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perils of online accounts

by Rob Friesel

Forget thieves and blackhats out there pilfering your SSNs, credit card numbers, and all that. Put your fear in the very same institutions that legitimately ask for, need, and SSL your info.

A couple years ago I’d had a problem with a particular bank. We’d signed up through MS Money to auto-sync the account details. This seemed to go fine for a month. And the second month. But after the third or fourth things seemed out-of-whack. Because somewhere during month #2, it had entered a deposit twice. (A paycheck isn’t something to have in there twice. Gives you the wrong idea, doesn’t it?) Things turned out OK in the end but potentially scary, no?

More recently, I created an account with my student loan vendor, mostly so that I could keep track of the balance etc. (Since we’d lost some of the payment history when the Quicken file got trashed in an epic hard drive failure…) Anyway, we created our account and after confirming the this and the that to get in, we were greeted with a prompt to “Set up online payments?” Our options? Set up automatic debits. (No thanks.) Pay online. (Er… No thanks…) Or “Do not enroll at this time.” We opted not to enroll. However, for some reason, the system elected to interpret “change nothing” as “enroll us for electronic payments and stop sending us our regular statements/payment reminders.” Getting that corrected was a phone call away but the customer service rep’s assertion that we should be getting reminders emailed to us was a little patronizing.

Don’t try this at home, folks.

currently playing: KMFDM “Megalomaniac”

About Rob Friesel

Software engineer by day, science fiction writer by night. Author of The PhantomJS Cookbook and a short story in Please Do Not Remove. View all posts by Rob Friesel →

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