So this week, we had something very scary happen!!! On Monday, we noticed that there was a charge with our card made to a resort in California. As much as I would have LOVE to say that I took a mini vaca, I didn't. It was only for a few dollars, but red flags began floating in my head. The hubs and I called the bank and as we were on the line with the rep trying to figure out where the charge was from, ANOTHER purchase was made at a Walgreens in OHIO!!!! Luckily, the rep had flagged the account, so no other purchases would go through. The rep told us that the card had actually been swiped, but a different name was listed on the card!!
I was completely perplexed!! How could someone get our credit card info, make a counterfeit card and begin using it with a different name??? This is the card from our personal account and we NEVER use it for anything online and we hadn't even made any recent purchases using the card, aside from paying our auto insurance and going to the grocery store down the street a few times. I was convinced that our auto insurance company had been hacked, but after hours on the phone with the bank reps, I needed to get some work finished. Now that we had it settled, canceled out both of our cards and ordered new ones, I had put the situation to the back of my mind (working help with that).
Last night, we made a quick run to Bashes (our cute grocery store in our neighborhood) and picked up some things to make BLT's - YUMM-O!! While at the checkout, we exchanged "hello's" with our regular cashier and I noticed a large sign hanging next to the credit card machine as I went to swipe my card (my business card) and pay for our goodies. In large, bold text at the top of the sign I read, "WARNING!" I couldn't resist passing that notice up, so I continued reading & was ASTONISHED at what I read....
Apparently, the Bashes credit card terminal had been hacked and SEVERAL people had fallen victim to thieves who made out with thousands of dollars in purchases!!!! I was relieved that we had caught the initial purchase made because it was less than $20.00 and must have been a test purchase. However, it was an eye-opening experience!!! I was saddened by how many other people had been victimized so quickly and many had had their entire accounts drained!!! We live in a VERY nice neighborhood and for someone in our neighborhood to say that their account was drained means that those thieves got away with a LOT of money!!! There had to of been a team of people using these cards - as the purchases were made all over the United States.... That means that there is an ENTIRE network of thieves working together!!! Each purchase was made INSIDE a store and the card was swiped, meaning that the thieves made the purchase in person and were located in states all over the country!!!
Many of you are aware that I am quite a computer geek (completely self-taught and self-motivated). I have an obsession to know how things work!! Well, thinking about how much I can accomplish using technology online from the comfort of my home, I can't imagine what a network of GEEK thieves are also able to accomplish from the comforts of their homes!!! This means that there is a network of geeks in roughly about 10 states (that I know of - from the purchases that were made), both western and eastern, who are spending countless hours hacking credit card terminals and any other financial institutes that handle and exchange monies online!!!! This is very scary because the possibilities of what a network of thieves can accomplish is limitless!! I am SERIOUSLY beginning to think about using cash to pay for things now!!! Either cash or making sure I am checking our bank accounts on a daily basis!! It only took these hackers to steal thousands of dollars within a few hours from hundreds of people!!!
I am also VERY concerned about how easy it is to not only steal information online, but to create a credit card using the same numbers and a different name is twice as scary!!!! Credit card companies are going to have to come up with a better way of making a credit/debit cards impossible to counterfeit. It should not be this easy to re-create the security strip on a card!!!!
Well, I thought that for a technology tip, this one might be HUGE!!! If you are not afraid of anything happening to you, then you should at least consider making sure to keep track of where you make purchases at and that you check your bank account balances and purchases on a daily basis. Hackers purposefully keep each purchase under about $20.00, because most people will not double check small purchases. By the time there are enough of those small purchases that would raise a red flag, the thieves will have already drained most of your account.
I am not sure how to follow that story, but I can't NOT tell you about the work I have been doing the last few days!!! I am having a lot of fun creating custom CSS code for bloggers and doing more custom blog designs!! I really appreciate how many of my fellow bloggers have given me the honor of adding some spice to their blogs!! THANK YOU!!! I am slowly, but surely, adding links to all of the blogs I have worked on for everyone to check out. I would love for you to check out some of the work I have done and possibly discover a new blog to follow. You can take a peek at the blogs by clicking the CUSTOM GRAPHIC link on my navigation menu at the top and going to Blog ADD-ONS. Scroll toward the bottom of the page and click on the blog thumbnails to see my work and some awesome blogs!! If you hover over the thumbnails, a description of what I did will show up as text.
AND NOW..... here is my latest custom blog design, which took about 35 hours to complete. I was a little nervous at first, but excited at the same time... BECAUSE....I was designing a blog for a fellow artist!! What an honor!! Without further pausation (another one of my made-up-words), here is the BEFORE and AFTER of Tammy's Clip Art Blog, DOTS of FUN!!! The new button and navigation menu are my favorite elements in the blog design....
Click her NEW button to check out the new digs!!
Thank you for stopping by!!!!