Bank of America HSA – You ARE NOT Protected
This space is typically reserved for employment related issues, but since an employee HSA plan falls into that category, this is as good a forum as any to discuss some issues I’ve personally been having with Bank of America lately. Note that I didn’t really “choose” to work with Bank of America, but didn’t have very many options for my company’s HSA plan. That said, we chose BOA and have moved forward since then – things have gone as smoothly as anything tied to a massive bank, the IRS and the health insurance industry could possibly go (side note: If that combination isn’t the triumvirate of terror, I don’t really know what is).
Recently, however, things have not gone so well with BOA. Specifically, I’m referring to their fraud protection measures (or lack thereof). The irony here is that BOA has lately been touting their accounts that are tied to debit cards for their security and the “100% fraud guarantee” that they offer. It turns out, however, that there must be some pretty tiny small print in this whole deal, because when I recently tried to recover $220.76 that was stolen from my BOA account (via the fraudulent use of a debit card), I was told that my fraud claim was made more than 60 days after receiving the statement on which the fraudulent activity occurred. As such, the money was….gone.
I should point out now that this occurred with the HSA account. Luckily, I make very few purchases with this particular debit card because I am generally healthy. The result is that I haven’t checked my statement since the last funding of the account occurred back in April, 2010. In May, 2010, however, someone apparently created a fraudulent card with my debit card number (I didn’t lose the card, nor did I ever give anyone the number) and made 6 fraudulent charges over the course of 5 days.
Oddly, these charges were made in the state of California (I live and work in Maryland) and they occurred at gas stations, convenience stores and a motel. So, for those keeping track at home…someone stole my card number from either a) Bank of America directly or b) one of the 4 health care providers with whom I’ve done business since opening the HSA account. Thereafter, they proceeded to make charges with a fraudulent card over the course of FIVE DAYS in a state that is over 3,000 miles from where Bank of America knows I live. In addition, none of the charges was health care related.
Now, apparently BOA did eventually cancel my card, but I was not notified of this by phone, mail or e-mail. I also did not receive a new card When I tried to reclaim the money that was stolen from me (via Bank of America), I was told that the money would not be refunded. This was so because my claim was made more than 60 days from the date of the statement showing the fraudulent activity. The moral to the story is this:
If you must do business with Bank of America (I won’t any longer unless this is resolved), I would recommend checking your statements vigilantly even if no activity has occurred for a very long time. Otherwise, it is unlikely that you will protected from fraudulent charges because you won’t catch them in time to report them and BOA will likely not notify you that any fraud has occurred (as they didn’t notify me).