to pursue them.

Dave 02-12-2012 12:08 PM

How awful for you. I think you are correct that it happened in Miami and probably at the ATM in the food court which the thieves may have had rigged with a skimming device.

SanDee 02-12-2012 06:15 PM

Dave there was a sign on the ATM that said [ cover your pin]. Not sure if they had problems in the past. It also was one of those off the wall ATMs and not a Wells Fargo or B of A type ATM. The Bayside Marketplace is a good place for thieves as there are so many tourists and cruisers.

penny3333 02-13-2012 08:22 AM

I'm so sorry this happened SanDee, what a horrible thing. I absolutely abhor people that do this. I had it happen to me in Colorado via a bank ATM. Someone had put a skimmer in the ATM. It looked just like a normal slot, but they had actually put a fake front on the machine. They drained my checking account. Thankfully, it was before payday, so there wasn't much in there to drain. It was a mess to straighten out though!

SanDee 02-13-2012 12:59 PM

Penny, I think that is probably what happened though I do try to check to see if there is a skimmer. I really think that is where it happened though friends and family think that is just a coincidence and that it actually happened here as they do not feel it would take 2 months for them to use the card. I think I read somewhere a long time ago where they will wait 30-60 days before using the fake card. If not that then I do believe it was in the company that processes the transactions. My daughter-in-law had an attempt on her card but the bank caught it the next day. They were visiting us from London and we went to Las Vegas. She used the card once there at a restaurant where they run the card in front of her at the register and then once at Outback Steakhouse here in the Dallas area. That time the card was out of site. The next day her bank called to say an attempt was made to use a false card at an ATM but it did not go through. They refused to say in which state the bogus card was used. They said that there are servers that are in on a credit card ring where they write down the info and then sell it. I think it should be mandatory that all restaurants process credit cards at the table in plain site of the card holder. All I did was use the card to do a balance inquiry since we forgot to do it before we left home and that may have caused all this mess. The good thing though is they put the money back in our acct within 1 hr and faxed us the paperwork for my husband to sign since we are in TX and our bank is in NM.

penny3333 02-14-2012 06:22 AM

Wow, that's great, only 1 hour. It took me weeks to straighten everything out. I opened up another account at the credit union and had my check deposited in that since we had auto deposits. The bank took forever to straighten the mess out and I didn't want my check to get caught in the mess. After a few weeks I did get my money back and closed that account for good!

peter l 02-15-2012 01:22 PM

This can certainly be a mess to deal with. I have set up both my debit and credit cards through my on line banking to send me an email alert if either is used without a card being present and I think I have set parameters to notify me if over a certain $ amount for any purchases. I know that this would not help if one was not in touch through the internet but being able to connect while away and check daily can avoid lots of additional fraud charges. I am online at home daily so I see my emails and it kinda gives me some assurance.


MCPayne 02-15-2012 06:57 PM


Sorry to hear that happened to you. Just goes to show you can't be too careful about using credit / ATM cards. I had an instance once where I tried to use my debit card, but it kept getting declined. Turns out that someone compromised the system at a place I had used it, and tried to use the number. Luckily, my bank suspected that was a fraudulent charge, and froze the card right away, which is why it kept getting declined. I called my bank, who transferred me to the fraud division, and I confirmed that the charge in question was not made by me. They cancelled the card, then issued a new one.

I check my account online regularly for that very reason, but in this particular instance, the bank caught it before I did, so I didn't see that fraudulent charge.

I always try to go to a branch ATM when I need cash, and also try to go to one that's inside a vestibule, as opposed to a drive up ATM, which is pretty common where I live (Princeton, NJ). My reasoning being, that ATMs in vestibules are more harder to get at than drive up ATMs, in that you need a credit / debit card to access it, while drive up ATMs are just out there for anyone to access at any time.

peter l 02-17-2012 04:38 AM

I encourage anyone that is online daily to check with their financial institution to see if they offer "alerts" to be added to debit and credit card accounts. If so, as I mentioned, one can set up many types of parameters to send an eamil to you with info that can help avoid fraud getting out of control...It also offers, among other things, emails for: Credit card payment due, close to card limit, out of country transactions.. Worth checking it out I'd say as we all have the opportunity to be scammed in one way or another.


f-mattox 02-17-2012 11:08 AM

This is good advice, Peter; I second it and encourage everyone to do likewise. I made a trip to Minnesota last November and when I checked my e-mail I had a notification that my card had been used there. Your liability is limited in cases of fraud: but the sooner you report it, the less hassle it is.

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