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 Post subject: rant re: financials
PostPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2018 4:23 pm 
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Several weeks ago I noticed that someone had forged a couple of checks on our account the previous day. Turns out they'd stolen our mail and found an outgoing check in it. That's alarming enough. I called the police, and they showed up promptly. It was a beat cop who couldn't do anything herself, and the fraud unit works 9-5. I've never heard a peep from them. My bank was pretty apathetic -- they had cashed the checks themselves, should have monitor footage of it, and all that, but AFAIK, between them and the police, nothing has happened. They offered to close our accounts and open new ones, (which they actually did without telling us), but the problem was that I had a bunch of auto-debits lined up.

The whole bank thing was bad and alarming, but the auto-debit thing has been horrible. My wife opened a new checking account, but couldn't add me to it for 30 days. Changing settings is evidently a problem. Most accounts are in both our names, so I changed all the auto debits to the new account. I went online, filled out the right forms, and updated it all. I logged out and logged back in again to make sure it happened. My paycheck worked. I thought all was good, so transferred almost all the money from the old checking account to the new. MISTAKE! The power bill went to my old account. The gas bill, same thing. Overdraft charges are piling up.

So I called the power company as soon as I found out about this. The response? "Oh, you have to call to do that, everybody knows that -- Oh, well, obviously you don't." I asked repeatedly why they let you do it online, and why it SHOWED that I'd done it SUCCESSFULLY online. Answer: "That's between you and your bank." I'm sorry, but the bank doesn't have anything to do with what the power company shows happening on their website. Gas company, same thing. Cable, same thing. The water company, thankfully, tells you that you have to fill out a form and send it in with a canceled cheque. Oh, and cable says it may take TWO to THREE billing cycles (months) to accomplish it. The rep did tell us how to find out if it's (really) happened. Mortgage company was also honest. Car loan didn't change, we still haven't found out why.

So, does everyone out there know that you can change your billing method for your utility bills online, but really you can't -- you have to call to make it happen?

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 Post subject: Re: rant re: financials
PostPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2018 4:37 pm 
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chas wrote:
So, does everyone out there know that you can change your billing method for your utility bills online, but really you can't -- you have to call to make it happen?

No. I have done so online, when a little cash-strapped in a particular account, or if a deposit might not have cleared that account yet. However, I suspect in a case of fraud being investigated, other s--- happens.

I've also found that many banks, credit card companies, & other vendors will credit back on late fees & interest charges if asked. I've even had both happen automatically when I called their customer service line & just used the menu items to inquire. I was never even connected to a representative.

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 Post subject: Re: rant re: financials
PostPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2018 5:18 pm 
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I dont do auto debits but I have had similar issues with credit card fraud and reopening accounts, etc. Also keep a close eye on activity with alerts for "large" purchases and any "card not present" (I.e. online). Last year I got notified of a ten thousand dollar online purchase of computers. :shock: I immediately called the card issuer, assured them I had done no such thing, and started the cleanup procedures. It did take several months to get it all cleared up.


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 Post subject: Re: rant re: financials
PostPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2018 5:45 pm 
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Wow, chas. That's some parade of bad days.

chas wrote:
So, does everyone out there know that you can change your billing method for your utility bills online, but really you can't -- you have to call to make it happen?

Might depend on the company. I don't do auto-debits either, so I don't have any experience with the process at all. I just pay over the phone, using their robotic prompts and my debit card. When I don't use a card, then it's usually cash. I hardly even write checks any more, except mainly for rent.

I've experienced fraudulent activity on my account a couple of times, and it's really unpleasant just on general principle, never mind the rest, so you have my sincere sympathies. The first time for me involved a little work on my part, having to report the fraud to particular parties, and it included some time-sensitive paperwork as well as getting a temporary card until I got the new, official one. But while it was all kind of a pain in the ass, I couldn't say I felt that anybody was brushing me off; it was just the necessary process. The second simply involved closing my card for a new one (using a temporary one again in the meantime) and closing my old bank account for a new one as well. I don't recall now what the specifics were that made the two cases different, and the further details are a bit hazy, but in both cases the general process was to first freeze my old account, which allowed for the bit of lag time it took to finalize any recent card or check purchases; it didn't stop payment of transactions already made but still pending. That done, they closed it. Meanwhile, I concurrently had the new account working for me. But there was never any question that it would all be taken care of as smoothly as possible, and with no liability to me. I have to say that my experience seems to have been better than yours, chas. Sorry to hear it.

They seem to be pretty up on these things. Once I made an overseas purchase of over $200, and right away I was asked if that was me. I'm sure it'll happen again.

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 Post subject: Re: rant re: financials
PostPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2018 6:39 pm 
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I've had a utility payment check washed & cashed by another party. Badly done, too, so very surprised that any bank cashed it. In this case, the payment envelope had been deposited inside the Post Office, so it went awry somewhere after that. Another instance was a credit card purchase of airline tickets to Nigeria, that I did not make. Did tie up funds in my account until they fixed that. No one showed up for the flight. The banks & credit card companies never tell you if they've apprehended anyone.

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 Post subject: Re: rant re: financials
PostPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2018 6:45 pm 
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kkrell wrote:
I've had a utility payment check washed & cashed by another party.

Washing, eh? That's a new one for me. Had to Google it.

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 Post subject: Re: rant re: financials
PostPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2018 6:55 pm 
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Nanohedron wrote:
kkrell wrote:
I've had a utility payment check washed & cashed by another party.

Washing, eh? That's a new one for me. Had to Google it.

Oh yeah, instead of $44 to So Cal Gas, it was $3000 to somebody. I saw the check image online on my account, and they bleached it so much it looked like White Out. I mean, obviously changed Payee & Amount. I suppose someone deposited it into an ATM that wasn't on their card, & used that card & a stolen PIN to withdraw available funds before anyone caught on.

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 Post subject: Re: rant re: financials
PostPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2018 7:12 pm 
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kkrell wrote:
I've also found that many banks, credit card companies, & other vendors will credit back on late fees & interest charges if asked. I've even had both happen automatically when I called their customer service line & just used the menu items to inquire. I was never even connected to a representative.


Thanks, Kevin -- it never even occurs to me to try stuff like that. Great story about your washed cheque, although you obviously have my sympathies.

Nanohedron wrote:
Wow, chas. That's some parade of bad days.

I've experienced fraudulent activity on my account a couple of times, and it's really unpleasant just on general principle, never mind the rest, so you have my sincere sympathies. The first time for me involved a little work on my part, having to report the fraud to particular parties, and it included some time-sensitive paperwork as well as getting a temporary card until I got the new, official one. But while it was all kind of a pain in the ass, I couldn't say I felt that anybody was brushing me off; it was just the necessary process. . .


I've had fraud on credit cards several times -- the CC companies are always quick to rectify it, and often catch it themselves and get in touch right away. There's competition there. I would have thought the same of banks, but both the old one and new one have been horrible. Of course, there's no competition, or very little, with the utilities, so I really shouldn't be surprised by their unpleasantness.

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 Post subject: Re: rant re: financials
PostPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2018 7:45 pm 
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Never ever do auto debit. I learned my lesson a long time ago. Set up all your payments through your online banking. Payments are initiated by YOU so that nobody else controls your money. You can set up all your pay-to accounts. Fixed amounts you can set up to automatically send, and variable bills can be set up to prompt you via email. Cancelling or changing something can be done instantly for some things, and a few days for the longest.

They still send out a manual check from their payment center for many payees; cant be totally avoided.

And, shame on your bank for accepting charges on a compromised account. If they won't reverse the overdraft fees, you should think about taking your business elsewhere. Like a good community credit union.


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 Post subject: Re: rant re: financials
PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2018 4:25 pm 
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awildman wrote:
. . .
And, shame on your bank for accepting charges on a compromised account. If they won't reverse the overdraft fees, you should think about taking your business elsewhere. Like a good community credit union.


It was a credit union, at one point (several years ago, not a month ago) I would have used the adjectives "good community."

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