The Bank and My Identity

Credit Card

Several weeks ago the Wells Fargo fraud prevention line called us. A delightful waste of shared oxygen had somehow obtained my credit card number and gone on a spending spree.

The perp had gone on a $43 spending spree at El Pollo Loco in Hemet, Calif. (Yeah…that wouldn’t have been my first choice for thievery either.)

We called the bank to begin the arduous process of sorting out the stolen pieces, immediately offering to obtain a police report. (Because SOMEONE STOLE MY STUFF.)

“Oh, no,” the bank rep replied. “You don’t need to bother with filing a police report. This is just a fraud issue. It’s not like someone broke into your car and robbed you.”

(In case you were curious: California Penal Code 484g. Credit card fraud. Still totally a crime.)

Undoubtedly a headache. But card canceled and a new one on its way – same names, just different numbers. The new cards arrived yesterday. Jon called and activated his, and by association, mine. This is where the sorted tale should cease.

My spending habits never appeared online. And, as TechMom, I have a need for online banking. Because who the heck still writes checks? So I called customer service.


Automatron: Please enter or say your 16-digit account number.
Me: <Bip beep boop boop bip bip boop be bee bit boop bop bip beep boop>
Automatron: I’m sorry, I didn’t get that. Please enter or say your 16-digit account number.
Me: <Pushes zero>
Automatron: I’m sorry, I’ll connect you to an agent but to better serve you please say or enter your 16-digit account number.
Me: <Bip beep boop boop bip bip boop be bee bit boop bop bip beep boop>
Automatron: I’m sorry, I didn’t get that. Please enter or say your 16-digit account number.
Me: AGENT!!!

Agent: Hi, thank you for calling Wells Fargo today. And how may I be of service today?
Me: I just got a replacement credit card and I can’t see the account online.
Agent: Certainly, I’ll be happy to be of service today. Can I get your 16-digit account number?
Me: <Gives info. Again.>
Agent: Thank you. And for verification purposes can I get your name?
Me: Tricia Stream
Agent: Huh. What is the first name of the second half of the street your second cousin’s best friend’s rescue cat was born on? (Editor’s note: I changed the security question.)
Me: [Redacted]

(Here’s where it gets good.)

Agent: Oh wow. Yeah, that account’s really messed up. Do you have another name?
Me: No…just the one.
Agent: Have you ever had another name?
Me: I got married six years ago. My maiden name is now my middle name. Recently, no change. Same as on the account that was working just dandy as of four days ago.
Agent: Hmm. I’m going to put you on hold.

<9.37 minutes worth of extended smooth jazz muzak. During which time I am free to increase my paranoia that my identity actually has been stolen – far more than the $43 worth of chicken-product I previously thought we were dealing with.>

Agent: Well, I seem to have located the problem. Wells Fargo has no official record of your name change.
Me: It was three new accounts, two mortgages and one refi ago.
Agent: You’ll likely need to get a certificate of name change notified and physically bring it in to your local branch.
Me: Does the government shutdown affect notar republics?
Agent: …uhhh…I’ll need to see if I can contact the executive office. Please hold.

It was during the next extended muzak interlude that the irony of the situation hit me. This little kerfuffle involved a supposed lack of proof that I truly am who I say I am. And I say I am the person listed on the card already in my hot little hands. The one with the “suspect” name embossed across a pretty landscape background.

So that made me feel pretty secure about all my data. Naturally I took the super secure step of telling you all the tale on my blog.



Tricia “Tinfoil Hat” Stream



Filed under Seriously?

3 Responses to The Bank and My Identity

  1. aint3113

    I’d like to tell you I have a better bank that would give you fabulous experience….but I bet you’re guessing that I don’t. Sorry for the headaches. Might be easier to just change your name back.

  2. Joanne Hamann

    OMG – I absolutely lost it with the “First name of the second half of your street….” – GREAT writing and oh so true!!! I always end up saying something like “it’s got a dog’s name in it, right?” like playing 20 questions with the stupid name I provided in the first place. Good luck with it all!

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