How would you feel if you woke up one morning and found your bank balance down to $0.56 when the lowest it should be is $180.00? Well this has happened to me and I was pissed! There were two ACH’s or withdrawals. One for $12 and the other for $513.00. Not a very small amount. Yes, I realize this could have been worse, because this is not the first time something out of our control has happened to our banking account.
The first thing I did was contact my bank who tells me to contact an 800 number of the company completing the withdrawal, wouldn’t you know they are doing it as an ACH (which basically means F**** you, we get our money no matter what). They gave me a id number of the transaction and the phone number to contact where the withdrawal originated.
This led to 20 minutes of phone call after phone call. Finally I reached a bank in Napierville, Illinois. I then was transferred from department to department telling my story over and over. I finally was connected to the correct department who then informed me that the name of the company is Ocwen Loan Servicing. They provided me with a phone number.
I proceeded to spend the next hour calling that number and about 4 more numbers that I found on ReachAhuman.com. I tried every variation that was listed on the website explaining how to reach a real person. Well that didn’t happen. They had one option if you have no account number. That was to input your social security number and then your zip code. The phone system accepted my social security number, but not my zip code and that freaked me out.
You see about 4 years ago my identity was stolen by a woman in Illinois. She had been using my social security number for years prior to being found out. The only reason she was found out was that she began using my full name and my social security number. The IRS went after me because she claimed an earned income credit and I did not claim it on my tax return. The worse part was I was on unemployment during that time and I did not want the State of Florida or the IRS on my butt. We got it fixed, but I have to check my social security statement yearly and my credit report all the time to make sure nothing is happening to my identity.
The connection of a bank in Illinois taking out the ACH and the woman in Illinois who stole my identity makes me suspicious. I told Chris what was happening. Actually I woke him up with a quick breakdown of the mess we were in. I told him I was leaving and going to the bank to figure out what to do. He decided to go too.
Our bank suggested stop payments for both withdrawals and a ACH contest form. Of course the stop payments cost $30 each, but they were nice enough to not charge us for both. I still don’t see why I have to pay anything. I understand being charged for overdrafts, but this is for a mortgage company withdrawal and I don’t have a mortgage!
It is very possible that Ocwen Loan Servicing made an error when they submitted the withdrawals. Maybe the bank in Illinois or our bank made an error. I don’t know, but it sucks when you work your butt off saving money just to have a mistake or worse, fraud take it from you.
So there you have it. We took money from our savings to cover the expenses that were outstanding and to bring our balance above the minimum so that we did not pay a checking fee. I will continue to check my accounts twice a day. I added Lifelock for me, just to be safe. That was a knee jerk reaction though. After looking into what their services, I don’t think they do much more than I already do. I will be contacting the credit bureaus and freezing my credit. We already keep very little in our checking account so that will continue and we will probably change banks.
You could say I am overreacting, but am I? My father died recently and someone submitted a tax return in my parents name for last year. It wasn’t my mom. My husband spoke to at least 2 other people at his work who had their checking accounts hacked. In fact Chris had his debit card number stolen and someone was in Orlando shopping at WalMart while Chris was in Melbourne working.
Identity theft is a growing criminal industry in this country. According to Credit Donkey.com Identity theft was the number 1 complaint in the FTC’s Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book. This can happen to anyone, but there are precautions to take. Not that they have helped us much, but here they are.
I hope you never have to go through the loss of your identity or even have your checking account hacked. It is a scary situation to go through. If you happen to go through it, stay calm, keep a level head and do not take it out on the people who are trying to help you. The first step is different for different circumstances. When my identity was stolen I contacted the IRS and followed their instructions. No one quite knew how to handle it, even the IRS. We ended up hiring an accounting firm and they fixed everything. This time we contacted the bank and are moving forward. I promise to update you whatever the outcome may be.