• Last Updated:
  • Nov 11th, 2017 10:36 pm
[OP]
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Dec 13, 2016
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BMO Harris Warning

I opened account from Canada with US BMO Harris bank branch in Chicago.

For the past 7 years I haven't had any problems with the account and have been using it extensively in Thailand for the past 4 years.

Today, however, my debit card was blocked and after I spoke with the customer service they also promptly restricted my access to online banking.

I was told that I needed to call a branch to resolve this issue. The branch told me there is no other way to resolve this, but to come in person to verify my identity. Called again the phone help and still no help whatsoever.

So, in a nutshell, to access my money (there is around 30k in the account) I need to take a trip from Thailand, back to Canada and then go to Chicago to "verify my identity".

This is going to cost me a lot of money and time and I will be promptly closing my account.

It is important to note that I checked my account literally 5 minutes before they shut it down and everything looked absolutely normal. I haven't done anything out of the ordinary than what I normally do.

The problem with me going back is not just the time and money this is going to cost me, but also the potential issues at the border. I mean, what am I supposed to say to the customs officer? I am going to USA to unblock my account? They will certainly look at me like a suspect. I am also worried that at the branch they may look at my passport and documents and say this is not sufficient. Yes, after this I am extremely paranoid now. I did nothing wrong and I feel extremely dirty. Does this bank not have a fraud team that can check your information over the phone? What are the security questions for?

I am sure that most accounts with BMO Harris are fine, but if there is a problem be prepared to travel to USA.

Extremely frustrated.
30 replies
Newbie
Jun 30, 2009
82 posts
32 upvotes
Why did they block it? What did you tell them?
[OP]
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Dec 13, 2016
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santafe wrote:
Nov 3rd, 2017 10:56 am
Why did they block it? What did you tell them?
They won't say or do anything once the account is frozen. So, I can't tell you anything either. It's frozen and unless I visit in person it's like the account doesn't exist.
Penalty Box
Dec 27, 2013
6127 posts
2220 upvotes
Toronto
Here's what u need to do

Which branch is your account domiciled at? Not sure how it works in USA but in Canada most accounts from major banks are domiciled at certain branches.


Find the phone number of that branch and call a branch manager.

You need to email and call until you get through to someone other than a call centre drone.

Once you've got through to a manager or an account manager who is likely a ratio all human being explain. Your situation.

You should be able to prove your identity by getting g your passport and id notorizede by an attorney in Thailand. That should be ample document to unfreeze your account if you are dealing with rational people


Unfortunately it's going to be a bit more leg work for you and it's doubtful they will unfreeze over the phone but it might work too and the u can skip that step.

You gotta call and call and maybe even go to their version of office of the President..
[OP]
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daivey wrote:
Nov 3rd, 2017 11:13 am
Here's what u need to do

Which branch is your account domiciled at? Not sure how it works in USA but in Canada most accounts from major banks are domiciled at certain branches.


Find the phone number of that branch and call a branch manager.

You need to email and call until you get through to someone other than a call centre drone.

Once you've got through to a manager or an account manager who is likely a ratio all human being explain. Your situation.

You should be able to prove your identity by getting g your passport and id notorizede by an attorney in Thailand. That should be ample document to unfreeze your account if you are dealing with rational people


Unfortunately it's going to be a bit more leg work for you and it's doubtful they will unfreeze over the phone but it might work too and the u can skip that step.

You gotta call and call and maybe even go to their version of office of the President..
Thanks, but fk it. I bought a ticket to Canada.

Very sickening situation.

Any tips what should I say at the border?
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Jan 20, 2016
1376 posts
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Houston, TX
BiegeToyota wrote:
Nov 3rd, 2017 11:43 am


Any tips what should I say at the border?
"Shut up and give back MY money!" ?

p.s. I had issues with TD USA account (locked web access due to wrong password, and once just by itself imo) - all times I was able to call TD bank (US) and unlock it.
However it'a maybe not the same as account freezing...

p.s.s why go to Canada and then to Chicago, why not directly to it?
Make the Trudeau drama teacher again!
[OP]
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renoldman wrote:
Nov 3rd, 2017 12:22 pm
The reality is that he can't trade to generate an income so now he has to go to the US.

He is more afraid because he has no skills for use in Thailand.

Right OP?
Actually, I have no skills "for use in Canada".

In Thailand anyone with a white skin can teach English and get by just fine.

Oops, someone already deleted the post.
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Sep 23, 2009
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BiegeToyota wrote:
Nov 3rd, 2017 12:26 pm
Actually, I have no skills "for use in Canada".

In Thailand anyone with a white skin can teach English and get by just fine.
It's so easy, but you still trade for a living?

(I deleted my comment because I thought you would be offended. But you already read and responded to it.)
[OP]
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renoldman wrote:
Nov 3rd, 2017 12:34 pm
It's so easy, but you still trade for a living?

(I deleted my comment because I thought you would be offended. But you already read and responded to it.)
I don't trade anything. It's not a trading account, nor am I allowed to have one as non resident. It's a bank account.
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Dec 17, 2008
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BiegeToyota wrote:
Nov 3rd, 2017 12:38 pm
I don't trade anything. It's not a trading account, nor am I allowed to have one as non resident. It's a bank account.
How many transactions approximately were doing per month? Were most of your withdrawals international withdrawals? Just curious
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[OP]
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Shawguy wrote:
Nov 3rd, 2017 1:10 pm
How many transactions approximately were doing per month? Were most of your withdrawals international withdrawals? Just curious
A lot of transactions.

I did lose my atm card a week ago and requested a replacement via FedEx. Received it to my mom's address within 2 days....maybe that's the reason.
Deal Addict
Apr 11, 2006
4780 posts
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Mississauga
When they freeze an account, there's no way they would just verify your identify over the phone and release that much in assets.

To you it seems silly (only because it's extremely inconvenient in your extraordinary circumstance), but in a case of identity theft, if the they unfroze over the phone and thief withdrew all the assets, the victim would be yelling all the way to the branch.

One of my buddies is a branch manager for TD and this is standard practice for an account that gets triggered and frozen (usually with large sums of money).
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Oct 13, 2007
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Where and how did you open this account?
[OP]
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Dec 13, 2016
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starchoice wrote:
Nov 3rd, 2017 2:33 pm
Where and how did you open this account?
I opened it in Canada by visiting a bmo branch. I think a bmo employee set it up for me by mailing stuff to USA. I never stepped a foot in USA.

I am just hoping I'd be able to somehow unfreeze it in Canada by visiting a bmo big wig who could perhaps vouch for me and my identity. Anyway....
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Oct 13, 2007
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BiegeToyota wrote:
Nov 3rd, 2017 2:55 pm
I opened it in Canada by visiting a bmo branch. I think a bmo employee set it up for me by mailing stuff to USA. I never stepped a foot in USA.

I am just hoping I'd be able to somehow unfreeze it in Canada by visiting a bmo big wig who could perhaps vouch for me and my identity. Anyway....
Do you have any other accounts at BMO? Did you try calling the BMO branch where you opened it to see if they can help you?

I am guessing also that like any other bank account, there should be no reason why you could not get one bank (where you do business) to request a transfer from the other bank. It happens all the time. Your bank will get all the paperwork prepared and all you do is sign.

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