05/01/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Big Bank, Bigger Mistake, Biggest Woman

Early January, my identity was stolen and the money from my checking account drained to $17. After filing a fraud claim and being denied, I was informed by my bank that, regardless of what news broadcasts and a simple Google search tell me, it's impossible to clone a debit card and I must have withdrawn the money myself. Refusing to take "no" for an answer, I brought my complaint here, to the Huffington Post, as well as my local police department.

I walked into Hollywood PD and filed a report. The police officer confessed there are at least 15 people each day who file the same kind of report. More often than not, even when the investigation proves the customer is innocent and has been robbed, the bank will refuse to refund the money. I asked him how this could be possible, how a bank cab knowingly deny a claim that deserves being approved. The officer said a bank can do whatever it wants. Walking out, and holding back tears, I left matters to powers higher than myself, and crossed my fingers that when I reopened the claim, justice would prevail.

A week went by and nothing.

Two weeks went by and I visited Chase to deposit a check. I know I said I'm closing my account, but fear of looking like a criminal has kept me from closing it before I got my money back. When I checked the balance, I couldn't believe my eyes. All the money had been refunded... Even the countless $3 non-Chase ATM fees. When I returned home, I checked the mail, and while I never received an actual letter saying my claim had been approved, or a call of any sort, I did get this letter.


Dear Valued Client:

The security of your information is important to us and we strive to handle it with care and discretion at all times. We are writing to let you know that your name, address and account number(s) may have been viewed inappropriately.

In our regular course of business, we use approved outside companies to mail letters to our customers. We were recently informed by one of these companies that an electronic file with the above referenced information about you was posted to their website in error....

As soon as the error was discovered, the file was removed from the website. Unfortunately, the file was accessed by a non-Chase employee. We determined that the name of the file did not include "Chase" or "Washington Mutual" in it; however, if the file was opened, your information could have been viewed.

Please accept our apologies.... Having your name address and account numbers would not allow someone to access your account. However, as a precaution, we want to offer you one year of Chase Identity Protection... free of charge...

So... What they're telling me is... I wasn't robbed by a thief on the street. There was no magical cloning machine. My bank may have actually enabled robbery by sending my private information to different companies, who then posted my name, address and account number(s) all over the internet. And even though it didn't say "BANK," anybody could have opened it. And they'd like to make it up to me by offering me a year of Identity Protection for free.

While I don't like it, I can accept the thought of all my information floating through the web. What I can't accept is how they intend to make it up to me, aside from returning my money. How can Chase protect my identity when they are the institution I need to be protected from?

Dear Chase,

I was robbed because of your error. My identity was stolen because of your error. The next seven years of my life will be spent watching my credit report with a faint heart because of your error.

Please accept my apology for moving my money to a credit union I can trust. Relationships are based upon trust. The trust is gone and this relationship is over.

Eat Poop and Die,

Jennie Ketcham