Crazy NW Wash ATM's begin deleting bank balances with small debit card purchase! : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

If anyone else has posted this, I missed it. Apparantly a couple days ago according to local TV news a number of people (they have found 25 so far) have had their bank account totally reduced to zero by the use of their bank debit card for a small purchase. (Gasoline was the common purchase cited) Some people lost thousands (which the bank assures it will restore). Apparantly a company called Trans-Alliance who did some sort of accounting for the bank WAS UPGRADING THEIR COMPUTERS when they somehow caused the ATM's to malfunction.

-- Ann Fisher (, January 21, 1999


Do you remember which station aired the show, and in which city/state?

-- Reporter (, January 21, 1999.


-- Ann Fisher (, January 21, 1999.

ordinary programming error?

In the midst of bazillions of y2k "upgrades" -- in other words, going into and possibly disturbing and recompiling nearly all old code, doing a decade's maintenance and testing in a few months -- can we even separate the "ordinary" programming errors from the y2k ones? All we're likely to see is a greater QUANTITY of errors. And their interplay is what creates the unknown range of outcomes, from weekend headache to TEOTWAWKI.

We need views from the trenches. And we need to distinguish errors by the order of magnitude of their consequences. Bad debit cards will cause tiny economic losses to banks and their customers. Bad embedded systems may shut down electric transmission or oil from the Middle East.

Right now, we are eager to hear ANY evidence of glitches. But we already know they are happening and will happen. We shouldn't obsess on whether they can be PROVEN to be "y2k glitches", though this is probably still healthy curiosity at this stage of 1999. The "authorities" have already conceded the "weekend headache" scenario.

But their quantity in trivial areas matters little compared with the effects of a LESSER amount of glitches in INFRASTRUCTURE. Let's think this through and try and provide more targeted commentary for the thousands of concerned lurkers who do NOT post their every thought or mood.

Let's focus. Attempt responsibility. (Even though it is kind of exciting, like being sent home from school on a bomb scare.)

(Thank you, No Spam Please.)

-- (, January 22, 1999.

Arc Angel, I went thru this same problem with Nations Bank back in the summer.I finally got fed up and closed the account, or so I thought. After paying the disputed approx $430 dollars, I was ready to move on. Then I received a notice to deposit $139 or they would close my account.Now I get letters from collections. This could be a personal problem, but I dont think so.

-- King of Free Estimates (Isnotpaying@this.time), January 22, 1999.

If nothing else, this shows the importance of keeping your statements, etc. It may also be a good reason to eliminate personal debt asap, or if that's not possible to centralise your debt as a single fixed loan, paying off all others. Cancel all credit and debit cards if you are paranoid (though I can't see how an alleged debt could ever be enforced without a legally acceptable proof of indebtedness such as a signature, and I very much doubt a court would accept computer data as proof. Especially not post-2000!)

I've tried to verify the original post with a web search and couldn't find anything. Of course, if it's a localised problem the local media reporting it may not be on the net. These things do happen, more frequently than anyone would like to admit. Y2K remediation is certainly not going to improve anything!

-- Nigel Arnot (, January 22, 1999.

"In the midst of bazillions of y2k "upgrades" -- in other words, going into and possibly disturbing and recompiling nearly all old code, doing a decade's maintenance and testing in a few months -- can we even separate the "ordinary" programming errors from the y2k ones?"

No we can't, and why even attempting to? It's obvious that those errors are more and more common by the week, whether they're "ordinary maintenance" or Y2K upgrades they're clearly happening a lot.

Last fall my bank merged, Corestates and FirstUnion. Corestates sold some branches to Sovereign Bank and the rest to FirstUnion. I happened to have opened my account in a branch that was going to Sovereign, so I closed all accounts to switch to FirstUnion (mistake going with them.) Got all my cash out of those accounts and deposited in new FU accounts. 2 of the original accounts were my kid's in which they deposited money they save themselves. Not much, less than $300 each. They decided to keep the cash and start shopping for Christmas. I recieved confirmation from Corestates/Sovereign that the accounts were closed and bal of 0, and a week later I recieve separate statements from Corestates/FirstUnion with their names on it, with same balance that I had withdrawned and closed. Mistake was in our favor, but mistake all the same. Was it upgrade mistake? Was it bad communication error between human clerks? Was it a routine maintenance mistake? Who knows? My point is that a slew of bank mergers have occured and still are occuring and mistakes are happening exponentially with mergers, Y2K upgrades and routine maintenance. I'm now paranoid with my statements since last fall and getting more paranoid each day. Enough that I want to close them alltogether and stash the cash.

-- Chris (, January 22, 1999.

Jor-el and Chris ---- agree. Y2K, at least through much of 99, will be jumbled "noise" on top of systems that were always almost broken (see: Hamasaki). No point in trying to over-analyze the particulars. Watch instead for the increase of the noise.

Proposal: we'll know that Y2K has broken through the noise level when jokes about various minor breakdowns becomes the subject of near-daily jokes on Leno and Letterman.

Second Proposal: we'll know the masses are scared to death when Leno and Letterman stop offering near-daily jokes.

I be serious.

-- BigDog (, January 22, 1999.

My son has his account at FirstUnion. Since he got his debit card in September, nine times the bank has charged him NSF charges, even though the funds were available. Once it was 3 times in one day! Each time, the bank has reversed the charge after a phone call. The last two times, the bank had reversed the charges before he even knew about them.

However, the bank assures me Y2K is NOTHING to worry about! They are SURE they are ready........


-- Sheila (, January 22, 1999.

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