Are thieves getting ready to drain your wallet? How would you know? Hank Phillippi Ryan discovered a telltale sign that your money is at risk. What's the scoop on how you can stop the scammers before they rip you off? Hank Investigates.

If you see sixteen cents on the sidewalk you might walk right by. If you found twenty cents in your purse, you'd probably leave it. But if you find a two-bit charge on your checking account? That little money could be a big deal.

Jessica Bickos, Bank Account Holder

It definitely makes me nervous.

Jessica saw it on her debit card statement, a mysterious withdrawal, for 16 cents. Jan found a withdrawal too, for twenty-five cents.

Jan Huffman, Bank Account Holder

I found this charge that I didn't know anything about.

We looked online and found dozens and dozens of complaints from baffled bank account holders all bewildered at the withdrawals of mini money. And adding it all up, it's big big bucks.

Jan Huffman, Bank Account Holder

There are obviously some bad guys out here who are doing this sort of thing.

But who? We called the phone numbers connected to the charges and surprise surprise: "the number you have dialed is not in service"

Hank Phillippi Ryan, Investigative Reporter

So what are these?

This bank guru knew exactly what was going on with the charges, and even has a name for it: probing.

Bruce Spitzer, MA Bankers Association

Probing is like a test to see if the card is active.

The test could happen at a gas station where someone has your card, or a restaurant, or in an online purchase. Someone swipes your number for a tiny amount to see if your card is active and to see if you notice it.

Bruce Spitzer, MA Bankers Association

It's important for your to realize that its the beginning potentially of a much larger scam.

They could sell your now confirmed active number to scammers on the internet. Or they could charge something really really big.

Jan and Jessica didn't wait for the scammers next move. They called their banks and reported the potential frauds. Jessica's bank reversed the charge, Jan's issued a new card. And you could say, all these people who examined their checkbooks and recognized their card was probed is a good thing. The danger comes when you don't.

Hank Phillippi Ryan, Investigative Reporter

What do you think when your hear people who don't check their statements?

Bruce Spitzer, MA Bankers Association

It drives us crazy.

(Copyright (c) 2009 Sunbeam Television Corp. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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