Monday, May 28, 2007

No Hassle? Don't Bank on it!

I happen to have a checking account at Citizens-Union Savings Bank and this month when my statement arrived I noticed that they had finally done away with mailing me my processed checks and instead were now sending a printout with miniaturized check 'images'.

Now, I hate to confess but I'm really awful when it comes to scrutinizing things like my bank statement. I usually have a close 'guesstimate' in my head on what should be in the account and quickly scan the balance to see if I'm pretty close. However the new images made me a bit more curious than normal and I pulled out the sheet to look it over.

What immediately caught my eye was that none of the check images were mine! The account information was mine and amount seemed to be in order, but the images were certainly not. Two things crossed my mind at almost the same instance. It felt very odd to be viewing somebody else's checks and it made me wonder who was viewing mine.

I called the bank and notified them and I must have been one of the first to do so because the person on the other end seemed pretty surprised but it wasn't until later that I realized that it wasn't just my check images in someone else's hands but my personal information - including my credit card numbers.

Citizens-Union sent out a letter of apology, detailing the steps the bank was doing to make sure that customer information was safe and things that we could do as well. I have to say that the bank is doing its best in a tough situation, but the suggestions ranging from opening new checking accounts to pulling credit reports and placing "fraud alerts" on your credit files are just a hassle that I could do without. On top of that the issue is with a 3rd part vendor and I wonder what steps THEY are doing to ensure that this doesn't happen again.

Citizens-Union's slogan is "feel the freedom" but right now I'm not feeling free, I'm feeling pretty chained down to my account.

Read Citizens-Union's press release here

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