Fraud And Babies Don’t Mix

, , , , , | Working | November 4, 2019

I am checking my bank account online and notice a charge on my debit card to a [Phone Company] store in Kansas. For the record, I do not have a [Phone Company] phone and live nowhere near Kansas. I call my bank to report fraudulent charges and am told that only a manager can file a fraud report, but as the manager is not in today, all they can do is freeze my card until the manager is back. I’m grumpy but agree.

The next day, I check on my card and, lo and behold, there’s a stack of new fraudulent charges! My bank account has been wiped out completely. I call and am told that there’s nothing they can do over the phone and I need to come in. Furious, I storm into my bank. While I’m waiting in line I can hear one of the “personal bankers” loudly gossiping in her office. To my shock, one of the things she is gossiping about is bad customers — keep in mind that her open office door is right next to the lines for the tellers — and she is complaining about me! Well, she’s complaining about “some scammer” who “keeps claiming someone has hacked her account.” She is quite animated while condemning my bad attempts to “scam” the bank with my “sob story.”

I get up to the teller and inform them that I reported fraudulent charges on my card, was told my card would be frozen but it wasn’t, and now my bank account has been drained. The teller hands me a form and tells me that I should have called the “fraud hotline” and not my bank, since the branch office cannot freeze accounts without me coming in and filling a form. When I ask why the person I spoke to first a) didn’t tell me the hotline number and tell me to call it, b) didn’t tell me I needed to come in and fill out a form, and c) told me he’d freeze my account, the teller just shrugs. I ask if the manager is back in today.

That’s when the personal banker swans out of her office, beaming. “Oh, didn’t you hear? She had the baby!” she squeals. Flabbergasted, I ask when she’ll be back. I’m told she literally had the baby yesterday, and they don’t know who will be taking over while she’s on maternity leave. I tell the teller and the banker that I am not waiting for the manager to get back to deal with the fact that there mistake just cost me every dime I had in my account. I can see the banker pale as she realizes that I am the “scammer.” She grabs an envelope off the counter and hands it to me, grumbling, “Here’s your card; it’s been waiting for you.”

It turns out they didn’t freeze my card; they just issued me another one, which has been sitting on the counter in the bank since I first called. And they thought that fixed the problem and that I was just making problems. When I keep trying to tell them that the problem was fraudulent charges, the banker keeps asking how I know they are fake charges, how I know I didn’t just make them, and how I can tell they’re fake. She’s looking very smug while asking me how I can tell when people use their debit cards so much that nobody can keep track.

I show her my printout of my account activity, showing just the fraud charges — which I highlighted — and my own four charges for the month: rent, water, power, and my own phone — my phone which is not with [Phone Company]. I also point out that I don’t live in Kansas and would be unlikely to forget about it if I did. The banker shuts up.

I get the form filled out and my bank account frozen — for whatever good that does now that it’s empty. They keep assuring me that as soon as the head office assigns someone else to be acting manager, that person will call me to pursue the fraud charges.

At no point does anyone apologize for the mistake, or show any sympathy that I am now penniless. They refuse to give me any contact details for someone higher up at the bank, and they start getting snippy with me because, as they put it, “What are we supposed to do? Our manager had a baby!” 

They do not appreciate me asking if the mother was unaware she was pregnant, if the bank didn’t realize that the pregnant woman was actually going to have a baby, or if the entire bank fathered the child and that’s why they’re so discombobulated.

They probably won’t appreciate the legal action I’m taking, either, or the attention they’ll be getting from the higher-ups whose numbers I found on my own. And, for the record, the number of their “fraud hotline” is listed nowhere that I can find.

I’d never had a problem with this bank up until now. All I can figure is that the pregnant manager had been running the place single-handedly, and the second she was away everything fell to pieces. I feel kind of bad for her; I can’t imagine the phone calls she’s been getting or the mess she’ll come back to after maternity leave, assuming the bank is still standing at all.

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