Fraud protection FTW



  • This week, after being denied a credit card for the N'th time, I decided to enable bank's fraud protection on my debit card. It's one of the standard schemes where they're supposed to monitor your account's usage profile and ask you for confirmation if something doesn't look right. Everything seemed allright and I was happy with the service (apart from the fact that they keep calling it "identity fraud protection" for some reason).

    Yesterday things got a bit more interesting... I got two letters sent to the correct address, but the postcode had a mistake - last two characters were swapped. One was from the bank, the other one was from some company, I've never heard about which asked me to send them two documents out of (originals - photocopies not accepted):

    • bank statements
    • mortgage statements
    • credit card statements
    • mobile phone bills

    Additionally they want a photocopy of my passport, or a birth certificate.

    Funny thing - there's no contact number on the letter, no name, no reason given for that request, no additional information. It starts with "Thank you for your application" even though I never contacted them. There's only a reference number and the company's logo. They attached a prepaid envelope, addressed to a PO Box. It ends with "Yours sincerely, Consumer Help Service". I asked in the bank and they don't see any problems with that.

    So yeah... the letter is now in trash and I'm cancelling my "identity fraud protection" on Monday. I'm still thinking whether I want to keep the account... On the other hand - if I ever need to start a scam based on stolen identities, I see I don't even have to try hard. If anyone responds to a letter like that, it should be a really easy job :)

    And while I'm talking about the identity protection - the WTF bank is Lloyds TSB, and the WTF credit reports company is Experian. DIAF!



  • @viraptor said:

    One was from the bank, the other one was from some company, I've never heard about which asked me to send them two documents

     @viraptor said:
    And while I'm talking about the identity protection - the WTF bank is Lloyds TSB, and the WTF credit reports company is Experian. DIAF!

      You've really never heard of Experian?  Or just pretending not to in order to make your point (which I don't disagree with, btw).




  • @DaveK said:

    You've really never heard of Experian? 
    Or just pretending not to in order to make your point (which I don't
    disagree with, btw).

    No, I haven't. Also, which point do you disagree with?

    That sending documents that make identity fraud possible via normal mail is stupid?
    That applying for something in the name of a customer without informing him about it is not ok?
    That contacting the customer through 3 different entities (Experian, bank proper, fraud protection section of the bank) about one thing, instead of using an internal channel of communication is lame? (which would also mean that they have less chances to corrupt my data on the way)
    That their fraud protection system asks you to do things that I don't want to do exactly because it prevents the scams in the first place? (Even scammers are inteligent enough, not to send you mail asking for a photocopy of a credit card bill with all the details on it)

    Do you really want to defend what they do? Do you send your details / private documents in reply to every single mail that says some company needs it? If yes - then don't be surprised next time someone cleans your account and sells the house you live in.

    Just to be a little bit constructive: They could just ask me to either sign all the documents in the bank - not by mail. They could also ask me for permission to share my details (they already have the photocopy of my passport and proof of my address) with the company that they have to cooperate with, to enable the protection for my account. If they're really unable to make it safer, they could at least send me the information that company XXX will ask me for the details, before they do that.




  • Have you tried check out your credit report from Experian?  That's the primary credit agency used in the US.  I don't know about the UK, but in America you can request a free copy of your credit report annually from the "Big 3" credit reporting agencies (Experian, Transunion, Equifax).  You may have an error on the report that is causing you to be denied for credit.  US law permits you to request corrections to your credit report if you feel it is in error.  You have to pay extra to get your "scores" from the 3 agencies, but Experian is really the only one that anybody cares about and usually you can guesstimate it based on whatever is on your credit report.  I haven't been denied a credit card, ever.  I've had credit line increse requests denied due to an inability to confirm my income, but it's pretty easy to provide them with proof of income to straighten that out.  My report shows a perfect credit history and my Experian score is excellent, but I've been sent to collections a few times due to billing errors by Verizon and the electric company.

     

    I find it pretty odd that anyone over the age of 20 can't easily get a credit card even with a few problems on their credit history, so you may have something major on there you don't know about.  If it's something you can't get corrected, you could try applying for a very-low limit card with high APR and pay it off promptly to build credit history.  As you demonstrate a history of successful credit utilization, you will get better offers from other companies.  It's generally a good idea to keep your oldest card open, though, as having 1 card open for years is generally preferred to having a bunch of accounts that get closed out after a short period of time.  Good luck!



  • I know why I'm denied the credit card -> it's because I haven't lived in UK long enough and every time I get close to the limit, they rise it (it happened 3 times already). Actually the first time limit was ok, but then I was with Lloyds only 2 months and they refused to give credit cards to new accounts. My credit rating is perfectly clean, but that's just what you have to go through when you move between countries too frequently :/

    I could get some crappy credit card with high APR but I'm not interested in that at all.



  • @viraptor said:

    I could get some crappy credit card with high APR but I'm not interested in that at all.

    Well, it's a very good way to establish credit and open the door to better offers.  Once you've used it for a few months (and paid the balance in full by the due date, which should prevent any finance charges) you will start to get a literal flood of "0% for 15 months" mailings.  As long as there is no annual fee and you don't keep a revolving balance, a high-APR card shouldn't cost you anything and can be quite helpful in establishing a proven history of responsibility with credit cards. 



  • @viraptor said:


    @DaveK said:

    [ ... ] in order to make your point (which I don't
    disagree with, btw).

    [ ... ] Also, which point do you disagree with?

    ROFL.  Errm.. your eyesight, I think!  Quote enhanced for clarity...



  • @DaveK said:

    in order to make your point (which I don't disagree with, btw).

    Sorry about that! Yeah - I guess I'll need my first pair of glasses soon... I feel ashamed, and would gladly remove the previous post...


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @morbiuswilters said:

    I don't know about the UK, but in America you can request a free copy of your credit report annually from the "Big 3" credit reporting agencies (Experian, Transunion, Equifax)
    We have to pay for ours (Experian, Equifax and 'CallCredit') - though the 'statutory' reports (the no-frills version with everything on, but can be difficult to read if you're not used to them) cost £2 each. Good luck finding how to order one without a great deal of hunting on their websites.

    Of course, each company produce (and advertise) their own 'service' which costs more, and gives more 'user friendly' reports, along with your 'credit score,' which will differ between the sites, and the number itself is technically only useful if the companies generating the number were to offer credit services. Of course, if that were to happen, the credit score would no longer be offered.



  • @viraptor said:

    @DaveK said:

    in order to make your point (which I don't disagree with, btw).

    Sorry about that! Yeah - I guess I'll need my first pair of glasses soon... I feel ashamed, and would gladly remove the previous post...

    Ah, the joy of the internet: every dumb thing we ever say is preserved forever, and instantly available to a global audience. <shrugs> Oh well, at least it's remorseless and impersonal.  Every dumb thing I ever said is still out there too (in b4 "everything you say is dumb") and I figure, what the hell, so is every-dumb-thing everyone else said, and it'll probably just get drowned out in the noise.  (And if anyone ever does bring any of it back up, you can just call 'em a pwnt fan-boi google stalker for WIN, so it's really no problem).


    [EDIT]: Of course, the other solution to your problem is simply to never feel shame.  I recommend that one too.


  • Maybe they were just checking how easy it would be to steal your identity.



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    I find it pretty odd that anyone over the age of 20 can't easily get a credit card even with a few problems on their credit history, so you may have something major on there you don't know about.  If it's something you can't get corrected, you could try applying for a very-low limit card with high APR and pay it off promptly to build credit history.  As you demonstrate a history of successful credit utilization, you will get better offers from other companies.  It's generally a good idea to keep your oldest card open, though, as having 1 card open for years is generally preferred to having a bunch of accounts that get closed out after a short period of time.  Good luck!

    Things are pretty tight right now. I think the "perfect credit" crowd can still get financing, but those with "good credit" (say, 700-750) are quite likely to be rejected.

    The good news (for the fiscally irresponsible, at least) is that the whole system seems to be breaking down somewhat. Almost any credit report you look at has something negative on it, due simply to the preponderance of dubious data out there. Every business seems to have this supposedly-potent ability to put something bad on your credit report. But they've used that power overzealously (e.g. reporting people for breaking a lease a month early, for moving and forgetting a $15 water bill, or for no reason at all except to see if they'll pay). Now there are so many black marks out there on so many reports that (like "A"s at an elite college) they don't pack the meaning they once did. I mean, you might be surprised what passes for a 750-score credit report these days.

    My advice to the young is to build credit, but not to focus just on the number; having a 700 with the wrong kind of adverse entry can be worse than having a 600 that's low for other reasons. If you had a car repossesed, you probably won't get good (or any) car financing, even if you've somehow managed to put together a relatively high score by way of other accounts. It just depends on the company reading the report, and most of them can and do use information beyond the raw number.

     



  • @beau29 said:

    @morbiuswilters said:

    I find it pretty odd that anyone over the age of 20 can't easily get a credit card even with a few problems on their credit history, so you may have something major on there you don't know about.  If it's something you can't get corrected, you could try applying for a very-low limit card with high APR and pay it off promptly to build credit history.  As you demonstrate a history of successful credit utilization, you will get better offers from other companies.  It's generally a good idea to keep your oldest card open, though, as having 1 card open for years is generally preferred to having a bunch of accounts that get closed out after a short period of time.  Good luck!

    Things are pretty tight right now. I think the "perfect credit" crowd can still get financing, but those with "good credit" (say, 700-750) are quite likely to be rejected.

    The good news (for the fiscally irresponsible, at least) is that the whole system seems to be breaking down somewhat. Almost any credit report you look at has something negative on it, due simply to the preponderance of dubious data out there. Every business seems to have this supposedly-potent ability to put something bad on your credit report. But they've used that power overzealously (e.g. reporting people for breaking a lease a month early, for moving and forgetting a $15 water bill, or for no reason at all except to see if they'll pay). Now there are so many black marks out there on so many reports that (like "A"s at an elite college) they don't pack the meaning they once did. I mean, you might be surprised what passes for a 750-score credit report these days.

    My advice to the young is to build credit, but not to focus just on the number; having a 700 with the wrong kind of adverse entry can be worse than having a 600 that's low for other reasons. If you had a car repossesed, you probably won't get good (or any) car financing, even if you've somehow managed to put together a relatively high score by way of other accounts. It just depends on the company reading the report, and most of them can and do use information beyond the raw number.

    My score is currently in the "Excellent" range with no bad marks at all, so I get great offers.  However, it wasn't that way 4 years ago (before I had any established credit cards) and yet I was still able to get a pretty decent first card, which is still open and has since had the credit limit tripled and the interest rate lowered to a point or so above prime.



  • I get calls from my bank like this:

    "Hello, Jeremy? This is Wells Fargo $some_fraud_division. We need you to verify some information so please just start spouting all you personal information over the phone."

    My response is, of course:

    "No thanks. Can I call you back on a number I KNOW belongs to Wells Fargo to resolve this?"

    Then they are totally confused and upset! Why don't I trust them? Why do I have to make this so difficult for them? GOD! I'm the worst customer ever!


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