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Mercedes Woman Warns About Debit Card Fraud

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Posted: Jan 2, 2013 6:31 PM

Updated: Jan 2, 2013 7:00 PM

HIDALGO COUNTY - A Mercedes woman says her prepaid debit card was wiped out in a matter of minutes.

Ninfa Oviedo said she uses the card to keep her finances secure.

"It's just like a debit card, except you buy them at the store. You go reload them, and then you can make your payments," Oviedo said.

Oviedo said she has used the Net Spend Debit Card for almost five years and had never experienced any problems.

On Friday, the card company alerted her to the fraudulent activity.

"The phone alerted me that they had made some transactions from Tepoztlan, Mexico," she said.

The card was used for seven transactions in two minutes. The transactions originated in a Mexican city she has never visited.

Oviedo said she called the debit card company immediately, but could not get through.

"It didn't give me a chance to at least block it or call them or anything like that," she said. Within seconds more than $300 had vanished.

"We don't have millions of dollars in there, but people that have very little and that's all they have, it's really hard. It's really hard to lose money like that," she said.

Oviedo said the card was in her possession the entire time. She even used it at a grocery store in La Feria a few hours earlier.

Oviedo is a teacher with the Mercedes Independent School District and will be paid again until the end of January.

"This is what I use for bills, for groceries, for necessities, for gas," she said.

She filed a report with the Hidalgo County Sheriff's Department and a dispute with the debit card company.

She said company representatives told her they would notify her of any updates in the case. She said the company is not doing enough to safeguard its customers' accounts.

"I'm trying to warn people not to buy these cards, your money is not safe there at all," she said.

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