Last week, Pamela goes to the grocery store and attempts to pay with her debit card. The clerk tells her that her card has been rejected. She asks, "Try again, this is my debit card that is tied to my checking account and if I don't have enough money to pay for my groceries, then I have a much bigger problem." The card rejects a second time. Pamela pays with a credit card and heads home to check on what has happened to our checking account. She calls customer service on the back of the debit card and waits and waits. Right before she hangs up, she gets to talk to a person who tells her that her debit card and our account have been hacked. Someone tried to use her debit card in San Diego to make three minor purchases, even though the debit card never left her possession. The bank stopped the transaction, flagged the card and our checking account remains in tact.
So, we then tried to piece together how this happened. In a matter of minutes, we realize that we fell victim to the recent hacking at the University of Maryland. You see we are helping our daughter Lauren with her graduate school tuition. Last month, there was a mix up with the payment, so Pamela called University of Maryland and made the payment with her debit card over the phone--only to learn shortly thereafter that there was a data breach at the University of Maryland. Fortunately, the bank caught the attempt of some minor purchases by the hackers so it could have been far worse. Then I ask whatever happened to the Lifelock notification that I pay for each year for added protection. It will be worth checking into but kudos to the bank for stopping the fraudulent activity and protecting our assets.