It isn't a pleasant feeling to learn that somebody else has been spending your money. I just had it happen a couple months ago. We took a family road trip to Seattle back in March and shortly after returning I had a letter in the mail telling me I was overdrawn. It wasn't my main account - just one that had some rainy day funds that I used for gas station fill-ups on our trip. Somebody was able to get my card number and had made a number of purchases at Luckily, the bank looked into it and refunded me for the various withdrawals.

The bad guys are always trying to find a way to get your account info. One of the simplest ways is to put a card skimmer on a pump at the gas station. Have you seen some of these? They slip right over the regular card reader and you have no clue that your debit card information has been stolen until its too late. I saw an online conversation today where multiple people in Missoula were talking about how they've recently been a victim of card skimmers right here in town.

A woman posted that she was notified by her bank about suspicious transactions in Gig Harbor, WA. Three ATM withdrawals were made - $400 each time. She was lucky enough to have a daily cash withdrawal limit to tip her off to the transactions. The lady wrote that she had only used her card three times in the last couple of weeks.....once each at the grocery store, pet store, and gas station in Missoula. The bank figures that the skimming probably happened at the gas station.

Other people started commenting on the post. Someone mentioned they had something similar happen with $500 charges in Arizona and Alabama. Another person said their info was used in April to charge $980 in gas. And somebody else had their card compromised just last week - after the last purchase they made was for gas.

The good news is that is sounds like everyone was able to have banks reverse the charges after reporting them to the fraud department. A lot of people mentioned they only use cash now when purchasing gas because of issues they've had in the past.

It sounds like there's quite a few instances of card skimmers in action here in Missoula. Be on the lookout for anything that seems suspicious wherever you use a debit card or credit card - especially at a gas station. If anything makes you feel uneasy about using the card reader - be sure to pay inside the store with a cashier and report what you found.

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