Slight bank panic
September 21, 2022 4:17 PM   Subscribe

I just tried to log into my bank account at 5th 3rd bank, and my saved credentials did not work. Then I tried to enter relevant information to get access, and it told me my relevant information was not correct. It included my last name, social security number, zip code and bank account number. I tried them twice and they did not work.

There is no customer service available unless I log into my account and message them. The call center is closed. The only thing I can add is that I moved and changed my zip code recently. I changed it online with the bank a few days ago. But I tried both zip codes.

Of course I can call in the morning but is there anything I can do right now? Can you give me some reasons not to panic?
posted by Glinn to Work & Money (14 answers total)
Can you do anything via their ATM? If they have one? Some banks have many facilities available at ATM kiosks.

Other than that, take a deep breath and realize that if something criminal has happened, the bank's fraud and security department should be invested in helping you straighten it out.
posted by TimHare at 4:25 PM on September 21 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: Trying to decide if I should do that, though if I go there and it says my accounts are all zero then I will be panicking more and also in a car away from home with two dogs. : /
posted by Glinn at 4:43 PM on September 21

Are you sure you're on the right website? Hopefully this login is not in response to an email that came "from" the bank, if so you may have been scammed.

Use Google or your memory to load up the site directly and try again.
posted by tiamat at 4:55 PM on September 21 [4 favorites]

This has happened to me. I was really panicking because I couldn't log in; apparently there was some computer brain fart at the other end and the bank's auto-response was to just lock the whole account to prevent fraud. I had recently moved across the country, so I think that might have messed up the database.

What I did: tried to log in from a different computer, via the main website and not from my email. Freaked out and called the fraud support line and left a message (because I was calling the east coast HQ from Alaska on a Friday night so of course nobody was there.) Calmed myself down and waited until the next morning; if someone was actively stealing my identity at that moment, I figured that it could probably wait a weekend.

I took screen shots of what I was doing and was able to still buy things with cash on hand and a backup credit card from a different bank, so I figured it could all be fixed. I brainstormed what to do if I really did get my identity stolen and did some googling about that. On Monday morning, it was like nothing had ever happened. I called back to check and apparently it was definitely a Computer Says No moment.

So my hope is that you are safe and can get home and wait it out; it should be nothing, but if it is it's better to know what to do.
posted by blnkfrnk at 5:06 PM on September 21 [5 favorites]

I would put my money in something being broken…somewhere…in the bank systems. Take a deep breath, do your best to get a good night’s sleep, and try again in the morning. If you can’t get in then, call the call center.
posted by rockindata at 5:54 PM on September 21 [8 favorites]

First off, see all of the above. Do not even read my comment until you have read the above.

Second, even in the worst-case scenario (fraud), any competent bank will make you whole. I recently had $9500 withdrawn from my account (more accurately, transferred to a different bank run by Discover [the credit card people]), I filed a complaint within 5 days (when I noticed the problem) and my bank closed my compromised account, transferred all remaining money to a new account, connected all of my various auto-pays to the new account, connected my ATM card to the new account, and gave me the $9500 "back" pending investigation.

...after a week, the investigation was closed as being correct, they sent a letter saying I was entitled to those monies, and the matter was closed. My bank is one of the multinational conglomerates that everyone hates, and they totally behaved like decent folks despite all that.

I mean, it definitely DEFINITELY sucked for a few days, but all in all things went pretty well -- and I was a victim of actual theft, whereas you are probably (see above) fine.
posted by aramaic at 6:24 PM on September 21 [1 favorite]

Best answer: If it makes you feel any better, I just saw a few tweets about people being locked out of 5th Third accounts today, as well as LOTS of people complaining about not being able to reach Customer Service when it was still within their service hours. My guess is that this isn't a "you" thing.
posted by The Wrong Kind of Cheese at 6:28 PM on September 21 [10 favorites]

Best answer: Can you give me some reasons not to panic?

Here's one: I've worked inside of a operations/data centre for a large bank. There can be service outages that range from mild to wild. How publicized they are depends on a few things, like how many customers are affected (a dozen? 1200? All of the banks online banking customers?), whether it's hit the news or social media, and so on. This might be one of those small ones that took a while for people to start posting publicly about, and you've just had the shit luck of being locked out just as you moved.

apparently there was some computer brain fart at the other end and the bank's auto-response was to just lock the whole account to prevent fraud

Or, yeah, there's something like this at play. Update routines for things in various databases may not run as frequently as they should, and you may be on the ass-end of some update cycle that could arguably be faster on their end because, like WTF? People move all the time, it shouldn't be hard to capture that right away. So, this is also a thing that could happen.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 6:49 PM on September 21 [3 favorites]

Can you call an 800 number tomorrow?

To reiterate, please don't worry. Once I dropped my card and someone picked it up and started using it right away: gas, ribs, they tried to buy clothes at JC Penney too. The credit union fraud department called me, put all the money back and went after the thieves.
posted by Rumi'sLeftSock at 6:57 PM on September 21 [1 favorite]

Finances and banking are mired in COBOL and mainframes and 1962. Odds are it's just some kind of temporary impedance mismatch between web front end and the serious stuff that actually touches money. Once is accident, twice is coincidence and three times is enemy action. Chill until and unless you get past "twice".
posted by sourcequench at 7:02 PM on September 21 [3 favorites]

Best answer: I'm a 5/3 customer, and I would swear that for the last . . . month or two? there's been a blurb at the top of my home page stating something about adding an extra security step in the near future, like they need to text your cell phone a one time passcode every time you log in. (Of course, I don't see it now . . .)

So yeah, my bet's on "temporary glitch, possibly as a result of trying to implement this additional security."

Don't panic, retry in the morning & if it still doesn't work, then you can call.
posted by soundguy99 at 7:11 PM on September 21 [1 favorite]

In addition to The Wrong Kind of Cheese's Twitter evidence, seems like quite a few "can't log in" reports in recent days on
posted by adventitious at 8:08 PM on September 21 [2 favorites]

Make sure your phone isn't in airplane mode. I noticed my flashlight app up at the top of my android screen, but I didn't notice the app is right by airplane mode. The first time I ever used airplane mode, (accidentally,) I tried logging into my bank account, immediately after. The bank straightened this out for me.
posted by Oyéah at 10:48 PM on September 21

Response by poster: Everything is fine this morning. Thank you to everyone who replied and eased my mind!
They say I was locked out due to my credentials possibly being exposed. Set up new user name and password this morning.
posted by Glinn at 5:35 AM on September 22 [7 favorites]

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