Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Identity Theft isn't Funny

Identity Theft isn’t funny, and I am sure that my bank has their best interests in mind so read this with the bemusement that I am living it with.

I called last night to see why I pay 16+% on my credit card after being a loyal customer of 6 years and in good credit standing. They offered to reduce my rate, but I had to get a new card. a Platinum card.

“Wow, Moving to the big time” I think and say “Sure that sounds reasonable.”

Well it turns out that may not be the case, I opened the account several years ago, and before I really had credit so My parents name is also on the account. The primary contact is my parents home phone number as I, have been semi transient until recently (read college student and renter). The contact number would not normally be a problem except my parents moved nearly 8 months ago; they moved and got a new telephone number. Since my bank account isn’t an account they use, neither of us really thought to update that part of the contact info. I having also recently moved (3 months ago) hadn’t quite gotten to the updating my contact info. So they had a disconnected telephone number and an address that I don’t live at anymore for contact info.

Naturally when I called and got the new card they asked my address, and because I was able to answer all the questions, they put in a temporary change of address, issued the new card and started to transfer me to the “change of address department” because only certain phone bank workers can do that.

It isn’t the most comforting thing in the world to hear “That’s strange” out of a bank help line person when you are trying to update your contact info and get a better rate on your Credit Card….

“Strange how?” I say

“Well it looks like opening the new Platinum Card automatically canceled your current card” she says.

At this point I am beginning to wonder if this has any hope of working out as anything but trouble; but the nice lady assured me that we had everything in order and I would receive my a priority shipment of my new cards. With that I was transferred and updated my address for the whole account (not just the Credit Card as I had before).

Today, I got a call from my mother saying she was contacted very early in the morning (East Coast vs. West Coast is a bitch) because they thought that my card had been fraudulently changed. Apparently they tried to call the old contact number, and it being disconnected set off some panic. Thankfully my Parents Name is semi-unique, and listed in the phone book.

I had not told her about my address change shenanigans, so she was more than a little confused about the call, and in her groggy state could have quite easily doomed me to having no credit card for weeks. She managed to convince them to send the cards, and I hope to see them soon.

The moral of this story is, update your accounts promptly (like my wife did) and you won’t have trouble like this.

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