Did you get an unsolicited Chime card in your mail? Should you simply throw it away and dismiss it or should you be concerned?
Here’s the short answer:
If you get an unsolicited Chime card that you never ordered, you should contact Chime customer support and have your account closed. Next, place fraud alerts on your credit report with Equifax, Experian, or TransUnion. Finally, report it to the FTC.
Keep on reading as we’re going to uncover the causes behind these unsolicited Chime cards, and how to protect yourself, step by step.
Why Did I Get A Chime Card In The Mail?
Getting an unsolicited credit card in the mail is nothing new for Americans. It was a popular method of onboarding new customers, and people could start using their new credit cards almost immediately.
However, the banks have overextended their stay and this is one of the most annoying marketing practices now. Not to mention a waste of paper and plastic.
Chime isn’t known for sending their cards to people without them applying for one online. You have to sign up for a Chime account via the app or on their website. You then have to order a physical debit or credit card that will subsequently arrive in around 10 business days.
For that reason, getting a Chime card that you never asked for could mean one of two things:
- The card is real and someone opened a Chime banking account using your personal information, or
- The Chime card is fake and the scammers are trying to get your personal information when you call the “customer support” number printed on the card or in the letter
I haven’t seen any chatter online regarding the latter option. On the flip side, Reddit is full of posts of people getting REAL Chime cards in the mail and their conundrum when trying to figure out what had happened and how to close this Chime account.
How to Close Chime Account?
Closing a Chime account if you opened it on purpose and can log into the app is somewhat easy. You first have to move all the balance into your bank account.
After that, if you’re an Apple user, you can close the account directly in the app:
- Open the Chime app
- Tap the gear icon to open Settings
- In Personal Info, tap the ”Edit”
- Select “Close account”.
- Verify your identity by entering the last 4 digits of your SSN
- Tap on the “Submit Request” button
- You’ll see the “Your request has been submitted message”
- Tap the “Got it” button to finish the process
Android users will have to use the chat option in the app to close their accounts, or alternatively by calling the phone number.
But what if you NEVER even opened a Chime account and you can’t access the account or app but have received a Chime card in your name?
You have to be 100% sure that you have the correct Chime support phone number or email address because you will HAVE to tell them the last 4 digits of your SSN and perhaps your full address.
They will probably also ask you to send them a copy of your photo ID. For that reason, it might be better to contact them via email as you can do that in the same thread after a few emails are exchanged and you’ll have all the proof in one place.
You should also insist they send you a confirmation that the account was indeed closed. However, the company might not comply with that request.
Sending this highly sensitive information to someone after somebody opened a bank account in your name feels very uncomfortable. But, as far as we know, that’s the only way to close the account.
If the company (Chime isn’t a bank) were to close accounts without verifying who the person on the other side is, people could close your account without any issue as a prank or as a way of harming you.
The same can be said about opening an account. And indeed, how did someone open an account in your name?
Ever since the Equifax data breach in 2017 when 147 million people had their information stolen and exposed (including their SSNs, names, addresses, etc.), no one knows how many people were harmed by identity theft resulting from that blunder.
Using this, now public, information, it’s easy to open an account in someone’s name. This is what is happening with Chime accounts. But what can someone do with a Chime account that isn’t connected to a bank account?
Indeed, to take your money, they would need to link your bank account to Chime. However, they’d need your bank’s login information to do that.
They often use these types of accounts as pass-through accounts for making transfers in a matter of seconds from their victims and into their real accounts. I’m sure there are many more uses for a checking account that’s in someone else’s name and that you have an access to.
Again, don’t click on any links in emails that claim to come from Chime and only talk with someone coming from the official Chime phone number and email. Don’t Google the phone and email information. Go directly to Chime’s website and find them there.
Check back with the support team in a few days to make sure the account was really closed. I wouldn’t trust just one support member with these things.
After we successfully closed the Chime account, what’s next? Placing a fraud with the three major consumer credit reporting agencies:
READ ALSO: Does Chime Have Zelle? (Quick Explanation)
How Do I Place a Fraud Alert With Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion?
Fraud alerts are available with all three national credit bureaus. It’s good to know that placing a fraud alert at any of them automatically triggers alerts at all three credit bureaus.
To request a fraud alert, you MUST provide a copy of a state-issued ID and a utility, insurance, or some other bill, to prove your address.
You can either upload these documents online or send copies via mail. If you’re requesting an active-duty or long-term alert, you’ll probably have to send in additional documents.
How to Place a Fraud Alert With Equifax
You can place an initial one-year fraud alert or better yet, an active duty alert on your Equifax credit report.
To do that, you’ll have to create a myEquifax account online. Alternatively, you can call them at (800) 525-6285 or send a request by mail.
You can also request an extended fraud alert (photo above) by filling out the form and following the instructions.
How to Place a Fraud Alert With Experian
To place a fraud alert with Experian, visit the website, select the type of alert you want, and follow the instructions. You’ll need to upload or mail in copies of your ID, proof of address, and maybe some other necessary papers.
How to Place a Fraud Alert With TransUnion
The fastest way of placing a fraud alert with TransUnion is by going to their website and registering for an account if you don’t already have one. You can also do it by phone at 800-680-7289 or snail mail.
Does Placing a Fraud Alert Hurt My Credit?
Placing a fraud alert on your credit report is an easy form of safeguarding yourself if you suspect you’re a victim of identity theft, or may become one.
You can do it yourself easily and quickly, and remove it at any time.
Putting a fraud alert should in theory have no impact on your ability to get approved for a credit or loan and your credit score should remain the same.
However, your ability to get instant approval on in-store or online credit card applications may require you to take a few extra steps. This includes talking with a service rep in the store or by phone for added protection.
To surmise, a fraud alert can’t stop you from being approved for a loan or credit if you qualify for it. It’s the law.
How to Remove a Fraud Alert
Removing a fraud alert isn’t as easy as placing one. You see, to remove a fraud alert from your credit reports before they expire by themselves, you have to contact all three credit bureaus separately.
This is inherently a flaw in the system because the bureaus alert one another when an alert is activated, however, why don’t they do the same when an alert is removed.
How to Tell You’re Contacting Real Chime Employees
Scammers are often impersonating the Chime support team. For that reason, you have to make sure the Chime social media accounts are verified, and that the phone number or email address is correct.
Real customer support will never ask you for your PIN or passcode, your card numbers, for payments, or for your full SSN number (just the last 4 digits).
How to Report to The FTC?
You should report the suspected identity theft with your local police enforcement but also at IdentityTheft.gov, the fed’s one-stop resource to help you report and even recover from identity theft.
Go to the website and fill out the easy-to-understand forms. That will tell the feds what happened, and get you a recovery plan that you can immediately put into action.
You’ll find step-by-step advice and handy resources such as printable checklists and sample letters.
You can also report your issue with ReportFraud.ftc.gov. This will help you and others because your report is shared with more than 3,000 law enforcers.
The difference between reporting identity theft to the police and these two websites is that the FTC websites don’t resolve your individual report, but use your insights to investigate and bring people behind the fraud, scams, and bad business practices to justice.
Do You Get Your Money Back From Chime?
Banks and credit card companies will generally refund the money to their customers in the case they get scammed, hacked, or have their identity stolen.
There is a catch. Chime isn’t a bank. They’re a fintech company acting as a bank when it suits them and washing their hands when it doesn’t. There are countless examples of Chime not returning money to scammed or hacked customers.
In some (most?) cases, nothing happens until a local news crew starts digging and contacting Chime on the behalf of the damaged customers or until you raise a BBB complaint.
Chime has had almost 7,000 complaints raised against them at the Better Business Bureau.
Nothing good can come from getting an unsolicited Chime, or any other bank card. Although a known tactic by the credit card industry, you shouldn’t just dismiss the fact that you got a bank card in your mail.
If you got a Chime card in the mail, contact Chime customer support to get the account closed ASAP. After that, place a fraud alert at one of the credit bureaus. Optionally, report it to the local police department and the FTC.
Adrian Volenik is a fintech enthusiast who loves testing and reviewing digital banking apps and financial products in general. How many digital banking accounts can one man have? Not enough, if you ask Adrian. As his wallet will soon explode if he doesn’t cut back on the number of cards.