Fraud or Deception? The Assoc

Discussion in 'Credit Talk' started by dave, Dec 26, 2000.

  1. dave

    dave Well-Known Member

    I moved from one city to another in May of 2000. In November of 2000, I received a first class letter that was addressed to my old home but forwarded to my new home.

    The letter stated that my "...recent credit card application with Associates Natioanl Bank (Deleware)..." Could not be completed because it is missing my Social Security Number and date of birth.

    I did not submit an application to the Associates National Bank. Concerned over identity theft. I called 800-842-2348 to look into the matter. After I provided the reference numbe ron the letter, stated my name, they read back my old address. They then asked me for my SSN. I refused to give it and explained the situation.

    I was told it would be turned over to the fraud department and they would contact me within 7 days. More than 7 days passed, and no one called back. So I called the same 800 number, and again went through the process. They forwarded me to another person this time. This person kept asking me for my SSN. I kept refusing. They then gave me 888-592-5400 to call. I called it only to find out it is Verizon Select Services.

    Disturbed, I called the 302-286-8445, the number at the top of their letter head. Again I am asked for my SSN. They claim there is no record of me in their systems. I recite the letter on their letterhead, and Robin L. Cochran who signed it below. They gave me another 800 number to call said a fraud investigator will be assigned to the case.

    No call I call. Only to be told that "this is not a case of fraud, because they didn't know your personal information" Funny...I did not know it is legal to impersonate someone as long as you don't know your social security number. I explained how I moved and how I am concerned that perhaps the new occupants submitted this application and would like to compare samples of handwriting.

    The person thought this to be an "unusual request" so they gave me a person to contact at 800-436-1008, who is the head of security. I spoke with this person only to find out that it is "Bank policy to not release application to protect the person who submitted it" and that I would have to get the court to obtain a copy of it.

    Do you really want to do business with a company that protects the guilty? If this application is in my name, am I not entitled to see it? Once you submit an application you cannot see it again? So even if I had submitted it I could not see it without a court order? Potential identity theft is going on here and so the bank does not want to assist in investigating and stopping fraud? Why would I ever want a credit card from a company that has policies that helps increase credit costs by not helping prevent fraud!? So when it does happen...people like you and I pay for it in the form of higher interest rates or other hidden fees.

    Perhaps there never was an application submitted. Perhaps this letter was simply a ploy, and sent to thousands of others, to get them to supply SSNs, DOB, and a signature so they can access credit reports and issue cards that were never appled for in the first place. If so, this is very deceptive and in my opinion, unethical.

    So we have two scenarios here. 1). The Associates National Bank (Deleware) also called The Associates,, does not care about your personal identity and hides behind policy to protect the guilty. or 2). They are using deceptive marketing tactics, and if so, would you trust them with your financial needs?

    You be the judge.

    If there are others out there who have experience similiar situations, or other practices by the Associates National Bank, I would be interested in seeing follow up postings.
  2. Brandon

    Brandon Guest

    RE: Fraud or Deception? The A

    I understand your frustration with this situation. I think the point of them not working with you is definitely wrong but there are specific reasons they cannot release your application without a court order. For one all the information they have from you is submitted on that application which is hardly verifiable information. Heck if I knew your name and previous address I could call and request a copy of that...and that just wouldn't be right now would it. Because then we get back to that point of matching handwriting and signatures, so they are just protecting their own interest there. Major companies sometimes use computer processing to do these types of applications and I wouldn't be surprised if the person maybe just didn't pop it back in the mailbox and it was missing all of the information. I would just double check at the post office that your mail is still being forwarded and maybe even get a copy of your credit report to make sure there aren't any accounts you do not recognize. There is also an option of writing a consumer statement to your credit bureau that states to contact you personally at your home phone number before approving any applications. Although you can run into problems with applications in retail stores where you are filling it out on the spot and they obviously can not call your home to reach you.
  3. dave

    dave Well-Known Member

    RE: Fraud or Deception? The A

    This is interesting....when you file a complaint on their website

    after you submit it you are given a little "We've received your information..blah blah" then a hyperlink in their solicitation disclaimer that goes to:

    Where they ask you yet again for your social security number....ON AN UNSECURED page! Which means that if you fill out the ssn info, or any field in this form, it is submitted over the web by an unsecured means...making it easier for people to capture this personal information and guessed it...identity theft...

    So not only do they have a policy that protects people who submit applications in someone elses name...they make it easy for computer criminals to obtain personal information!
  4. Brandon

    Brandon Guest

    RE: Fraud or Deception? The A

    Well I agree you should not use their website and give them that information if it is unsecured, but their policy is not protecting just people who apply in somebody elses name but protecting the person who may have somebody calling in trying to obtain that information for purposes of fraud. If they do not have your social security number I would not worry about that particular company. I would worry more about if there were other applications submitted. Get a copy of your bureaus and then submit a consumer statement saying do not approve any applications after (the date you moved) from this address. If any are attempted please contact me personally at (your number). This will help decrease the chances of fraud and should keep you informed if there are any attempts. Companies usually abide by the consumer statements in fear of being sued. About your complaint of them safegaurding the application I would hope they do. At least they are doing one thing right. I wouldn't want somebody who despises me calling up any of my creditors asking for a copy of my application. Not to mention since your new address doesn't match the one on the application that tends to throw up a pretty big red flag.
  5. dave

    dave Well-Known Member

    RE: Fraud or Deception? The A

    I understand what you are saying about not releasing the copy to anyone over the phone. You are correct that anyone could be calling to obtain a copy.

    Their policy, however, should at that point say..."Okay, you want a copy of the application, we will mail it to the address of record." At that point it is my responsibility to ensure the forwarding order is still in effect at the post office. Certainly they should not just release it over the phone, or blindly send it to an address of fax machine. We never got the the point of discussion of how we would send it in a secure fashion, or how they would verify that I am really me.

    There are secure ways of releasing the information to the right people. It's just a matter of defining the process and exploring all the possible modes of failure and plugging up those holes. The policy of "protecting the applicant" contradicts any efforts to ensure a secure system. It is the easy way out. In the mean time, should a peice of mail go to my old address that has my SSN on it, and whoever submitted the application (if one ever existed), then has all the peices needed to steal my identity.

    The bank could also send a copy back to the individual and highlight the missing fields while blanking out any fields that contain sensative information (information beyond directory information, such as date of birth, ssn, mother's maiden name, etc). This way the person would have the application already. Granted it is more work for the bank, but it can be automated...and what is more costly, fraud or a closed loop process which helps to eliminate fraud.

    Bottom line is, the bank has a policy. The policy find a better one that works. It should be a living document. Banking is not a new industry, and technology is not standng still. I personally will not ever do business with this bank in the future because they are not flexible to examine their policy to find solutions that work.

    In any case, I do appreciate your comments and perspective. You brought up several good points.

    Just in the way of tips, here are some other things that I do...

    I sometimes include an apartment number on applications (any kind of application that asks for directory information) or suite number. I live in a house, so it really doesn't matter, the post office just delivers it to my mailbox and ignores the suite. From this I can tell who is selling my address.

    Another tip, when they ask for your mother's maiden name... I use different names each time and keep track of them. That's a cheap way of doing a "password", since mother's maiden names are public record anyway. Not to mention anyone who get's to know me well enough might find that information out in casual conversation. So I make up names and make them different every time in order to prevent people from impersonating me over the phone. I've only forgot what name went with which bank once, and they bank told me everything I wanted to know's no wonder their is fraud...they make it easy and there are too many unethical people...which is my whole complaint with the Associate's "policy"....(or subversive marketing scam, whichever the truth is...)
  6. Brandon

    Brandon Guest

    RE: Fraud or Deception? The A

    I definitely agree about the banks policy. Although you may not have gotten the correct reading of what their policy actually entails because sometimes they do not have the best of associates reading them to you. LOL Actually I wouldn't do business with them either and just by reading your post. I do think I would go ahead and not worry about the associates I would just move on to make sure that there hasn't been fraud already commited.
  7. dave

    dave Well-Known Member

    RE: Fraud or Deception? The A

    I agree. Supposidely I was speaking to the head of security at my last call. I very seldom call to complain etc. If I feel I have been taken advantage of, I chaulk it up as experience and just do not go back or recommend the place to anyone and I forget about it. On the few times I have made complaints/tried to resolve problems, however, I have found it takes at least two phone calls before getting someone who knows what they are talking about or is empowered to make a decision.

    This being my identity at stake, I couldn't ignore it. I'm disappointed in the results though. If anything, I am hoping an entrepenuer out there, or bank that wants to set a higher standard, will take note and invoke change in the system. In addition to alerting people of what to expect with the Associates.

    I sent out letters to the credit agencies last week requesting credit reports. It's interesting to note that a policy exists with them such that we are entitled to free copies of our credit reports periodically (whether it is law or not, I don't know). Also one can add to their own credit report. The fact that these rules exists indicates to me that there are more flaws in the system.

    I guess it comes from my engineering background. In my line of work I constantly look at processes and revise them to improve them and make them more robust. It is like selling a car to someone with no legs. "Here is your car you needed to get around in...oh, by the way you can't drive it because our policy is to design cars such that you need legs to move the accelerator and brake." Fortunately another engineer recognized that the feet are not the only means for controlling the speed of the vehicle and found a solution.

    Here the bank tells me I filled out an application, but I can let you read what you allegedly filled out because it is too difficult for us to identify you are you...but we will assume you are you even if you are not you.

    Okay...I think I said enough...I am not trying to complain (though it probably sounds that way)...just alert, inform, and possibly initiate someone (or myself) into finding/defining a more secure solution. This type of fraud is only going to increase, and it can be done from anywhere in the we need to step back and re-examine it rather than hide behind the policy of how we have always conducted business...

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