Every time there’s a credit breech in the news, the Bank of America sends out an alert letting me know that they will be replacing my debit card. This is so that no one can hack into my account using the information from the card that I have used to pay for things previously, that I may or may not have used at the company that has been hacked.
At first I was overjoyed that the Bank of America has my interests at heart. Certainly there are enough people out there who fully expect their bank to wipe their asses for them. I encountered those people just working at a number of stores that have been victims of that same criminal activity. The numbers more than justify our banks taking the initiative, so what’s my problem?
I’m not an idiot. At best, I consider myself to be a sufficiently educated individual, capable of making the wisest decisions based on the information presented to me. But if the Bank of America is not going to tell me specifically what company has been breached by criminal elements unknown, then they are treating me less like a valued customer at their bank and more like a toddler at a daycare.
Lets say there’s been a news report of contaminated spinach in a grocery store in Oregon. As a result, all grocery stores have now pulled spinach from their shelves because there is no way of knowing the breadth of the contamination and everyone wants to play it safe. You and I have gone to a restaurant and I have ordered a salad. When the waiter has placed the salad before me, you see a leaf of spinach in the bowl and just as I am about to raise the fork to my mouth, you smack it out of my hand and then demand that the waiter take the bowl away and bring me soup. Is it reasonable to believe I would appreciate your reasons after your actions? Probably not.
To a more extreme measure, suppose that after the alleged contamination, you went into my refrigerator and threw out all of the spinach that I had purchased sometime before the contamination. Maybe you were correct and the spinach I bought was contaminated. But maybe I bought it from a farmer’s market where the vendor has more say in the quality of the product and I was in no danger at all.
Then there’s the incredible lack of logic behind their actions, because they don’t replace the card as soon as they inform you. This particular replacement won’t reach me until the end of February. So that means between now and then, hackers could still potentially mess up my account, or what little there is to mess with. What’s the Bank of America planning to do then?
“Well, we told you we were going to replace your card, so from the time you click on the e-mail till the time you get the card, you’re on your own.”
All I want in the end is the choice. Because if I choose not to get a new debit card, I’m taking the risk onto myself and have no one to blame but myself if my account is hacked. But I’m not going to make a reckless choice if I’m given all of the information and if the Bank of America chooses to withhold information that would allow me to make that informed choice, that would be on them. Maybe that’s the other reason they don’t give me the choice one way or the other. Maybe they just want to avoid being genuinely accountable.