Another day, another bogus security measure

Wells Fargo provides online access to mortgage accounts. That's cool, and useful.

After you log in to your account, on every web page within the system, it says, up at the top of the page, "MORTGAGE XXXXXXdddd," where the "dddd" part is the last four digits of your loan number, and the Xs are the actual letter X.

In other words, even after you're logged in, you're not allowed to see your loan number. You can do various things, including make payments on the account, but you can't see your loan number.

I assume this is some kind of misguided security measure, just in case someone else gets access to your account. They'll be able to do all sorts of things, but at least, ~thank goodness~, they won't get your loan number!

Unless, of course, they click the "View Online Statements" link.

Where it lets you download PDF copies of all your paper statements.

Each one of which has your loan number, written out in full, near the top.

So instead of providing security, they're providing (a) inconvenience to ordinary users under the guise of security, and (b) no actual security.

All too common in security systems, alas. But disappointing and annoying when it's this blatant.

(Meanwhile, the Help system for the Wells Fargo website says that if you click a particular link, you can change your mortgage autopay setup. Which is something I need to do, because my credit union changed my checking account number a while back. Unfortunately, when I click that particular link, I actually get a page that tells me to call the Wells Fargo phone number if I want to set up autopay. The Wells Fargo phone line, of course, isn't staffed on Sundays. Which they don't tell you until you get all the way through their phone tree, including entering your account number and Social Security number. Total elapsed time from deciding to correct my account number to being told it was impossible today: about 20 minutes. Nice going, Wells Fargo.)

2 Responses to “Another day, another bogus security measure”

  1. irilyth

    I suppose they might be trying to protect you from shoulder surfers or something, in case you log in to their site from an Internet cafe in Istanbul and are like “holy crap! my account number, right on the front page, where everyone can see it!” Whereas you would presumably know not to open your statement where anyone else could spy on you? Ok, this is a little thin…

  2. S

    I closed my accounts with Wells Fargo years ago because I had a credit/personal banking situation that I wanted to deal with and they sent me to a teller, in clear vocal/listening range of the entire line behind me. I closed the account and said, that while I was not a millionaire, some day I would be and then they would regret their lack of courtesy.
    The latest is that my boyfriend, who has banked w/Fargo for over ten years, had a car loan with Wachovia at a very high interest rate. WF just bought Wachovia, so now has his loan, but is not able (yet, they say) to renogotiate or refinance.
    These are the people who have billions of tax payer dollars.
    I don’t like them. At all.


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