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Friday, January 23, 2015

Getting hacked would be less hassle.

Good afternoon!

And some of you thought this blog would get boring now that I am no longer employed at my former employer's place of employment.

HA!

Turns out, this blog is only going to get boring if I die because, one would think, once I'm gone to my Great Reward, nothing on this earth can possibly make my life hilarious.  Because, once I'm dead, you know, one would think I wouldn't have a life to make hilarious.

But, until that time...stuff like this will continue to happen.

So recently I received a notice from my bank that my debit card, the card I use to do pretty much all of my shopping now that I'm almost to a point where I don't need to use credit cards (ahhhhh, it's nice, or it will be by the end of 2015) had been 'compromised' because a store I used said card at had been 'compromised." (I'm not an idiot.  Since I don't shop at Home Depot, the only other place that's been 'compromised' that I would have used my card is Target. Now, it could be the other place I use my card, but I have heard that Partylite's been 'compromised.'  Guess that means Partylite's computer security is far better than Target's.  Oh, and Target sells Yankee candles.  Partylite only sells Partylite candles.  I'm just sayin'.)  To protect me from fraud, my bank, the letter announced, would be sending me a new debit card in the mail soon.

I got that card in yesterday's mail.  I was instructed to call a 1-800 number to activate the card.  I've activated probably 3 or 4 dozen credit and debit cards over the years.  This phone was going to take all over three minutes.  I planned to do it during a commercial break of the Bob and Brian radio show on 1029 the Hog.

And that's where this story goes off the rails.

Call #1

Dial 1-800 number.  Enter first six digits of card.  Enter last four digits of card.  Enter zip code.  Enter last four of my social  Sit on hold two minutes.  Get a live person who asks for the following:  The card number.  My birthday.  Last four of my social..  My mother's maiden name.  I give her all that.  She says, "Hey, great.  Card is activated. Now, to set up your pin you have to go through the automated system. I'm going to pop you over there."

I'm on hold another minute.  Then I'm asked to enter the following information:Enter first six digits of card.  Enter last four digits of card.  Enter zip code.  Enter last four of my social  Sit on hold two minutes.   Get a live person who asks for the following:  The card number.  My birthday.  Last four of my social..  My mother's maiden name.  I give her all that.  She says, "Oh, I just talked to you."

I ask if she can set up my pin.  She says, "No. People can't help you set up your pin.  You have to call this number."

She gives me the number.  It's the same number I just dialed.  I tell her that. She says, "Well, you have to call and this time the automated system will set up your pin.

Call #2
Dial 1-800 number.  Enter first six digits of card.  Enter last four digits of card.  Enter zip code.  Enter last four of my social  Sit on hold two minutes.  Get a live person who asks for the following:  The card number.  My birthday.  Last four of my social..  My mother's maiden name.  I start to give the man who answers all that, and then I stop and say, "Are you helping me set up my pin?"

He says, "No.  A person can't do that. Only the automated system can."

I explain to him that I've been through this.  He says, "Well then there's something wrong and you have to call your bank."

Call #3
I call my bank.  I get Melissa. I explain to Melissa my previous two calls.  She says, "Yes, I see you called the 800 number.  Now, what number were you calling from?"

I only have one number.  It's my cell.

Melissa says, "Oh, that's the problem. I have your number as being different so we have to update the phone number.  Give the system ten minutes then call the 800 number again."

Call #4
32 minutes later I call the 800 number again.  I'm asked for the first six and the last four of my card number. Then I'm asked for the last four of my social. The automated system then says it doesn't recognize the last four of my social and I need to call my bank.

Call #5

I call the bank.  I get Shelley.  I explain to Shelley, this time with a bit of a "tone" in my voice, what's gone on.  Shelley hems and haws a bit and then says, "Well maybe you're dialing too fast.  Try calling the 800 number again and this time dial more slowly."

I can't help it.  I have to mock this.  "I'm sorry...dial more slowly?  That's going to fix this?"

"Ummmm, maybe?"

"Shelley, can't you just set up my pin?"

"Oh no.  People can't set up your pin.  Only the automated system can."

"Okay, Shelley, but if I have to call here again I'm going to be less happy than I am now."

Call #6

I call the 800 number. I'm asked for the first six and the last four of my card number. Then I'm asked for the last four of my social. The automated system then says it doesn't recognize the last four of my social and I need to call my bank.

Call #7

I call the bank again. This time I get Melissa again.  I inform her that, as promised, I am less happy than I was when I spoke to Shelley.  Eager to get rid of me, (hey, I've been in customer service...I know when someone is trying to get rid of you.) she passes me to Beth in card services.

Now, Beth is a far better match for me.  She's war weary from years of dealing with messes on the phone.  She's older, and she's a take no crap kind of person.  She also sort of starts out crabby with me and I'm explaining my saga  (have I mentioned at this point an hour has gone by since my first call?)

I really want to take her down.

"Mrs. Bradley I don't see any record that you called the 800 number beyond the first call an hour ago."

"Beth, I'm looking at my cell phone record and I see that I've called that number twice in the last ten minutes. This is my 7th call about this and just because you can't see that I've made the calls doesn't mean I haven't."

"Well I don't see that you have."

Oh she's good.  "Beth, here's the thing:  I need my pin set up. Can you do that?"

"Well no. Only the automated system can.  It's for your protection."

"Right. Like this new card is for my protection."

"Yes.  To protect you from fraud."

"But who is going to protect me from your faulty automated system?  It should never take seven phone calls to get a pin set up."

"Well, the first three were to get your phone number corrected."

At this point I do believe blood is pouring out of my eyes.  "Okay, Beth, can you help me or not?"

"No. I can't. Because you're on your phone."

"Yes, I am. I have to be to be talking to you, Beth."

"Well, you're on your phone so I can't help you."

Okay, later this was explained to me, but for the moment that's all she said and frankly, I was about done with Beth.  "So, Beth, how can you help me?"

"I really can't."

"So what can I do, then, Beth?"

 "You could wait until tomorrow to let the system reset itself."

I could. I could do that.  Meanwhile, I have no access to my cash and I can't shop at Woodman's grocery because they only take debit or cash.  So hey, as long as I don't need cash today (which I do) and I don't need anything at the grocery store (which I probably do) no problem. Just let me have no access until tomorrow. Oh, wait, tomorrow is Saturday...so probably, really, no access to actual cash until MONDAY.

I take a deep breath, calm my internal rant, and say, "I'm sorry, Beth, I'm not going to be able to wait a full day to have access to the money that is mine."

"Well, you could come down to the branch and talk to a personal banker. They MIGHT be able to help you."

"Really, Beth?  Will they be able to set up my pin?"

I feel your pain.
"No, only the automated system can do that.  It's for your protection."

So the phone call that was going to take three minutes has now blossomed, after more than a hour, into a trip to the bank.  

I go to the bank. I go to Mary, the information desk lady.  I explain, as calmly as I can, although I know for a fact I sound a lot like the mother in the first "Home Alone" movie when she calls the local police and tries to get them to help her, I'm barely holding it in. Mary gets on the phone to Beth.  They talk for a couple minutes and then she hangs up and gives me that endearing smile that pretty much looks like one I'd give a child.  "See, Beth couldn't help you because you were on the phone you had to call the automated system with.  If you'd been on another phone, then Beth could have walked you through it by phone."

I would like to now find Beth's car and write something unflattering in the salt residue on her windows.  (See, here in Wisconsin, we put salt down on the roads to melt the snow.  Everyone's car around here has a crusty salt residue but we can't wash it off all that often because it's too cold for car washes.)

I'm then directed to Bianca, the personal banker.  I explain to Bianca all seven phone calls and why I'm sitting in her cubicle 90 minutes after my first phone call.  She takes me into the conference room. We then dial the 800 number.

And everything works just peachy keen and perfect.  I'm not kidding.  Bianca did the dialing and everything went through just fine.  I don't know what sort of voodoo she worked on the automated system, but I can promise you this: The next time my bank decides to protect me from hackers, I'm just going to go down to Bianca's cubicle and have her activate my card.


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