News to everyone who uses HSBC online banking: We've heard of four different people who mysteriously had a couple of thousand dollars withdrawn from their HSBC checking accounts this week. When they called the bank to figure out what was going on, they discovered that it's been happening to hundreds of other people. So much so, that the bank's fraud department can't keep up with the reports. A quick Internet search turned up this consumerist.com post on the subject, which explains that it's a widespread problem among online banking users. According to the Website, a fraud investigator told one customer that the bank's "fraud department was so overwhelmed, it was still in the developing stage" of how to handle it. When we contacted HSBC, they acknowledged there was an issue but reassured us:
We are ensuring zero liability for our customers and are reissuing ATM/debit cards to those impacted. HSBC has well-established internal security measures to prevent fraudulent activity. We take fraud of any kind very seriously and are continually monitoring customer activity to identify and avert fraud.
"I don't what angers me more, the fact that I am missing all this money or that this crook only got charged a $1.50 withdrawal fee!" one customer, who lost nearly $3,000, told us. "They tell me it will take 10 to 20 business days to get my money back in my account. This is not a very impressive turnaround for the 'world's bank.'" So, if you have an HSBC account and use online banking, you should probably check your accounts today. You'd rather deal with it today than stew over the weekend about it. You've got guacamole to make for the Oscars!