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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Pins, Codes and Help

I know I'm not confessing something new when I tell y'all that I would seriously forget my head if it wasn't attached to my body. This pretty much covers all areas of my life, from getting locked out of the house because I misplaced my keys to blowing past important holidays and failing to pack certain essentials to forgetting to bring clean clothes up from the laundry room to not showing up at friends' Major Life Events to... well, pretty much everything else.

Including important banking information.

You know, like my pin number. And code word. Small stuff like that.

On Friday, I headed to Target to pick up some household goods. I discovered moths flying out of my wallet, so I trekked to the ATM (why, oh why do they always put them by the bathrooms? Do they think withdrawals are somehow associated with... er... anyways...). Miraculously, I recalled my pin number correctly (probably because I've had the same pin number for 20 years), but the ATM machine hereafter known as The Thief failed to give me any money.

In fact, it stopped mid-way through the exchange and even refused to spit out a receipt. Foolish me, I thought perhaps the ATM didn't have enough bills for a $200 withdrawal, so I opted to redo the whole thing, but this time only withdraw $100.

Worked like a charm.

Well, it worked like a charm except for the fact that - a few days later, as I sat balancing our checkbook - I realized The Thief recorded me as having withdrawn $200 and then $100 within the space of five minutes. Hey... wait a minute... even *I* am not that forgetful.

Especially since I'm so cheap.

I'd never withdraw $300 unless we were heading out on a trip somewhere. So, anyways, once I realized the mistake, I decided to call my bank. You know, to report the problem. Only the conversation went something like this...

TONGGU MOMMA: Hi. I need to report The Thief.

(Okay, so I didn't really say that. But I didn't want to bore you with the whole explanation again. Because really... how interesting is a story centered around the 5 minutes it takes to stop by an ATM?)

BANK PERSON WHO THINKS I'M A FRAUD: Alright. Let me just get some information from you first... what are the last four digits of your social security number and your birth date?

TONGGU MOMMA: Um ... *crickets chirping as I rack my brain* ... six-six-six-six (okay, so it's not REALLY six-six-six-six, but you get the point). And my birthday is June 3.

BANK PERSON WHO THINKS I'M A FRAUD: Great. And your code word?

TONGGU MOMMA: Umm ... *more crickets chirping* ... is it [Tonggu Grammy's maiden name]? Or maybe it's Rusty? Or...? I can't remember.

BANK PERSON WHO THINKS I'M A FRAUD: Is there someone else you can ask who knows it? Your husband perhaps?

(Since the husband was working from home that day, I quickly ran downstairs to his office to ask. And his answer? Nope. Probably because I forgot to tell him what it was.)

TONGGU MOMMA: He doesn't remember it either.

BANK PERSON WHO THINKS I'M A FRAUD: Well, ma'am, I'm not going to be able to help you today. If you can't remember your code word, you'll have to fax over some information to our offices saying that you need to change it to something you CAN remember.

(Something I CAN remember? Ouch. And slightly impossible.)

TONGGU MOMMA: But... what if I don't have easy access to a fax machine?

BANK PERSON WHO THINKS I'M A FRAUD: Are you near one of our branch offices? Because - if so - you can bring a photo id and take care of the problem there. But I cannot help you until you resolve your code word issue.

TONGGU MOMMA: Yeah, I can do that. We're only 15 minutes from a branch.

BANK PERSON WHO THINKS I'M A FRAUD: Great. Just be sure to remember to bring a photo id. The employees there should also be able to help you with your ATM situation. Now... is there anything else I can help you with?

*crickets chirping*

(And they say they don't read from a script.)

TONGGU MOMMA: (said rather dryly, if I do say so myself) Um... obviously not. But thank you!

I went by my bank's closest branch office on Tuesday. And I felt so proud of myself for remembering my photo id. But of course I forgot the ATM receipt The Thief DID give me. And I forgot to bring the letter that the Bank Person Who Thinks I'm A Fraud told me I needed to write. I also *cough, cough* told them that The Thief stole from me on Friday, but - during the course of their investigation - we discovered that it actually occurred on Thursday.

Yes, y'all... I am an idiot. But at least I'll get my money back sometime in the next few weeks. And I helped report a malfunctioning ATM machine. (The guy who assisted me said that this kind of thing happens from time to time.) AND I have a super cool new code word to use.

Here's hoping I somehow manage to remember this one.


Aus said...

Code words and security .... I'm a digital forensic guy...that makes me security concious by nature....ya know like 26 digits, no words, letters and numbers, and mix up the upper and lower case....and remember them because writing them down makes them too easy to compromise! Sorry TM - this time I'm glad your banks agent did the right thing - way better than suffering an identity theft! :)....but lacking in customer service sucks!

hugs - aus and co.

Anonymous said...

Good luck!
I am like this too. I just can't remember numbers! So I'm in the US last year, to say goodbye to my mother, so I'm not at my best PLUS jetlag. Donn had notified our cc co that I'd be using it in Seattle, because every single time we travel (often) they block it because we're someplace new. TOTAL PAIN! But in spite of the call, they blocked it. I called to complain, and because I couldn't remember DONN'S ssn they were completely unhelpful. SO I hung up, called Donn's dad, got the ssn, and then called the cc co back. But now the ?s were HARDER because I had failed the first round. (shoudn't they get easier if one is failing?) So I got nowhere and i was rather emotional.

The only good thing was that my bro had to buy all my meals! ;) And he took me out for Thai food AND to a brew-pub! :) And Donn called them again and they unblocked it so I could go shopping.

Aus said...

PS - but it doesn't make you and idiot - just not a geek....and somehow I'm thinking you're good with that.....;)

hugs - aus

autumnesf said...

Thankful that I'm not the only one. And even more thankful that I've never dealt with a cranky ATM.

Logical Libby said...

I always fear that there is some unknown code word out there just waiting to be me...

Georgia Peach said...

If it makes you fell any better: I routinely forget my passwords, user names, pass codes, pass photos, sight words, multiplication tables, and ...hang on...have you seen my coffee?

Georgia Peach

Wanda said...

Oh dear.....this post is vaguely (haha...it's those crickets)familiar.

Love Letters To China said...

Unfortunately, I have those same crickets chirping in my ears too. I think I'd forget my head if it was connect to my body. It really stinks getting old doesn't it? Not that you're old or anything.... ;-)

Aunt LoLo said...

Heh...oh, I can SO relate to this. The other day, I called a friend and left a voice message...and could not, for the LIFE of me, remember my own phone number. The next day, I thought I remembered it...and gave the roof guys Myrnie's cell phone number. It took me three days to get it back. *sigh*

Kristi said...

So glad I'm not the only one! My biggest bank frustration came when I tried to change my address on my account to my new address (as our forwarding from our previous city was about to expire) and they wanted my password. Which of course I had NO IDEA what it was. So they started asking questions like, "What year was your account opened?" Uh, when I was a early teen, like 20 years ago. So they wanted me to come in to the bank to prove I was who I said I was. Sure, want me to bring my two toddlers along with me? UGH! Banks drive me nuts sometimes.

Jboo said...

So many codes, pins, etc. son confusing! Had to take the ATM debit card away from HUB because he could never remember the pin!
Good luck!


happygeek said...

Here's how I remember codes. I pick words (I have a file of five written down ) that no one would associate with me. I then transcribe them into numbers (based on the #'s on the pin pad) and those are my passwords.

For example


Then just use the #s instead of the letters.

Works for me.

Sharie said...

I have a list of passwords at home and at work...and heaven forbid I need to do something at home and have the password written down at work...ARGH!

Carla said...

this happens ALL.THE.TIME. to me. I especially hate the 3 tries and you're locked out thing, then you have to call during business hours, remember the answers to the security questions like "what was your high school mascot" and I have ONE chance to answer it and I can't remember if I filled out the questions thus putting MY high school mascot or if Dh filled it out thus putting HIS high school mascot. Then, I worry, if Dh filled it out with ME in mind, did he make the mistake of NOT making my mascot plural? Then, did he remember the COLOR with the mascot, but we couldn't be something plain like "the bears" no we had to do something like "Purple Bears!"

Then, after successfully navigating THAT question, I have to answer the "What was your best friend's name from childhood?" or something like "What was your first pet's name?" Which pet? My actual real, honest to goodness first pet, or the first pet Dh remembered me having?

and don't even get me started on having someone in your family that goes by their middle name...

Patty O. said...

Don't beat yourself up. When I went to the bank to open an account for Charlotte (she was only a couple weeks old) I couldn't remember my PHONE NUMBER! Who forgets their phone number? The only thing I can think is that the pregnancy hormones coupled with no sleep somehow conspired to make me the dumbest lady in town. To this day, I am pretty certain the phone number on Charlotte's records is incorrect.

Chris said...

Never had the ATM keep my money, but I did have it give me a $1 when it should have been a $20. thankfully the bank attached to the ATM was open and I could fix the problem. I asked what I should have done if they were closed when it happened , they said "oh just call us" Uh-huh! I can see that could work out well.

3 Peanuts said...

Oh TM...I can relate more to this post than anything you have ever written. this happens to me DAILY! yesterday I could not remember my blogger password...BLOGGER! I skip one day and forget it.

You are lucky to only have 1 child right now...because I often forget the peanuts names....I am looking right at Harry and I call him Will! If you find a cure, let me know and I am glad the THIEF is paying you back.

BTW...my satellite radio expired and I cannot renew if because I cannot remember the phone number I had when I got it and they cannot locate my account!

Dita said...

I have so many now and I mix them up for fear a thief (a human one) may figure mine out if I use them too much and then I am scared to answer the security questions because they get so detailed that I think someone will for sure steal my identity if they ever get the answer to first pet, mother's maiden name, first boyfriend, etc. They are getting so detailed now like "boxers or briefs" and before long nothing will be sacred.

I have a running list that I cut in half like a secret treasure map and when I need it I put the two together...however, I have a problem......I can't remember where I put the other half.

Wait 'til you get my age, TM


I am impressed that someone other than me (and my crazy organized mother) still balances their checkbook!