Wednesday, December 14, 2011


The Sea Witch had her Amazon account hacked this Monday and this post is to make you aware of this possibly happening to you this time of the year.  It had been about 7 months since my last Amazon purchase so when a series of confirmation emails from Amazon "thanking me" for my recent purchases I thought "what purchases."  As I read the emails, I realized I was being charged $7.99 for a digital download of Vietnamese music.  The purchases had already totaled nearly $300.00. 

I contacted Amazon customer service and they were fantastic.

  They immediately cancelled my account card and began refunding each of the purchases.  Each purchase had to be refunded individually so it was going to take a little time with the customer rep on the phone.  As we are refunding each purchase, I received another email confirming another Amazon purchase.  Son of a Bee...those hacking #%$&s were at it again.  The Amazon rep put me on hold as this was an opportunity for them to nail these jokers.  About 6 minutes later, the rep was back on the line and began refunding the rest of those phony purchases.  Since I had not used this card in months, I asked the rep how this could have happened.  He said that it is not uncommon for these hackers to use detection software to seek out dormant accounts like mine.  Those dormant accounts are perfect targets for this type of hacking.   The rep said that if you are a shopper that purchases only a few times a year that you may want to delete the card you use right after you make the purchase so it is no longer in a system.

I like Clark Howard's suggestion better and that is to have a low balance credit card that is dedicated to just on line purchases. Since I only have the one card, I am going to obtain a second, low balance card for just those on line purchases should this happen again.  I suspect it will, it is the nature of the online business to be hit.  No one is safe from these despicable hackers. 

Well, this was still not over.  I still had to contact my bank, Bank of America, to cancel the hacked card.

I must share that I have had a love/hate relationship with BoA.  I have been their customer for over 20 years and in the last ten that relationship has really deteriorated.  There customer service has been miserable and the climbing fees have gotten out of hand.  I have been dragging my feet in moving to another institution because I just didn't want to switch all of my on line bill pays, etc.  So when I had to call BoA, I was already prepared to do battle with them.  Not necessary. Their customer rep was courteous and efficient as she cancelled my card but allowed the account to remain open to accept the refunds that Amazon would begin returning to the account over the next few days. They also overnighted a new card to me as it was the holiday season and they did not want me to be delayed 7-10 days.  Okay, who are you people and what did you do with my original banking institution? 

I was totally surprised at the efficient and helpful response I received and today I have my replacement card.  WoW.  I am now rethinking my leaving BoA.  Maybe they are trying to reach out to their customers and I am all for that.  So, what can we learn from all of this?  My suggestion is if you have made any online purchases (several months ago) where a "company" retains your card information, enter that account and delete you card information.  You can always add a new card when you make a future purchase.  Better yet, utilize PayPal or Google Checkout if they provide that option, you will be protected.  Finally, follow the advice of Clark Howard and have a low balance card dedicated to just on line purchases.  That way if you card is hacked, there is a limit to what can be stolen. Never, ever use your debit card for on line purchases as they can empty your bank account quickly and it could take days/weeks before amounts are refunded if they are refunded at all. 

I was fortunate that they only nailed me for about $300.00 before I caught the purchases.  I was lucky that both Amazon and BoA were so sensitive and efficient in refunding/returning the hacked amounts. 

Hoping that your on line purchases are safe and secure.  Have a wonderful week. Sea Witch


Jacque said...

Hi Witch..

OMG, thanks for sharing this with us. I always check out thru Paypal but you never know what those dang hackers can get into!!

I hate this has come up during the worst time of all. I do hope that all ends up well with this incident!

Otherwise, have a great day today!

just call me jo said...

Dang! I just hate when stuff like that happens. My daughter's card got hacked (not at Amazon) from Belarush or somewhere weird. Amazon has been more than fair to me on a recent problem with a third party seller. It's just such a hassle and annoyance and it really ticks me off. Hope the rest of your holiday is bright.

audrey said...

Those people with no life and nothing but time on their hands to do ill will, make my blood boil. I. too, had to call Amazon yesterday due to an email thanking me for a large purchase. Thankfully, it was a bogus email and Amazon was aware that many people were receiving it. It is so unfortunate that we must deal with these kind of things. I fear it will only get worse.
I'm glad you were able to resolve your issues and that you had a pleasant experience with customer reps.
Now you can rest assured you will have a Merry Christmas!
♥ audrey

jordiegirl said...

Thanks for sharing this and making us all aware of the problem.

Garter Mademoiselle said...

Hi! I am so glad that you shared this story with us, I never would have thought about dormant accounts being hacked. One automatically just thinks that accounts that are being used all the time would be the more likely target. So glad you could get it all straightened out! Wanted to stop by and wish you and yours a Merry Christmas.

Pam of Eastlake Victorian said...

Wow, thanks for the warning! I guess it can happens to anyone that shops online. I try to remove cookies often, and I always check my credit card account online to see if all the purchases are ones I made. It's scary knowing there are people out there who do this for a living! Glad you caught it before it got too unmanageable!


Grandma Yellow Hair said...

OH No I am so sorry this happened to you. Now I am worried but appreciate you sharing this.
Glad they were helpful.
Just wanted to check on you and wish you a very Merry Christmas
Love ya