This appeared on Boing Boing today. It speaks to the huge problem that we have now with all these electronic transactions and the security around them.
The thing I keep thinking about is my Sociology 101 professor who talked about how different the world was today then 40+ years ago. She said back then you got a cheque from home when you were at college and you have to basically ‘look respectable’ to get it cashed at the local bank or pharmacy or what ever. You conformed to social norms that sent the signals that you were ok to do banking with. In our current age none of that matters as much. Do you own the right bank card or have the right number. You are authenticated much differently. This is good in one way because it creates more social freedom. It is obviously has a dark side too that we are now seeing. When these electronic transaction systems break down we have a problem.
To my surprise, the ATM machine rejected the transaction and urged me to contact my financial institution. The machine also reported on the receipt “INELIGIBLE ACCOUNT.”
Jake called Citibank’s international customer support number, and soon learned that the lockout was part of a much larger fraud crisis…..
In other words, if you’re a US Citibank customer trying to use your ATM card in Canada, Russia, or the UK right now, you are totally fuxx0red. The call-and-response goes like this:
I’m stranded in a foreign country, I need cash, and I can’t withdraw cash from my account.
d00d omfg we wuz 0wnz0red, it is teh suck!!!1!1 Go home and we’ll re-issue a new card. Then be prepared to go through this all over again, and again, and again. kthxbi!
Citibank didn’t handle Jake’s problem in a customer-friendly way at all, and it appears they’re handling all affected customers with exactly the same procedure.
Also, it seems this incident is receiving little media attention, which begs the question: for each massive security breach we do hear about at Citibank or other large financial institutions, how many more occur without our awareness?