Who Stole My Debit Card Information?

June 20, 2011
Alex Weaver

Alex Weaver

I woke up this morning deep in the throes of an allergy-induced sinus headache and decided to make a quick Lunds run before reaching Fast Horse HQ. Only, it wasn’t quick. My check card was declined, twice.

Immediately, I ran through my weekend purchases in my head. My card got a workout this weekend, but I definitely had more than enough money to buy juice at Lunds.

The mystery begins.

Clue #1: I call US Bank customer service and, after being transferred four times, finally reach a specialist who tells me my card has been suspended. The specialist verifies that it was me trying to make the purchase at Lunds. He then asks if I purchased gas from an Exxon Mobil station early Monday morning for the Visa limit of $75. Not this kid. Someone stole my check card information.

Clue #2: Said US Bank specialist then hastily tells me that it’s possible that my recent iTunes purchase could explain why my card information was stolen. Something apparently takes place during the transaction that allows hackers to access your payment information, this bank worker tells me. What?!

Figuring any iTunes scam would be all over the internets, I looked around online. There’s not much, but I find an investigative report from Houston TV station KPRC that goes further into the issue. It’s hard to tell if all of my pieces add up to an iTunes scam. I did call US Bank back to get more information about a potential iTunes issue, but nobody was willing to give me any information. It seems sometimes when you go digging, all you get are clams.

Clue #3: The fraudulent gas purchase was made in Minnetonka. This suggests that the theft of my bank information happened locally — as opposed to my info getting snagged in some type of national or international syndicate. Could a neighbor or some other electronic lurker have cracked my wireless internet connection and made off with my digits? Or could my misfortune stem from a double swipe at a bar? (The double swipe is when an unscrupulous worker secretly runs a customer’s card through an unauthorized machine that reads and stores the information.)

Clue #4: The fraudulent purchase was made at a gas station. How could someone buy gas without having my check card? Would a gas station accept a pre-payment from a customer with only the account number and expiration date, but not the card? Would a thief risk getting his or her photo taken on store cameras? Or did someone steal my information and create a new card to use at the pump? That seems awfully sophisticated.

Clue #5: Upon investigating my recent purchases, there is a $7.40 charge from Ceefay Leasing, LLC, in Minneapolis. What the hell is Ceefay Leasing? I smell bread crumbs…

I wish there was a way to piece this all together. It just doesn’t make sense and, even with my best Nancy Drew mindset, I’m no closer to having answers. It’s definitely disturbing to know that someone had access to my personal information, especially when I did nothing out of the ordinary spending-wise. I’m not a huge online shopper, only iTunes, Hulu and online bill pay.

But, a big thanks to US Bank for freezing my account so early on. So who’s got any theories?

Anyone else have something like this happen to them? Did you ever figure out how your information was stolen?