Pip’s Original Doughnuts owner Nate Snell has shared a startling story with Eater that serves as a warning: Thieves gained access to the business’s debit card and charged around $25,000 in goods in locations all around the world within roughly 60 minutes. Speaking with Eater, Rivermark Community Credit Union Vice President of Marketing David Noble confirms the cause of the situation is still unknown.
Snell says he noticed the charges after receiving a phone call from Rivermark Community Credit Union’s fraud detection system. The call regarded a legitimate charge, and Snell confirmed the specified charge.
But he then examined his online bank statement and found dozens of different, unfamiliar charges. New charges would appear each time he refreshed the page.
“There were charges made from Venezuela, Fiji, Luxembourg, Riyadh, and all over the U.S.,” says Snell. “Someone ordered plane tickets from Fiji Airlines and used our card number at the McDonald's in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. They even ordered custom jewelry from high-end jewelry makers in New York and Florida. There were charges made to pay Amazon, iTunes, Netflix, Hulu, pet supply shops, high-end bicycle shops, makeup stores, online clothing and shoe stores — you name it.”
Snell also says the thief or thieves had all of his personal banking information, his cell phone number associated with the account, and his home and email addresses.
Snell says he isn’t happy with how Rivermark Community Credit Union handled the issue.
“I haven't been given any sort of reassurance that this won't happen again,” says Snell. “This has been incredibly stressful, as I nearly bounced our 17 employees’ paychecks as a result. If this had been any smaller business, they would've been completely wiped out until things were contested and resolved through their financial institution.”
Noble says the matter is still being investigated and that Pip’s Original Doughnuts will not be liable for any of the charges. He also acknowledged that debit card holders do sometimes have to wait for a financial institution to verify a dispute. He says that will not be the case in Snell’s situation.
For those seeking to beef up security, Noble says, ”Make sure you set up alerts for your accounts so you’ll be notified right away if something fraudulent happens, and, in general, keep an eye on your bank account.”
On Instagram, Snell provided his own tips geared toward small business owners. “Here's the lesson I learned,” he writes. “Don't use a debit card for any type of recurring charges, such as utilities or subscriptions. Instead, use an ACH method [an Automated Clearing House network], which utilizes your bank account and routing number. That way, if a database is compromised (which is happening more and more often), the hackers will not be able to do to you what they did to us.”