My U.S. Credit Card Was Deactivated After I Sent $20 to Wikileaks

January 26th, 2010

Wikileaks is down for fund raising. I sent them $20 using my U.S. credit card.

The next day, Bank of America’s Magic 8 Ball deactivated my account and sent this to me:

Irregular Credit Card Activity
Account: Bank of America ending in XXXX
Date: 01/25/2010

We detected irregular activity on your Bank of America Credit Card on 01/25/2010. For your protection, you must verify this activity before you can continue using your card.

Please visit to review your account activity, or call us immediately at 1.800.383.0618 in the US, International call collect via the international operator at 757.677.4701. We will review the activity on your account with you and upon verification, we will remove any restrictions placed on your account.

I was pretty wild, so I decided to call in. I spent about twenty minutes on the phone verifying this, that and the other thing. I had to talk to two different BofA fraud department people. But this is the kicker: The last thing they asked was for me to name a close relative and the state in which they live.

I said, “Let me get this straight: You know who my close relatives are and where they live?”

“Oh yes, it’s a public records database.”

“And we’re going through all of this over $20.”

“Well, sir, our system—”

“Never mind, I’ll do what you say.”

*shaking head*

I complied and they turned my stuff back on again and let my $20 contribution to Wikileaks go through. All of this is over 20 effing dollars?!?

When I asked the second person on the phone why this happened, she said that it was probably because I hardly use my credit card. She said something like, “There wasn’t much of a profile to go on with this account.” Ah. The AI was displeased with my lack of consumption, I guess. And when I did use my card, it was to give money to an organization that is despised by most governments and other criminal organizations everywhere.

Irregular activity. Irregular activity. Danger. Enemy Combatant. The Homeland Is Threatened. Danger. Danger. Threat Level Ludicrous. Hope. Change we can believe in.

For f*ck’s sake already.

I explained that I used the card because it’s a simple matter to generate the one time use virtual credit card number online and she was, “Mmm hmmm”ing me, and was there anything else she could help me with today…

* Just hang up the phone, Kevin. Just hang up the phone. Don’t say anything that might cause her to push the panic button and get you added to additional shit lists, etc. *

I hung up the phone.

7 Responses to “My U.S. Credit Card Was Deactivated After I Sent $20 to Wikileaks”

  1. dagobaz Says:

    This only happens to me when I donate to … ummm … interesting sites. Does this sound familiar ?



  2. Kevin Says:

    YEAH! That’s right. I definitely remember that:

  3. cryingfreeman Says:

    A computer security expert from AVG had the same problem recently:**begin***

    “But the “scary bit” about it all, he says, is that the bank fraud-prevention representative didn’t just ask him to give the correct answers to questions such as his mother’s maiden name, which he had provided to the bank for fraud detection purposes, but also a host of other questions about his daughter-in-law that he had no idea it knew.”

  4. quintanus Says:

    My credit union performs fairly badly (0.5% interest, they issued me a young saver’s account at age 28, many staff don’t understand things), but at least they don’t charge for transactions. They often send everyone a new card, whenever their computer gets hacked. They also have a list of states where transactions will automatically assumed to be fraudulent, including Florida, Ohio Texas, Virginia and spain – however few bank users know this. Given that so many businesses force you to use cards for a hotel etc, it’s hard to go back to checks and cash.

  5. realitydesign Says:

    From what I hear Paypal is not allowing any payment to wikileaks- which is beyond thuggish.

    (Please for give me if this story was posted here.)

  6. Kevin Says:

    PayPal reactivated their account a few hours ago.

  7. ltcolonelnemo Says:

    Has anyone ever had the experience where you are at the gas-pump and trying to pay with a credit card, and then the machine randomly (maybe) asks for your zip code? If you don’t enter it in quickly enough, or if the keys stick, you have to go inside and pay the cashier. This seems to happen more frequently when you are in a different state from where you regularly spend money.

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