Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Don't use the "h" word with them!

Want to make a bank customer service person reach for the Valium? Ask him (or her) what it means when they say that your debit card was cancelled because it was "compromised."

I spoke with two customer service drones today who tried to make me feel thankful that they had cancelled two of my debit cards (for two different accounts) because the debit card numbers had been "compromised by a third party."

Like a nincompoop, I kept trying to find out what ATM, or store, or online service I could have used that had caused Visa to decide my cards were "compromised" and cancel them with no notice to me. Finally, at the second "supervisor" level, I got plainer language.

"A third-party database was compromised" and my cards were both listed in that database. Upon further prodding, it turned out that a third-party used by Visa and my bank, not a third party used by me, had the compromised database. And "compromised" is the euphemism for "hacked."

Whew! Well, that only took 45 minutes of my workday to choke out of them.

Anyway, I'm suffering the consquences of their shoddy security -- oh, excuse me, a third party's shoddy security -- as I wait seven business days to get replacement ATM cards. Cards which I must then take into the bank during business hours to get the pre-set PIN numbers changed to something I'll remember. Until the next time the bank gets hacked.

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