grand larceny

We’ve been contemplating Grand Larceny lately.

How’s this: We could take an out-of-state debit card into a California Safeway, buy $400 worth of whiskey (and maybe get $100 cash back), then sell the whiskey out on the streets. After that, hit another Safeway. Then another. Maybe a Walmart too. And a Walgreen’s. (In California, all these stores sell liquor.)

Which is probably just about what the crooks did, over and over again, using a copy of my debit card. The total damage was $4,006.80. The real debit card—the one with the chip and the pin code—is still in my wallet.

I check our travel account almost every morning. Yesterday it was overdrawn by $2,700. We never overdraw that account. There were frantic phone calls. The card was canceled but the deed was done while we slept in European time.

The good news is that most of our travel fund is in a travel savings account. The bad news is that savings account backs up our debit-card account and the bank simply withdrew our savings to pay the $2,700 overdrafts. And the overdraft fees.

Not much money remains.

We’re in Ireland with two weeks to go. The bank says we’ll probably get reimbursed in ten days to two weeks—just about when we get home.

Until then it’s top ramen (and bottom bunks) for Tom and Louise.