My Very Bizarre Phone Call With Chase & Why It Freaked Me Out

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Phone Call With Chase

My Very Bizarre Phone Call With Chase & Why It Freaked Me Out

I had a bizarre phone call with Chase on Thanksgiving and I wanted to share it with you.  I had planned on writing it right after it happened but I got caught up in the holiday weekend and then spaced on it till now.  The really strange thing is that a couple other people on the Miles to Memories team got a weird phone call from Chase or a message to call in on Thanksgiving as well.

Circumstances Leading Up To The Call

I received one of the targeted business card offers in my account a week or so before Thanksgiving.  I ended up grabbing the Chase Ink Unlimited even though I was over 5/24 and was immediately approved. These offers had thought to be a sure thing but some people were shutdown shortly after applying because their credit history was pulled. Because of this I was already on high alert although I didn’t think I would have any issues since I have ramped down on applications quite a bit in recent years.

So that sets the mood for you.  On Thanksgiving morning there was a good deal on Home Depot gift cards where you could get $550 worth for $500.  I whipped out my new Chase Ink Unlimited card and purchased the $550 worth of gift cards. These would be perfect for an upcoming project I had.

The card was immediately denied and the charge wouldn’t go through.  I finished the purchase with another credit card because I didn’t want the deal to die while I was on the phone dealing with the fraud alert.  After I completed the purchase I called into Chase for the fraud alert and that is when things got weird.

Phone Call With Chase

My Bizarre Phone Call With Chase

I expected to verify my recent purchases and the card would be unlocked pretty quickly, like it has in the past.  Heck most of the time Chase and Amex will just text you to verify the purchase.  That is the way it works on personal cards at least but I have never had an issue with my Chase business cards.

I called in and the rep started questioning me like I was on a recon call.  Here are some of the questions and answers that I can remember. He pretty much started grilling me from jump street.

Can you give me your previous address?

I said I have lived in my current address for 12 years and I can’t remember the zip on my previous address.  So he said he would need to pull my credit report and come up with other questions.

Where did you go to college?

He listed off 4 schools, none of which were the school I attended.  I told him that and he said okay and then went onto the next one.

Previous employer history

Next up was him listing off 4 previous employers, none of which I had worked for.  I started to think he had the wrong credit profile.

More employer history

He then asked what my current job is and I said I am an independent contractor for a website.  That didn’t seem to appease him either so he said just list off any previous employer which I did. That finally seemed to clear the verification process 5 minutes into the phone call…

Phone Call With Chase

Were you buying gift cards? He then asked if I was buying them for anyone else or are they just gifts?

As soon as we got past that I was asked if the purchase was for gift cards. Then he made the weird comment that I wasn’t buying these for anyone else right?  I said Home Depot gift cards were on sale so I purchased some for an upcoming project to save money.

After all of that he asked if I personally applied for this credit card?

This was maybe the most bizarre question.  I called in and verified myself but I didn’t apply for the card?  That makes a lot of sense.  I told him yes and then he was willing to help me with the purchase.  I said I already completed the purchase with another card and I just wanted the account unlocked.  He unlocked it and thanked me for my business. What a way to kick off my Thanksgiving morning!

Others Report Weird Phone Calls Too

I shared my experience in our Miles to Memories work slack and others reported similar things.  Ryan said they called him and asked if he had personally applied for his World of Hyatt card which was not even a new card.

Benjy, who writes at our sister site Disneyhacks, said these are the types of questions he got before being shut down by Chase.  He was able to get his accounts reinstated just like Ryan did though.

Ian said he had a voicemail from Chase too on Thanksgiving, but hadn’t called them back yet.  Strange that anyone would be calling people on a holiday.

Final Thoughts

It is now a few weeks later and my accounts are still intact and in good standing.  I don’t really know what to think of this.  Maybe it was more grueling simply because it is a newer business account.  Maybe Chase is on high alert for these targeted offer applications? Although others had similar calls from Chase at the same time that did not relate to targeted offers.  It ended up taking me close to 15 minutes to get a simple fraud alert lifted from my account which was annoying and over the top. Maybe the rep was just mad they were working on Thanksgiving?

Anyone else have a similar experience recently?  Share your experience and/or thoughts in the comments section.

Mark Ostermann
Mark Ostermann is a father, husband and miles/points fanatic. He left the corporate world after starting a family in order to be a stay at home dad. Mark is constantly looking at ways to save money and stay within budget while also taking awesome vacations with his family. When he isn't caring for his family or taking a weekend trip, Mark is working towards his goal of visiting every Major League Baseball ballpark.

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  1. Not Chase, but HSBC shit me down after 10 year saying they could’t verify my identity because my employer address didn’t match the description on google maps.
    Luckily, it was only a 2k card.

  2. Be careful with Chase. I used my World of Hyatt Chase Visa to buy VGC’s and I got a letter from Chase saying they were ending their relationship with me. I had 8 Chase cards and they closed down ALL of my cards including prized cards like Sapphire Reserve which I used for over 6 figures worth of legitimate spend each year.

    I couldn’t appeal and when I called in no one seemed to know anything other than this was closed due to awards abuse. I wouldn’t MS using any Chase cards as it sounds like they are watching out for it now.

    • Sorry to hear that Earl. I have not heard of anyone having issues with the Hyatt card – thanks for sharing.

  3. I do not think the have you “personally applied for this credit card?” question is bizarre. I got that question when I called in, and it turned out to be appropriate because 1) it was a new card, 2) I had not yet received the card in the mail and (as could be expected due to #2) 3) the charges were indeed fraudulent.

  4. My wife recently applied for a pre-qualified MileagePlus Explorer card and we received it on Monday. Yesterday, we got a chase fraud e-mail asking if we had recently “requested a new account” and had the last 4 of the new card. I replied yes to the email and so far so good, no block or denials of the card…

  5. I think they are asking these questions in regard to scams but also money laundering. Office Depot manager mentioned something along those lines to me.

  6. My wife and I have joint chase Marriott cards and I have given up using as everytime I do, they block the transaction until I call and justify the purchase. We’ll probably dump the card and tell them why. Fraud prevention is a good thing, making the card unusable is not. WE HAVE HAD OUR CARDS FOR 5 YEARS +

    • The alerts can get very annoying. I have issues with Chase on my personal cards but this is a first with their business cards for me.

      • I still get nervous every time I use my Ink Cash to buy VGC’s at OM/OD, especially when making two or more separate purchases back to back. But no emails or fraud alerts yet. It’s a calming feeling when seeing that word “Approved.”

  7. Someone has more balls than me. I never do MS for the minimum spend, and other than the office supply never do VGC’s.

  8. Maybe they are cracking down on these IRS scams where the bad guys call old people and tell them they have to pay an IRS penalty immediately or they are sending police to arrest you, but sending them gift cards will settle your tax penalty. LOL. When you say it like this it is amazing anyone falls for it, but it is big business. My mother in law recently admitted to us that she got scammed with a computer virus and they told her to buy $500 google play gift cards and if they ask you why you are buying them to say it is for your grandchildren. Sure enough she went to the store to buy them and the store manager asked her if anyone told you to buy these, and she said, no they are for my grandkids. Then the store manager said – Did the people who sent you to buy these tell you to say it was for your grandkids? And she said yes, and that’s when it finally dawned on her that it was a scam. The store manager saved her by asking those questions. I bet this time of year Chase is seeing a lot of these types of scams and it’s probably related to that risk, not your points activities.

    • That is a great point. And wow what an awesome store manager to pay attention to that. Glad they were able to stop her before she made the purchase.

    • A few months ago, one of my taxi customers, an elderly woman, asked me to drive her to Best Buy. At that moment, she was on the phone with someone who was giving her specific instructions on gift cards to buy. After she hung up, I mentioned to the lady, “I know this really isn’t any of my business, but why are you buying Visa gift cards?” She replied that the social security administration called her and told her to do so. After making a couple of calls to the number that called her, I explained to her that it was all a scam. She broke down and cried, then thanked me for helping her to not fall victim to this type of fraud.

      Those who attempt to scam the elderly out of their money should be shot. I hate them with a passion.

  9. @debit

    You’re right (Bush, Clinton, bush, Obama) although since anyone can be “American” nowadays it really is a meaningless term.

    I think credit card companies just need to flat out ban purchases of gift cards with bonus category credit cards (which many already do) but enforce it with level 3 data being available. The ambiguity behind the enforcement puts cardholders and the banks at risk.

    • I have no balls, never have had them. I’m a female senior citizen, and I buy close to 100K in VGCsfrom various sources on a monthly basis.

      What it takes is time, patience and flexibility. The gonads have nothing to do with it, you know.

      • Weird. That was supposed to be in reply to a different post.

        But I do hope that Jackson Rogers realizes that he’s preaching to the wrong crowd if he wants GC purchases to not count for points and miles.

  10. I think people might be being forced to buy gift cards or something.

    Like George Carlin said Americans are bloody dumb ( look who they voted for.) They are probably just trying to protect themselves. Maybe a lot of gift card fraud. You probably wouldn’t have faced the problem buying it in person because if chip.

  11. Wife and I are both like 15/24 status. We both saw targeted offers inside Chase website credit card tab for United explorer card. Both instantly approved

    I did $5k VGC single purchase each of first 2 days. No problem and app shows bonus earned. Wife did $5k first day and tried again on 2nd day but declined. No fraud text or email.

    She calls into chase and they ask questions around “are you buying giftcards? Your account is now in fraud review and all Chase cards frozen. You’ll hear from us in 10 days”

    We checked her accounts the next day and they all show available credit. We used one card for a test purchase and it went through. Haven’t heard anything more from Chase.

    We don’t have much MS on Chase other than Ink Biz and quarterly Freedom bonuses. We have a lot of legit spend on Chase, and small checking and $200k each investment accounts with them.

    Not sure if I’m going to risk finishing out the SUB buying VGC. First time I’ve ever done MS to meet SUB. Heard Amex is tough on that.

    • I would make regular purchases on her card to finish out the spend for sure. Usually it isn’t much of an issue with Chase but hitting it for $5K out of the gate will usually raise red flags as it would with any large purchase on a new card. Let us know if you ever end up hearing anything more from them.


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