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PNC can blacklist your mobile device and freeze some app functionality without notice

Frequent Contributor

PNC can blacklist your mobile device and freeze some app functionality without notice

Hi all, 

 

Haven't been posting here for a few years, but folks here know everything, so I figured I'd reach out to you too Smiley Happy Note: I also posted it in one of the banking/personal finance-related subs on /r/, not because I don't trust you, but rather just to boost the collective wisdom as much as I could Smiley Happy

 

Anyways, I well heard of banks placing some fraud prevention "freezes" / restrictions on accounts, but this one was totally new and unexpected...

 

PNC is our main bank for the last 5 or so years (my wife and I both have accounts there and our salaries are deposited directly to our accounts). I rarely use a debit card, but use online banking extensively (basically, almost all bills are paid electronically). Never used Zelle / never deposited/withdrawn large sums at once, never had a bad check written / deposited etc. etc. etc., so really nothing that should raise a red flag with them.

 

Some time ago they introduced a "Card Free ATM access feature" on their app and I liked it very much. I used it a few times, but then at some point it just stopped working - every time I would try it, I see something like "Service is unavailable at this time, please try again later" and the app would crash. Okay, no biggie, thus slightly annoying.

 

Then some time later I got a call from a Fraud Prevention specialist who questioned me about some recent activity on my account (some small ATM withdrawals / deposits, nothing major). She also asked me if I was trying to use my app abroad or on a corporate network which might have had a foreign IP address, and I told her that I was in Canada recently and also could have theoretically been on a corporate network as we have an office in Toronto. Concern cleared? Well, not really ...

 

Apparently that single time I might've used the app "in a wrong way" raised such a huuuuge red flag for the bank, that it blacklisted my phone by its Device ID, and now I cannot use some of the app functions.

 

Not a big deal again - call again and clear the concern? Well, not so fast with PNC.

 

At this point I spent more than 2 hours talking with different people with PNC. At least once I have been told that the issue had been cleared by the supervisor only to find out a day later that my phone still does not work with some PNC app functionality. The last call with the escalation team "on a recorded line" ended with "we can't do anything, you will have to wait for 60 days for this record to fall off our blacklist - we will NOT remove it manually for you". Naturally I asked a question "Hey, I am going to Europe next week, will you yet again place me on a blacklist if I try opening the app there?!" which - as totally expected - remain unanswered.

 

What surprises me even more is the way PNC handled this from the beginning - as I said before, I received no single security warning (like you would expect from other banks when they suspect someone is trying to gain an unauthorized access) and nowhere it says the app had any regional restrictions. The bank basically behaves like it's me who is somehow a criminal and fraudster trying to do something fraudulent, thus placing such a restriction even on my device...

 

Any interesting thoughts / ideas? I am not sure I am staying with PNC after such a hostility to a long-standing customer for no reason, but do you think it makes sense to reach out to their executive office with this story? I honestly find it insane - it looks like this bank can place restrictions on your profile for no reason and without even informing you about it (and don't even think about any apologies!) and then behave like you did something terrible to it...

 

Thanks!

In my wallet now: Amex PRG NPSL, Amex BCE $15k $17k (thanks to recent CLI), Chase Freedom 11k, CSP $6k, Chase United ME $5k, Citi Dividend $5.6k, Discover It $4.5k and a handful of other cards...
TU Dec 2013 - 752Sep 2013 - 764 - new all time maximum

Obsolete data aboveCurrent TU - probably around ~810, only using a few Chase & BofA cards now, not applying for much until we buy a house
Message 1 of 13
12 REPLIES
Moderator

Re: PNC can blacklist your mobile device and freeze some app functionality without notice

Yep, I would definitely reach out to the EO... this is exactly the type of thing they are there for.

 

Please let us know how it goes!

 

Note:  I made a minor edit to your thread subject for clarity and to make future searches on the topic easier. Smiley Wink

Message 2 of 13
Established Contributor

Re: PNC can blacklist your mobile device and freeze some app functionality without notice

I would definitely call PNC’s EO. That doesn’t even make sense to me as your banking habits are very conservative.  

 

Let us know what happens!

 

Guyatthebeach

Message 3 of 13
Community Leader
Super Contributor

Re: PNC can blacklist your mobile device and freeze some app functionality without notice

Wow, you're WAY more patient and nicer than I would have been. The saying, "you can catch more flies with honey than vinegar", would have gone right out the window.

The 2nd time that bs happened, I would escalated pronto to higher than a Supervisor. Trust me, everyone has a boss. That supervisor had a boss, their boss has a boss. I would have threatened to yank all funds if it wasn't corrected THAT DAY, and move to a different bank,  and made good on my promise lol, I don't play around in business. 

Not acceptable at all.


Scores held down by umpteen INQ & New accounts, and a paid off loan and new loan reporting.
~~~BK7 d/c-08/2013......my rebuild worked for me, but won't necessarily work for you.~~~
Message 4 of 13
Valued Contributor

Re: PNC can blacklist your mobile device and freeze some app functionality without notice

I hope this gets cleared up soon. It may be time for a new bank

Message 5 of 13
Frequent Contributor

Re: PNC can blacklist your mobile device and freeze some app functionality without notice

Thanks everyone!

 

I posted a similar post on FB and tagged PNC in it yesterday - shortly after that I got reached by someone apparently from their social media relations team asking for details - I provided those along with the name of the person I've been working with in their escalation team. Now it's up to them to act, I provided them with all the information I could.

 

I agree that it's not really acceptable - I am not closing this account yet as it will be simply inconvenient as of now (lots of bill pay / some autopay set-up), but I already amended my Direct Deposit instructions with my employer to make sure there is a significant shift in the proportion of my income going to PNC until (and if!) it is resolved 

 

If nothing helps, I guess EO will be my last stop with only account closure after that

 

Thanks again!

In my wallet now: Amex PRG NPSL, Amex BCE $15k $17k (thanks to recent CLI), Chase Freedom 11k, CSP $6k, Chase United ME $5k, Citi Dividend $5.6k, Discover It $4.5k and a handful of other cards...
TU Dec 2013 - 752Sep 2013 - 764 - new all time maximum

Obsolete data aboveCurrent TU - probably around ~810, only using a few Chase & BofA cards now, not applying for much until we buy a house
Message 6 of 13
Established Contributor

Re: PNC can blacklist your mobile device and freeze some app functionality without notice

Will be interesting to see how it turns out, now that their Social Media team are on it. Wouldn't want this kind of thing to cost them customers.

Message 7 of 13
Frequent Contributor

Re: PNC can blacklist your mobile device and freeze some app functionality without notice

To be completely honest with you, I don't hold my breath. From my limited experience, having an adverse action performed on you by "fraud prevention group" is almost always a royal PITA to deal with and can often be "resolved" in full only by leaving. I had something remotely similar with one of the cellphone carriers some time in 2012 or so when its "fraud/abuse prevention team" placed a freeze on all my orders - it took me 8 hours in total of heated phone conversations and a useless visit to their corporate store to try to lift it. I finally did it (after I spoke to presumably the only person in the company who knew what he was doing), but stopped any business with this carrier shortly after.

 

The problem often lies with their modus operandi, so to say. If they suspect a genuine fraud, they believe it is to their best interest to keep everything as low profile as possible and refrain from explaining anything to anyone (yes, often times fraud prevention guys, unlike their peers in data protection, praise "security by obscurity" concept) - as they are afraid that if their methods are widely available and discussed, real fraudsters will have a good heads-up in countering them. As a result, the most common answer I am about to here will likely be "sorry, for security reasons we cannot comment on this, we cannot disclose reasons behind our decisions and we cannot override them".

 

Even being fully aware of this, I still think there were and still are other ways of handling the situation on their end...

In my wallet now: Amex PRG NPSL, Amex BCE $15k $17k (thanks to recent CLI), Chase Freedom 11k, CSP $6k, Chase United ME $5k, Citi Dividend $5.6k, Discover It $4.5k and a handful of other cards...
TU Dec 2013 - 752Sep 2013 - 764 - new all time maximum

Obsolete data aboveCurrent TU - probably around ~810, only using a few Chase & BofA cards now, not applying for much until we buy a house
Message 8 of 13
Community Leader
Super Contributor

Re: PNC can blacklist your mobile device and freeze some app functionality without notice

Two things come to mind OP:

There are T&Cs associated with the enhancement of any access or features associated with your accounts (i.e. via virtual wallet/device) which you would have had to consent or at least have been provided the T&C by virtue of employing your device for such conveniences.

The 2nd item to ponder, if you were effectively using your device in another region (outside of the U.S.), did you at least notify PNC in advance that these were your intentions to make sure that your virtual wallet transactions would remain uninterrupted? (i.e. authentication protocols, device recognition, etc.)

While I don't have a horse in the race given your situation, due diligence on both ends would seem the path to take if you were using this service for the first time in a location outside of the U. S., regardless if PNC can service your account in their traditional business methods via ATM (non virtual wallet).

Anymore these days, regardless of innovations or features introduced to enhance the customer experience, banks are under more scrutiny to mitigate fraud or AML instances. Potentially, their authentication algorithms detected something out of the ordinary or suspect that caused the app to be flagged and/or restricted through your device. They own the rights to the app and when you download and/or use their app you are essentially providing consent to its use via your device.

Hopefully you'll get the issue resolved, but this brings up an interesting DP to have dual communication (in advance) to ensure a seamless experience overall.
Message 9 of 13
Valued Contributor

Re: PNC can blacklist your mobile device and freeze some app functionality without notice

Op me and my soon to be wife also have PNC as our main banks. I had not tried to use the app that you are talking about, but I am interested in how PNC responded to your situation. Certainly, I understand there is a ton of pressure to prevent fraud. But at the same time I think common sense and reason need to be used where needed. I hope this gets resolved for you!
                                 

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Message 10 of 13