Massive Citibank Fraud Alert

Boing Boing posted a link yesterday to a first-hand account of a massive Citibank fraud crisis which has frozen countless people out of their accounts. No real details on what has actually occurred at Citibank have been given, but a lot of people have been impacted with their Citibank ATM and Credit Cards alike.

[ed: We received the same tip at the same time BoingBoing did. However, BoingBoing posted it first, and this article's author saw the BoingBoing post before the tip was looked at.]

However, while the nature and reason for the crisis might be in doubt, the appallingly crappy customer service Citibank is offering in response to the crisis is not. Here’s a snippet from Jake Applebaum’s account, after he discovered he was locked out of his account while traveling abroad.

[The CS Rep] informed me that the ATM networks of Canada, Russia and the United Kingdom have been compromised. I used the term class break as a question and she repeated that there has been a class break of the ATM networks in those countries. The ATM network in Canada has been compromised and as a result, using my ATM card over the Canadian network locked my account automatically. She informed me that this has been an ongoing issue for the last two weeks. When I asked why there was no media attention, she said she wasn’t sure. I said it was a pretty big deal and she agreed.

She informed me that I would have to return to the United States to change my pin number before my card would be valid and in a usable state again. When I informed her that I would be traveling outside of the United States for at least a few months, possibly up to six, she repeated that I would have to re-enter the United States to fix the problem.

Given that I have a Citibank account and haven’t been back to the States in years, I’m not really sure how my paying $1000 bucks for a round-trip ticket just to sort out Citibank’s fuck-up is good customer service. Boing Boing also has an email comment indicating that the fraud crisis also affects European citizens, and indicates that the nature of the fraud maybe from malware installed on users computers. They indicate that millions of dollars have been stolen from Europe alone.

Those of you with a Citibank account might want to make a test withdrawal from the ATM today. Anyone else affected?