Mystery in Bangladesh: Identity Theft and Customer Service

22 Mar

My identity was stolen.

Wait, go back and read that again sentence again, but imagine this happening simultaneously.


For your edification.

Okay, maybe I’m being a little overdramatic, but it actually happened. A devious gentleman from Bangladesh somehow got a hold of my debit card number and went on a $92.67 spending spree that included nebulous Bangladeshi (I’m going to use this word a lot – it’s a great word) computer software and a calling card to Zimbabwe.

I’m lucky enough to have caught this pretty early, and so I called my bank to cancel my debit card and contest the charges. Seems simple enough, right? In the words of a boring Carly Simon song, it happens everyday. But here’s where things get extra annoying (that’s right, more annoying than the Bangladeshi guy).

I call the general customer service number for my bank. I get a computer voice offering me 30 different options. I choose one. I got more options. I choose another. More options. I don’t seem anywhere close to getting to a person on the phone that can actually cancel my card.

I go online to the bank website, and see a number for “Lost/Stolen” debit cards (digression: doesn’t “Lost/Stolen” sound like the name of a Liam Neeson movie?). This makes sense – I was just calling the wrong number. Surely this will take me straight to a person who will help me stop the Bangladeshi thief.

I call the “Lost/Stolen” number. I get a computer voice offering me 30 different options. I choose one. I got more options. I choose another. I’m back to the original menu from the first phone number! And I’m frustrated. Luckily, none of this is urgent.


This guy gets me.

But I’m experienced with these sorts of things. I know the 1-800 number cheat code (note: it’s not Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A, Start). Usually on these menus, if you press zero you’re taken directly to an operator. But not my bank. Oh, no. At my bank, you go back to the BEGINNING OF THE CALL.

It is at this point in the process that I’m prepared to let the bandit from Bangladesh have my account. If he wants to deal with the bank, more power to him. In fact, he can have the rest of my identity, too. I’ll move to Bangladesh.

angry cat

This angry cat also gets me.

Instead, I give it one more go. After pressing numerous ones and twos, yeses and noes, I reach an operator. And while she’s friendly enough, I have to repeat to her all the information I already entered. Let me repeat that, for emphasis. I had to repeat to the human all the information that the computer in front of her should have shown her. Is this real? How is this happening? He could be ordering more Zimbabwean phone cards RIGHT NOW!

So what’s the point?

Well, first of all, it all worked out. My bank account is Bangladeshi-free for the time being.

Secondly, there has to be a better way. In fact, there’s definitely a better way. This is where I mention RingByName, which would easily fix everything that my bank screwed up – intuitive menus, a computer system with my info already in it, everything – for less money than the phone company.

Check them out. Or else I’m moving to Bangladesh.

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