I have chosen to own my silence.
Everyone has always been so kind to me here…regardless of my transgressions, which is very sweet considering I’m imagining you’re really thinking, “Geez. What a noodle. Honestly, I think her behavior is reprehensible…and she’s a bit of a dweeb.”
Wow. You guys are harsh.
I won’t bore you with all the crap that’s getting in the way of my blogging. Suffice to say, it’s ongoing and I’m doing my best to power through.
Nevertheless, I do have a story to share…complete with a moral and everything. Consider it my belated Christmas present to you all…or maybe an early birthday gift. Mazel Navidad, people.
So, it was a typical Sunday and I had just finished paying my bills online. Due to a somewhat unhealthy proclivity for waiting until the last minute, I usually wind up paying half my bills through the bank’s online bill pay and the other half directly on
Comcast’s Verizon’s American Express’ the company’s own website.
Whatever. Poe-tay-toh, poe-tah-toh. Either way it gets paid, right?
It couldn’t have been more than ten minutes after I’d logged off the computer that my phone rang. The ID gave an 800 number and I was annoyed that a business had the nerve to call me on a Sunday. This may explain why I barked, “WHAT?” instead of the customary “hello”. After a half-second delay, I heard a female automated voice say, “Hello. This is the Wells Fargo Fraud Alert Division of Wells Fargo Bank, notifying you of some unusual activity on your account ending in 9999. Please press #1 to continue.”
I press #1. My thoughts are racing. Crap, crap, crap. FRAUD. ALERT. This cannot be good.
The automated voice says, “First, we’ll need to verify your identity. Is your first name Kathryn? Press #1 if yes.” And I freeze. (Picture deer in the headlights…eyes wide…mouth shaped in the perfect “O”.)
My gut instinct is screaming, “HANG UP! SOMETHING’S WRONG. CRAAAAAAAP.” So, I punch the “end” button, severing the call.
Shocking. Outrageous. Appalling. Craaaaap…
The rep put a temporary freeze on my account and suggested I call the actual Fraud Hotline, which would not open until 8am Monday morning. (Interesting observation: The actual bank keeps banker's hours. That should have been my first clue.) The next day, I inquired as to how this sham could have occurred, given that I’d ensured I was on a secure site. The (actual) Fraud-bank-lady asked if I’d typed in the web address myself, or if I’d used “my favorites” to find the link. Evidently, hackers can worm their way into your PC and change your bookmarked favorites to go to their hacked site…one that looks just like the real deal…and then you are in some deep doodoo. (The “doodoo” part is me…bank-lady remained quite professional throughout.) After speaking further, we ascertained that the “account#9999” the automated voice had mentioned was, in fact, the last 4 digits of my debit card and not actually my account number. Bank lady saw no suspicious activity but suggested that I close out my account and open a new one…which I did, that very day. She also suggested that I always type in the web address myself to ensure I'm landing where I'm supposed to be.
The moral of this story?
A) Don’t pay anything online. Just put the bills in a drawer and wait for the company to knock on your door so you can pay them in person.
B) Never answer the phone on a Sunday.
C) Calling someone a “noodle” and a “dweeb” may result in charges of slander…and possible jail time.
D) Whenever an automated voice asks if your first name is Kathryn, always say no.
I believe the answer is “E”…all of the above. Either way, there's a lesson in there.
Talk soon, xo