Wednesday, December 02, 2009

We've Been Cloned

Approximately, a week and a half ago, I got an e-mail from Chase. We have our mortgage and a small bank account with them. The e-mail stated that my balance was negative -$110.07. How was that possible? We hadn't written a check from that account for over a month. We barely use the account.

I immediately logged into their online system, which was a total pain because I had not logged in since their full merger with Washington Mutual. I guess that I needed to create another account. So I had to hunt for my account number, verify it, etc. I look on their website and see that there was a charge, the day before, for $149.31 to Dual Action Cleanse. Yea um, not our charge.

So I immediately call the bank's telephone number listed on the back of my ATM/debit Card number to report that fraud has occurred involving our account. I went through the phone tree from HELL to finally get to someone. I finally spoke to a representative. It was very very hard to hear the person on the other end of the phone. I explained that the $149.31 charge on our account was not ours. I also told her that my husband and I both had our cards in our possession. The representative tells me that I need to call the company "Dual Action Cleanse" and get them to refund the charge, explain that I did not make it, etc. I said, "ummm okay, and then what". She tells me to call them (Chase) back to let them know that I called "Dual Action Cleanse" to report this. That's it. I did not get a "as Chase, we are going to cancel your debit card number, re-issue new cards, assign this to an investigator, etc"....NOTHING! I could hear crickets in the background..I said, "Ok, I will call them." She had given me their telephone number. She actually assumed that I would have the number, which, I can't understand why she would even think that.

So I call "Dual Action Cleanse" and speak with one of their representatives. I tell them that our debit card was used to make a purchase that was fraudulent. I gave the last four digits of both of our debit card numbers. He found the transaction and advised me that it had been made over the telephone. He confirmed the debit card number belonged to Angry Husband. He actually read out the entire card number and the expiration date. I confirmed that yes, that is our correct card info. I then asked him if they had the card security code, the three digit number from the back of the card. He told me that they did not require that for purchases. He also informed me that the product was already shipped out, and gave me the purchaser information.

I then went through the phone tree from HELL again. I speak with a representative and tell them my entire story all over again. She basically asks, "did you get the vendor to refund your card?" I say, yes, and that they "said" they were refunding the charges. She was ready to end the call right there. I said, hold on, I have more questions to ask. This is what I asked, #1 Are you going to send us new debit cards, #2 Is this claim going to an investigator, #3 why did this charge even go through, and give my account a negative balance? I do not have overdraft protection. This should have never happened especially with a debit card transaction. The representative told me that #1. it was Angry Husband's debit card account. They needed his permission to close account. We had a to do a conference call with him to cancel it. She also cancelled mine. #2. She "claimed" this there was a notion of case, etc under my account number. #3. She said, if the charge was made, it would go through. What the hell? I say, why would a debit card charge go through if it put the account negative? That makes no sense. I do not have overdraft. She said, they put it through. I tell her, with my credit union, if I have a $5 balance, and I make a $20 charge with my debit card, the card DECLINES! She really had nothing to say, and basically says, if the refund doesn't go through on your account, in a couple of days, call us back.

Every day, for four more days, I get the e-mail from Chase..."The account balance at the end of 11/24/2009 was $-110.07, which is less than the minimum balance in your Alerts settings." Why am I getting this e-mail? I have my account set-up to e-mail me if my balance goes below $25. Smart, I know. It's for fraud protection, and umm "husband debit card-not telling your wife you used it-abuse". I will have to say that I give Chase a thumbs up for this. Cause I get those e-mails as soon as it goes below $25 like clockwork. I've ran into the bank at least once and deposited a few dollars.

So I call Chase again. I go through the phone tree from HELL. I'm pretty pissed by now. You see, it (phone tree) keeps asking for my debit card number to verify my account. Well if you read already, I had to beg for my debit card to be cancelled and re-issued with another number, so I don't have a valid debit card number. I kept hitting "0" to get an operator. I finally get through. I begin to tell the representative that I filed a claim, and that it still has not been resolved. I have deposits to make into the bank account, and there is STILL a negative balance. Initially, she tells me that she could not find my claim. I start screaming, basically...about jumping through hoops, making calls, etc. She then says, "oh, I found it under your husband's name." She then asks me if I called the vendor, "Dual Action Cleanse" to get my refund. I advised her that I called last week, and obviously they did not resolve the issue. I said, it is no longer my responsibility. That is why you have investigators, and that Chase needs to remove these charges from my account. It was an unauthorized charge that should have never gone through. I continued to say, this is not my issue, it is fraud, why am I being victimized? I've done everything Chase has asked me to do. PLEASE remove these charges. There was a pause, and then I ranted some more about laws, protection etc. She then says that she is removing the charges. THANK YOU!

Why am I getting so pissed off? Because every representative or employee that I have spoken with at Chase, seems to be outsourced. I can tell that the caller is in another country. I can barely understand what they are saying. They have no clue what I'm trying to explain. They do not understand my words of "cloning account numbers, credit card protection, fraud, law enforcement, criminals, etc." I've gone through phone trees, spending ten to fifteen minutes at a time, and then the call drops. She finally got the charges removed, but I was not done.

I requested to speak to a Supervisor. The representative asked why? I told her that this entire situation is ridiculous. I get the Supervisor on the phone. Supervisor basically tells me that the charges have been removed, and what are my other issues, in her broken accent. I explain that I have been dealing with this for almost a week. Once again, she HAD NO CLUE, and had nothing to offer. She basically said, I hope you find our service satisfactory and thank you for banking with Chase. Was I talking to a robot? I got a letter a few days later saying that my account has been credited.

I haven't had time to go to my local branch and speak with them about this. Seriously, with Thanksgiving, work, etc...I have no time. I checked the mail yesterday and we received another letter from Chase. This letter stated that they were providing temporary credit to our account. "Further research is required to resolve your dispute". Seriously, how long is this going to go on. I've done everything that I can. Every time that I try and talk to someone, I get hung up on, or I can't understand them.

Since I've been working on this post, I've found the following resources:

Credit, ATM and Debit Cards: What to do if they are lost or stolen

Crooks Who Use Your ATM Card as a Passport To Your Account

Crooks Have Your Card and You Don't Even Know It

Skimming and Scamming: How To Protect Yourself Against Debit Card Fraud

JPMorgan Chase to Increase India Outsourcing 25%

While this is a personal rant, it is also a warning. This could happen to you. For me, it was $149.31, but for you could it could be more than that, thousands. What would you do if your debit card number was cloned? Would you even know? Do you check your bank regularly? Do you have warning alerts set? Do you get text messages with your balance?

I still do not know how Angry Husband's debit card number was obtained either. We hold our mortgage through Chase. I wish I could change that also.


  1. Ok, is there something going on with banks lately?? We finally paid off our truck (Merry Christmas to us!) by making an $825 payment at the local branch. It took over 45 minutes to verify the payoff amount and do the transaction, but they were training someone, whatever. I was all into my cloud nine about paying off the truck when Marmot looked at the bank account later, and they had double posted the account and removed $1650 from our account! We called and they got it fixed within a few hours, but I just about came unglued. Mistakes like double-posting a Starbucks charge, fine. An $825 vehicle payoff? Not fine!!

  2. man, i got sick READING that. i am so sorry julie.

    Our bank rocks. We had a $20 charge from a store we dont frequent and they locked down our accounts and called us. IT was fraud. They put it in investigation, overnighted us new cards, refunded our money, and i have never heard of it again.


  3. Wow, I am so very glad we cancelled out Chase cards! And yes, it took about 2 hours to do so. I hate out sourcing...HATE IT!
    Great post - very informative. I am sorry you had to go through this though

  4. Geez. This is why we never use or debit card/check card for anything, unless it's some sort of emergency and that's all we have. I hope it gets sorted out soon.

  5. Wow, what a hassle. I had an issue with chase before too. I feel bad but I actually went off on the guy from India I was talking too (I have nothing against them). But that is who your call is forwarded to and there is NOTHING they can actually do to help. I was thinking, what is the point of talking to them then. How hard is it to just let me talk to someone who knows WTF is going on?

  6. I have two words for you:


    Our CU is awesome. We go out of town and forget to tell them? They call us and verify that we're the ones buying gas in Tennessee. On our cell phones. It's like banking with my mother. No, actually, the bank is more vigilant than my mother.

    We bought something online from a French store for a wedding that was taking place in France. They called in less than an hour to verify the charge. On a weekend.

    I had some penalties on an account that I didn't feel were correct. They refunded the fees and changed the structure of my account so that it would never happen again. It's been two years, or more, and it hasn't happened again.

    Plus, your money is a hell of a lot safer in a CU than it is in a traditional bank.

    I sometimes have to hold, but I never have to voicemaze when I call them. Our CU even offers online chat, which has been very convenient more than once.

    If you're concerned about only being able to bank at Podunk Credit Union - don't be - most of them have reciprocity with other credit unions, so that you can make fee-free ATM withdrawals from in-system credit union ATMs, and you can sometimes even make deposits and withdrawals at in-system branches as though they were your own Podunk Credit Union.

    We have all our business and personal accounts with our credit union. Seriously. I've heard a lot of complaints about Chase.

  7. Oh, and PS - I have never ever had to talk to India when I've called our CU. The person I talk to is always in the exact same town that I am.


  8. That totally sucks. yeah I'm pretty sick of the banks and their run around. If it's not one thing it's another.

  9. Amy,

    Our regular bank is a Credit Union. We've been with them for fifteen years. This bank account is what I use to deposit my son's preschool money, money I make on e-bay, and any cash deposits that we have. The average balance is around $50.

  10. I can definitely understand why you'd be angry. For me the worst part is dealing with reps that barely speak English. I went through something similar just trying to activate my new debit card the other day and it was literally a nightmare. She almost add charges to my card before I fully understood what she was talking about.

  11. This is the worst. It's happened to me twice in the past three months. Luckily, I don't bank with "the big dogs" after they started dropping like flies at the climax of the economic crisis. I bank with Comerica and they've always been super fast doing "mini investigations" on the phone with me before ever hanging up.

    I've been a victim of this type of stuff since 2001. Wait a second, how is that possible? I was only 15. Yep, you heard me right. A sophomore in high school and completely oblivious that any of this stuff even happened in the world outside of silly soccer player crushes and pop quizzes.

    Unfortunately I didn't find out about any of it (defaulted mortgage, collections, credit cards) until I got my first job out of high school with State Farm. If they hadn't ran a credit check for the traveling that the position required, I wouldn't have even known until I traded in my car, tried to get my own cell phone plan, rented an apartment.

    The worst is that those fuckers were crafty. Never give your children unisex names or hispanic-ish sounding last names and then raise them in Arizona. Not. Even. Kidding. I'm no racist, but I have strong feelings toward a certain group of immigrants. The illegal group.

    Whatever you do to get away from Chase, don't, I repeat DO NOT, bank with Bank of America. With that account, the employee I spoke with about traveling out of town (cuz I THOUGHT it was the safest thing to not have your card frozen with out of town purchases, silly me) racked up internet purchases for car parts around, oh $5,000 overdrafting the account significantly...while I was out of town. Snazzy jazzy!

    I have the years and YEARS of battling and the wounds to match. I'm all ears for ya sister!

  12. UGH, I'm so sorry that you had to go through all of that. I actually LOVE my bank and NOTHING is outsourced. But, it's a small local Florida bank (BankAtlantic).

  13. You poor, girl!!! What a mess. I've had my debt card number stolen a couple of times and Bank of America has been amazing about it. You need to switch!

  14. The most annoying thing in the world are the phone trees from hell. There really isn't anything that gets me in grumpy mood, but when I sit on the phone on hold sometimes for over an hour to be transfered or have options repeated over and over, only to have the line disconnect, I can just feel heat rising.
    What is more bizarre in your situation is that they said they would remove the charge (partial solution) but then they go back on it by saying it is if they suddenly feel the need to investigate, whenthey should've taken a more proactive approach. I hope you get this resolved quickly, and perhaps consider another bank. There are many options for you out there!

  15. I had $1,200 stolen out of my paypal and bank account and that was a fiasco. I first called paypal and told a woman with broken english about it and she said to contact the seller and make a claim. WTF? why would the hacker even respond to my emails? I called again and asked to speak to a specialist who was very helpful. After a few days, we got the money back in our bank account, but my paypal still showed I owed them $900. WTF. I contacted them again and the lady said it will take awhile for the account to be credited because they have to try and reach the "seller" and give them the benefit of the doubt before taking the money from their account. I said "THEY DID NOT SELL ME ANYTHING!" STOP CALLING ME A DAMN BUYER and those low-life hackers "Buyers!" I finally got the account credited.

    PS. WTF the person who stole your number bought colon cleanse? It's probably a 500 pound middle aged guy in his mom's basement.

  16. I didn't have time to read the other comments so I'm sorry if this is a repeat of examples others have given. mom had her card number lifted from handing her debit card to a waitress. Somewhere between her waitress and the register in another area, the number was written down and used for uhm...some interesting purchases. My mom's credit union, which is a Christian credit union for Christian non-profits, immediately called her.

    So it can happen even at a time like that. Her card had never been out of her hands except that ONE time the day before the purchase. It can be something as simple as that. Or, it could also be online phishing if the card was used to make a payment online.

    As far as the bank, that just chaps my hide. Something definitely should be done about that. With so much outsourcing, I think you really are left with going in and talking to someone to get some help. All in all, that really sucks Julie!

  17. That's exactly why I'm trying to get my husband to switch our accounts to the local credit union. We're currently with one of the major banks, and he's been with them for years, but they're not doing so hot, and I hate having to call Texas or Georgia every time I need help with our account.

  18. I got post happy. I forgot to add that our nearest actual branch is 2 hours away. So if we have to go into the bank for anything it's a huge ordeal.

  19. Ugh banks stink. I'm sorry you had to deal with all that. I'm annoyed with tour bank holding payments from going out until we're almost down to a few dollars (due to holiday shopping on one income) and then putting them BACK into the account. It took them almost TWO weeks to put back in a purchase I made from Disney. We had to get some essentials and of course get home and find that we're over drawn by a dollar something because they decided to put it back in. Thankfully we somehow got money in before the overdraft fees hit.

    I hope you guys get this handled without any more headaches.

  20. Wow that is seriously awful. I would hate to be even doing any type of banking with them, too bad the mortgage is with them. Hopefully it will get resolved soon.

  21. I've been using Chase since I was old enough to have my own bank account. I've been a very faithful banker and keep all of my money within Chase. As of lately though I've noticed a trend, just like you said. I can hardly understand a word anyone was saying, etc. Recently, my account overdrafted. For one, I have overdraft protection that should have covered it, but in this particular situation I knew I was going to be spending a big chunk of money so before I headed out I transfered the correct amount of money into my checking. There should not have been any issue. They charged me $70 in overdraft fees. So I called and talked to a lady who gave me no insight, played the phone tree thing, and then was hung up on. They sent a letter apologizing and explained it would be brought to the attention of a manager, but honestly that wasn't good enough. I need to do some research and decide what step to take next, I just cannot take chances like that when it comes to our finances...

    I hope everything gets completely resolved with your account! Fraud is my worse fear.

  22. Credit card and debit card fraud is such a pain in the butt. I had credit card fraud on my Disney Visa through Chase a few months ago but luckily my experience was better than yours was. I might have been helped though as the charge was through Barnes and Nobles and hadn't been shipped so they had no trouble cancelling everything and refunding so all Chase had to do was close my account and reissue.

  23. Ugh!! I would have been shrieking at the Chase woman. There is nothing more frustrating than calling any customer service and having them not speak english.

  24. Bank of America has done this several times to me and they have the same, painful telephone system.


  25. I have my mortgage through Chase and it is a pain in the behind!!!!! I also have an account with WAMU now Chase and uuuggghhh!! I hate banks!! Sorry about what you went through! Here are words to use, "May I have your name so that I may forward this info to my attorney since you seem to be unable to help!"

  26. Wow, that is a terrible run around. We have a card and our home mortgage with Chase and this makes me leery. My sister had fraud about a month ago and had everything taken care of in just a few hours, the credit - everything. It was a local bank and I've thought about switching to them.
    I never understand why people are employed with a company when you can't even understand their English. So frustrating. Sorry you had to go through all this crap.

  27. I hate dealing with outsourced call centers. Drives me batty. I already have phone anxiety and well...not being able to understand them doesn't help.

  28. I'm so sorry you had to go through this. I have a credit card with Chase and I plan on paying that one off and closing it after reading this.

  29. I know exactly how they got your debit card number. When you make purchase at certain small restaurants or stores, and you have to sign a copy of a credit card slip, many times your full account number is listed on the receipt. You sign the receipt, give it back to the salesperson, and now they have your number, expiration date, and signature. Always make sure you look for the printout of your credit/decit card number. If it's printed on the receipt, cross it out before you give it back to them. They always give me a strange look, but at least I feel safer.

  30. Ugh, we've all been hit by the monsters, huh?! I had trouble with my BofA credit card last month. Thankfully, they took care of it pretty quickly!

  31. Chase handled this totally wrong. That's why they have fraud investigate these types of situations. I once had $2,000 in charges that were fraudulant on my CC and I didn't have to any leg work, USAA did everything for me. I'm sorry this happened!

  32. My husband had his ATM card cloned. We only found out because the crook used the card 4 times at 4 different bank ATM's in Santa Barbara, and withdrew the limit for the day. In the end, it was a lot of paperwork, and the money was returned to the account for good about a month later.

    As far as we know though, they did not go after the crook. In some ways it is the perfect crime. Getting 4 banks to talk to each other and share information? Are you kidding me?!

    The other question that came up just recently is if something like this happens, and they refund the money to us, don't they also have to give the money to each bank where the money was withdrawn, essentially making it a double loss? So in this instance over $2000.

    Rather than go after these crooks, they pass the loss onto the customers. They don't do anything to stop them to begin with either. They just sit there, and let this continue to happen. They don't try and figure out where the cloning happened, or alert customers that could be at risk. It is wrong!

    We have people going to the ATMs of banks around the world and robbing them. The only thing being talked about in the news are the guys that go inside with notes and guns. These guys are getting away with much more.

  33. I always thought that if your debit card was compromised, "they" always helped fix a problem immediately...WOW! This post is scary.

    My husband's identity was stolen several years ago, luckily the thief didn't have our bank information, and everything was quickly resolved.

  34. oh no Julie! I'm so sorry you had to go through this. This sounds like a horrific nightmare. I am definitely going to keep an eye out on our debit card statements.

  35. My daughter has had a lot of "issues" with Chase too. Sorry you have had your own set of "issues".

  36. There are many high tech ways to get this info now. From people sitting in parking lots of stores to actually putting devices on ATM machines. There are also inside jobs like described at restaurants, and more sinister crooks who steal data at big box stores. If you have an ATM card that works like a credit card, don't ever use it as a debit card to make a purchase at a point of sale machine. This means they can get your PIN. Until someone steps up, that is the only way to help protect yourself.

    The other question I have is if the retailer where this purchase was made checked/verified your billing address zip code. That should have denied the purchase, unless your thief also knew that info.

  37. Ugh. I had an idenity theft issue at BofA a few years ago. It was an inside job and they scammed hundreds of people by using a fake ID to cash phony checks and withdraw money from accounts. It was horrible! The worst part was they managed to hit me twice, even after changing acct #'s! Needless to say, I don't bank there anymore.

    Sorry to hear you had a bad experience, too. It happens way too often.


Thank You for taking the time to comment on my blog. I really appreciate it. At least I know that someone in my life actually agrees with me.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Angry Julie Monday, 2008. All Rights Reserved.|Blog Design by JudithShakes Designs.