Bollywood

I BofA’d Your Netflix in Thailand

A typical Thursday night – for me, anyway – goes like this: (1) Get off work at 11PM. (2) If plans weren’t made, head home. (3) Get out of monkey suit/work uniform. (4) Feed cat. (5) Binge on the Internet ‘til some ungodly hour in the morning. It’s not an ideal or healthy routine, but it’s something…for now.

I decided to throw a wrench in that cycle by adding an old friend to the mix – Netflix. In the Before Time – when movies and streaming were still one option – I was an avid devourer. Nowadays, I leeched off of other people’s Netflix whims. What I missed was a steady supply of anime and Bollywood musicals a mere keystroke away. So, I rejoined via a 30-day free trial.

And that’s where the trouble began.

The day after a night of streaming anime, my cell phone buzzed me awake. At 10AM. I didn’t get to sleep until 7AM. The interruption of slumber was unappreciated. It was from Bank of America, or rather…their fraud department. My account had been locked out due to some recent suspicious activity.

After a two-hour power nap, I logged onto the BofA website to see what they were talking about. Lo and behold, it was locked out. Every time I tried to access my account info, it asked me to click on some fraud website for details. It was all mighty cloak-and-dagger, kinda suspicious, and extra cheesy.

Sidenote: Some of you may be wondering why I even have a Bank of America account. The reason is this – it wasn’t my choice. It’s a credit card I’ve had since college. Before being a BofA card, it was MBNA. Of course, after the ’08 ecomonic crash, that company was gobbled up by the precariously-footed financial giant. Hence the reason why I have no choice but to bank with them. Unlike some of the horror stories, though, I really haven’t had too many problems with them. Well, until recently.

I finally broke down and called the shadowy BofA “fraud protection” number. A perky woman (and, for once, not outsourced Indian) answered. She explained that the suspicious activity on my card was listed as a Netflix charge. Wait…that didn’t sound right. How could my card be charged if I was doing a free trial? Some quizzing on mine and her part ensued to verify the account, then said card was reactivated. However, the website access remained locked.

The next night, I called the regular customer service number to find out why the online option was unavailable to me. They confirmed that my account was indeed active but had no explanation for the website lock. Any attempt to address it couldn’t be made until regular business hours. On Monday. Lastly, the customer service rep informed me that Netflix had tried to charge my card, not once, but three times. Three simultaneous attempts at authorization led to the transaction being labeled as “suspicious”. I could understand that. Why would a “free” trial require three attempted authorizations?!

Groaning, I called Netflix. The barely-pubescent teller confirmed that there were, indeed, three attempted authorizations on my card. Two of them were for – get this – ZERO dollars. The last was for two dollars MORE than what a standard monthly fee was for streaming content. Pube-teller reassured me that the auth-attempt would fall off after two business days. So…by Tuesday.

And all while this was happening, I received an emergency notification from Google saying my e-mail had been compromised. Someone tried to access it. In Thailand.

What have I learned?

Absolutely nothing. After finishing this post, I’m going back to watching anime on Netflix streaming – all the while munching on BofA-bought Taco Bell while keeping my Gmail open. I have a routine to uphold, after all.

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Sunday, October 16th, 2011 Musings 3 Comments

I work for tea money.

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