Those who follow this blog may remember that I had a mini credit card crisis in Costa Rica, when someone in the UK was hacking my account and buying stuff. I didn’t lose any money but I did have to cancel my card and was without access to my bank account for three weeks. Well, it happened again, and this time I set up a back-up plan.
After I returned from Bali, I noticed some strange charges on my account and alerted my bank, Wells Fargo. Their response is to put a hold on the card until you contact them by phone. Fortunately, Wells Fargo has an international 80-type number to call from Indonesia, which I did. And then began maybe the best customer service experience I’ve ever had.
First, an American answered the phone immediately. He was in the D.C. area and was very pleasant, even though it was 6 a.m. his time. He told me I had to cancel my current card and get a new one. I told him my dilemma and he volunteered to have the card mailed directly to me, which meant changing the billing address of my account (but he changed it back right after ordering the new card be mailed to Indonesia).
During waiting periods we chatted about the weather there but he was more interested in where I was calling from. He took care of everything for me on the phone, even having my new card mailed to be direct in Indonesia, rather than having it sent to my daughter so she could redirect it to me.
Then the guy made a suggestion. Why not open a second account as a back-up, transfer some funds to it and receive a second debit card. This could then be used in case the primary account was hacked again (seems likely). I would be able to use the second card while a new card was issued to me for my primary account. That sounds pretty basic, and may be old news to many people, but to me it was a great idea. So, in the future, I will not be without access to my money if my account is hacked.
All this happened three weeks ago and my new card arrived today. The second one should arrive shortly. The first one took 11 days to make the journey and cost $1.05. In contrast, postage for me to mail a letter to the States is about $3.