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Whoopee, our bank account has been cleaned out... (*ETA Saturday, Jan 14: please see below for an update.*)

So I was expecting a payment into the joint account that Peter and I share, and logged into online banking to see if it had come in yet. And saw:

Available balance: 0.00

Uhh… No, not really possible. Something a little over 0.00, something a little under 0.00, sure. But this? No. Possibly a system hiccup of some kind. So I call the helpline and ask what’s going on.

And surprise! What do they find, but, between Tuesday and today, a number of transactions that aren’t mine. Road toll payments (when we don’t have a car: amusing). Movie tickets from a Dublin-area omniplex (when we haven’t left the house since last Friday: I’m still fighting with this sinus infection and haven’t been out a lot.) And then a transaction at a point-of-sale somewhere in Ireland that emptied out the account. (There wasn’t a vast amount in there right then… but it’s all gone now.)

W. T. F. My bank card has been skimmed.

It’s toast now (thrown in the fire a few minutes ago, a new one ordered over the phone). But so much for the bills that needed to be paid this week. 2012 had better start getting its act together, as this is not an auspicious beginning.

The bank will cover this expense when its fraud department has digested all the details. But meanwhile, the household is skint. So: if you feel inclined to spit in the eye of the nameless rogue(s) who’ve briefly ruined the domestic tranquility around here, I invite you you to go over to the Ebooks Direct store and buy something using the discount code DDGOTSKIMMED, which will give you 20% off whatever you buy.

If you feel inclined to share this around, it’d be appreciated.

(mutter) Miscreants.

(oh, sorry, forgot the URL for the store. (You can judge my mental state from that, I bet...)

http://ebooksdirect.dianeduane.com

ETA: Just very briefly, wanted to send everybody who's shared this, or responded to it, a most heartfelt THANK YOU. The response has been utterly astonishing, and the immediate problem has been well and truly handled. :)

I'll be putting up a much more comprehensive thank-you on my blog, and also here -- but just wanted to let everybody know quickly that things are now looking way up. I'll also keep people posted, as this continues unfolding, as regards how things go with our bank.

Once again, friends, _thanks so much. _
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62 comments
 
I'd bring round a bottle of wine or something distilled, but you're a bit out of the way for tonight. Anything else (other than buy your books; I already have them) that'd help?
 
Aw, you're kind. Thanks for the thought. But no, nothing to do but go up to the bank in AM and see where one goes from here. (Besides insane with frustration.)
 
Good luck, and hopefully they'll be quick. If not, don't hesitate to ask.
 
This has happened to me and my son, both. Our bank was Johnny On The Spot - as soon as we signed the papers they asked us to sign, they put the money right back for us. Our account was back to normal within 24 hours!
 
Shared out, and I hope they catch the criminal. >.<
 
Can't buy, but I'll share. Sorry about the shite douche(s).
 
Ditto what +Bliss Morgan says. Spreading word in my social media Circles.
 
That's happened to me before, though not to the tune of cleaning out my checking account! Hope they resolve it fast and you get your money back.
 
Ouch! Sounds like your law, or at least practice, is that this won't cost you all the money taken in the end, but I'm sure it's a horrible pain in the mean time.
 
Oh man. So sorry to hear this. I recently lost my debit card, but I fortunately noticed soon after it decided to go on walkabout. I hope everything comes to a quick and satisfactory conclusion.
 
Signal boosted. I will have to check the state of my own finances before I head off to buy e-books, but I'll do what I can. I'm very sorry to hear this happened.
 
My experience is that the larger the banks, the less they care about protecting their customers from fraud. A symptom of this is that the banking industry as a whole has been horrifically lax about updating authentication methods for the realities of Internet commerce. There are many security measures that banks could have deployed, but haven't done so mainly because it's not their money at risk.
 
Need to do a book and finance check but that won't be before Sunday.

Good luck with the bank.
 
I've been a victim of identity theft twice now in 10 years and it sucks.
 
The 1st time I was hit with identity theft it was back in the mid 90's. Back then there were no safeguards and the credit card company stuck it to me. I hope with current safeguards you are protected.
 
So sorry for this....I hope you get everything resolved. I know what it feels like not like that..I hope it works out for you soon.
 
I've had two of my credit cards stolen recently. Thankfully, it was not our bank card. I'm so sorry to hear this - I hope you get some good energy (and good sales) your way :)
 
Spread the word and bought 3 books! Hope your situation gets resolved quickly.
 
Oh, how absolutely awful! That happened to me a few years ago; fortunately the bank was willing to spot me the money while they caught the thief, probably because it was clear the bank's own ATMs had been compromised. I hope your bank recompenses you very soon.
 
I can spare a few bucks. Care to recommend a title for somebody who aged out of your target demographic years before having heard of you? :)
 
Truly unfortunate, but the resharing made me aware of your ebook store. I'm very excited to see more and more authors selling direct in unencumbered formats. I was not previously aware of Peter's Tales of Old Russia series, and as I am a big fan of Russian flavored fantasy & adventure, I expect to really enjoy them. Just bought the first one and am downloading it now.
 
Why pay the monthly shopify fee? You'd probably earn more on OokaBooka.com.
 
You know, I loved the "So You Want to Be a Wizard" books as a teenager (and so did my mom when she borrowed them). You have more now than there were then, apparently I need a whole set and, look, here is a bundle, clicking buy. Good luck! I hope things work out well and quickly.
 
I saw this via John Scalzi (via Kat Richardson) and bought the Young Wizard bundle. I used to have 1-6 in SFBC hardcover; now I can re-read those and read the other three for the first time. Thanks!
 
Well, this gave me the perfect excuse to stop putting off buying the "Young Wizards" ebook set. So... done. Sorry this happened to you. Mean people suck.
 
Diane, I am so sorry to hear that this happened to you! (hugging you) I've shared your story and the link to your ebookstore (and discount code) here, and on FB, Twitter, and my blog. I hope that helps. I remember being so excited the first time I found So You Want To Be A Wizard in the bookstore!
 
I had no idea the Young Wizards books were out in ebook form.. also excited about the short stories I've never read! I hope the bank deals with the fraud with haste, but in the meantime I'm glad for the opportunity to help a little. Your books were such a lovely part of my childhood =)
 
Well, that's enough of a reason to buy the books I'd had in my mental "need to pick that up someday" list. If you don't mind me asking, are the Millennium editions still going forward? Been waiting to throw money at you for some time for those...
 
I needed something to read this weekend anyway. Good luck.
 
For those who want to read Ms. Duane's adult SF, I strongly recommend Omnitopia. For adult fantasy, there's nothing better than the Tale of the Five.
 
I picked up a few books (and didn't use the code). Sorry it happened.
 
+Arleen Boyd, the "protections" on credit cards and consumer credit are a pale shred of what they COULD be. Consumers' money and credit could easily be vastly more secure than they are now. But they aren't, for two reasons: Firstly, because the available changes fall into two main groups, changes that cost money to put in place, and changes that would have the side-effect of limiting the banks' ability to market (and market to) their revenue sourc..... oops, I mean "customers". And secondly, because on the large scale, it's really not the banks' money that's at risk; if a few hundred or a few thousand customers get wiped out, the bank scarcely even feels it.
 
Eek and damn and link sent off to ebook-having daughter.
 
I'm sorry to hear about your bank account fleecing, but thanks to that, and +Sandra Buskirk sharing this post, I found you here on G+ and was delighted to find your online shop.

I hope the bank gives you back your money sooner rather than later. I had a little issue myself last year, and was down $1200 for about 3 months. Nasty, but it all got sorted out. Best of luck with your problem.
 
I heard about this when +Elizabeth Bear shared it. Just bought the "Tale of the Five" Omnibus. I'm flying to Australia on business this weekend, and I need a good trilogy to keep me from damaging anyone on the plane.

My bank took pretty good care of me when something similar happened to us, I hope your bank does as well for you.

I love buying directly from an author's own store! Can you point me to others who are publishing their backlist this way? Thanks!
 
Two books. Wish it could be more.
 
I'm very sorry to hear about the theft, and I hope it turns out to be no more than an inconvenience for you. I've not read any of your books before. In all honesty, I'd not even heard of your original works (I was aware of Intellivore but hadn't read it). I'm always looking for science fiction author's I've not read - particularly when they sell DRM free ebooks directly to the public. When I saw your post shared on +John Scalzi's stream; I immediately headed over to your store and picked up what I think might be a reasonably representative sample of your work.
I say all this because I had a little feedback about your store. On the whole, a well constructed website - simple and accessible. There are two minor improvements I'd like to suggest, though:

1. As a new reader coming to your work with no previous familiarity, I would personally have benefited from an author's introduction to your Bibliography - something that points out decent entry points into your work and highlights those pieces you'd most like to see read.

2. This is a bit of a nit to pick, particularly since I thoroughly approve of (and deeply appreciate!) every other aspect of the way you're selling these ebooks; but I'd personally prefer to see the newsletter enrollment option during the checkout process be opt-in rather than opt-out. I say this as someone who chose to stay opted in. I'm quite confidant that you're running an ethical business; but I know more than a few people who view an opt-out newsletter as a bit of a red flag when dealing with an otherwise unfamiliar web store.

Anyway, keep up the excellent work! I seriously hope this doesn't cause you serious hardship and maybe widens your readership.
 
I agree with +Omar Buhidma when he talked about selling DRM ebooks directly to the public. Thanks for doing that. I love my Cybook Gen 3.
 
Heard about this from a friend, +Cat Williams . Bought Greylady. Didn't bother with the discount. Not gonna give you less money because some tweasel took what you already had. (Urban Dictionary can explain that one if you don't get it. It's not very polite.)
 
I bought - loving re-reading the Wizard books. Didn't use the code - don't need the discount!
 
Phil Stracchino - It is the bank's money at risk -- you'll observe that the money is being reimbursed by the bank in this case. The reason banks don't tighten up security is not because it's not their money, but because it's cheaper to accept the losses than to spend the enormous sum of money required to improve security.
Wm Glen
 
I'm sorry to hear about the skimming. As frustrating as it feels, the other posts are correct - it's cheaper to reimburse than to have someone posted at each ATM checking ID. The protaganist in the movie "Fight Club" had a day job. He flew around the States checking into car failures. The manufacturer didn't act until it was cheaper than the litigation. One of the lads at work was telling me that the real reason for the war in the Middle East was the rampant counterfeiting. They were making $100 bills by the rail car. Here I thought it was over oil.

I went to your website and tried to order the series starting from the top.
There's a limit on the checkout portion where I can only look at 7 books. I went back and found the group purchase at the bottom.

Again, Quelle une bummer!
 
That very much sucks.
 
That sucketh mightily. I will spread the word. - Hope the bank puts things right quickly.
 
I am so very sorry to hear this. That's just awful.
Off to website right now.
 
I forgot the code when checking out, but you're welcome to the extra 20% just for doing ebooks right, without DRM. Good luck on getting this sorted out.
 
If I had an e-reader, I would be going to get something this second. Sadly, I still prefer the paper versions of books for some reason, so I haven't jumped on the bandwagon.

I hope you issues get resolved with relative ease, I know dealing with banks over fraud issues can be taxing.
 
My sympathies. Something similar happened to me, after I'd used an ATM at a convenience store, so now I try to avoid using any ATM that doesn't belong to my bank. If possible, I'll go to a teller window if I need cash for anything. (My bank made good the approx. $700 that my account had been looted.)
 
I don't like eBooks. Hard to put on my shelf. Let me know when you come out with a paper copy and I'll buy. In the meantime, I will spread the word about your offer. Hope things work out for you.
 
I'm terribly sorry to hear about this Diane. Coincidently, my debit card was cancelled last week by the bank, because it was part of a bunch of card numbers the Gardai reported as being 'possibly compromised'. Unfortunately, the bank took nearly a day to tell me it had done this and in the mean time I had one embarrassing moment at a checkout. Still, I'm happy for the card to be taken out of circulation if it was potentially going to get hit by skimmers. I hope this gets resolved for you soon.
 
New to the whole e-book scene, but would it work if I just got them off of Kindle or Google Books?
 
Diane, I am surprised how much hearing about your pilferage bothers me. More so than the time Dell called me to confirm a several thousand dollar purchase someone was attempting with my stolen credit card. I guess I am more of a Diane Duane fan that I realized. Anyway, I have ordered the Young Wizards International Edition, Complete Set. My 9 year old niece is just about ready for the Young Wizards series and she will appreciate the digital version. I'm more of a "listen to recorded books in the car" kind of fiction reader.
 
+Jun-Kai Teoh You can do that, of course, but it'll take a month or more for the $ to get here. Whereas our own ebook store allows us to reach the money more or less immediately via PayPal. Your call. :)
 
+Maura McHugh I've had moments like that at the checkout, but more usually because I screwed up somehow in the Mental Math department. (Or because Sky's direct debit came through early.) :) But argh, about your own card. What a place to find yourself! They could have let you knwo a little earlier... Meanwhile, we'll see how this unfolds... I went and did the forms: now I have to wait to hear from the Fraud Guys. Maybe Tuesday or so, they thought at the bank... We shall see.
 
Ew! I've bought a few ebooks - things of yours I hadn't read anyway. I read the Young Wizards stuff when I was pretty young myself and it made a huge impression, so I'm pretty sure I owe you a bit of help... and if I get to read more of your work as part of that, I'm really the one benefiting. Good luck getting this sorted out, and hopefully the combined resources of the fantasy-loving geeks of the internet can tide you over.
 
Read the Door Into Fire many years ago. Bought the Tale of Five omnibus (no code, i would prefer you keep the 20%). I am sorry to hear about what happened. Hopefully all of our contributions will keep you afloat while this gets sorted out.
 
Ack. Been there,but my bank caught the attempted fraud and I merely had to reconfirm my own identity at the bank branch. If I had any money (2 weeks until next pension payment) I would do this. Should I put out a message on news.sff.net? (I got the notice on the loisbujold listserve.)
 
Anyone know what Irish law on unauthorized electronic transactions is? In the US, the consumer's liability is generally limited to $50.
 
I encountered your post via a friend. Your books have deeply touched my life over the last mumble years. I'm pleased to help not only fill in my collection of some missing works by you but also to have the money go directly to you rather than to Amazon. (Discount be damned.)
 
Awful, awful, awful. Yet so glad everyone's helped. Signal boosted on this end.
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