(WSVN) - A South Florida mother says her son’s debit card was hacked, and his money stolen. But when they tried to get it back, they say the bank blocked them.

7’s Heather Walker investigates.

Life can be difficult for a person living with autism. But Tricia Anderson says things have gotten worse for her son, Melvin.

Tricia Anderson: “My son, he’s 31. He has autism, so he’s thinking more like an 11 or 12 year old.”

Melvin works as a waiter.

Tricia helped him get a money network prepaid debit card so he could deposit his paycheck. She thought it would be safer than him carrying cash, but it turned out it was not.

Tricia Anderson: “I was angry. You have to do so much for the money you work for. It’s not given, he worked for that!”

Melvin’s card got hacked. Police believe it was cloned when he ran it through a card reader.

Unfortunately, Tricia didn’t realize what had happened until the money was gone.

Tricia Anderson: “He was trying to use the card to purchase gas one day and it said declined. I just could not believe that someone would actually charge almost $1,600 dollars!”

From May until September, there were 81 transactions on Melvin’s account totaling $1,533 dollars.

Most were for public storage facilities, Lyft rides and subscription websites. Tricia disputed the charges with money network.

Tricia Anderson: “They said give it two weeks and I called back and I was told, ‘Oh, it was denied.'”

She was told too much time had passed since the charges first began.

Tricia Anderson: “The manager told me that if I would have notified them within 48 hours, they could guarantee they could get the money back. But now there’s no guarantee.”

Money Network has a policy posted online that says users must contact the company within 60 days after discovering a problem, not 48 hours after it happens.

Tricia Anderson: “And I just keep getting the runaround over and over, and over from September until now. I’m still getting the runaround now.”

7 Investigates contacted Money Network’s parent company, Fiserv, Inc.

A representative told us in December he would look into the case. After waiting weeks for a response, Money Network tells 7 Investigates “We have reviewed this case and the disputed charges will be credited to the cardholder’s account.”

Tricia Anderson: “Now, that money really came in handy, because his car needs fixed and it’s going towards his car.”

Tricia now plans on keeping a closer eye over her son’s account as well as teaching him to keep his money safe.

Tricia Anderson: “Constantly check your card, and what I do now, is lock the card, until I’m ready to use it!”

She hopes this will be an important lesson learned for not just Melvin, but for herself as well.

Heather Walker, 7News.


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