Monday, September 14, 2009

How to activate a new credit card without revealing your e-mail address or telephone number

My wife has a VISA credit card in her initials and maiden name. All Wells Fargo has is an untraceable PO Box in another town. No e-mail address. No telephone number.

However, each time a new credit card arrives, this message is pasted across the front:

MUST activate your card NOW to begin using your
card. CALL 1-866-537-8424 from your
home phone.

Why do they insist she call from our home phone? To capture the number, of course. (There is also an option to activate the card by going to the bank's website but this would involve giving them her e-mail address and revealing her IP address--both a no-no)

So what's a person to do? Why, call from some other phone, of course. But do not use the telephone of any friend or relative because you do not want Wells Fargo to think you live there either, right? The easiest remedy--and one we use--is to wait until our next trip. Then we call Wells Fargo from our hotel room and thus activate the card.


  1. Is there some reason you couldn't just use a pay phone?

  2. The main reason for them asking for a call from a home phone is that this is an additional verification that the card arrived at the intended address.

  3. Disposable cell phones are very useful for credit-card validation and other "official" purposes.

    Keep several around. Use one only for such purposes. Never answer it. Pitch it out a few months or a year later.

  4. If you have ever tried to activate from a phone other than the phone of record, you know that it won't work. This is being paranoid. They already had your number when you applied for the card.

  5. Infidel Mike is dead wrong. Readers who follow HTBI principles NEVER give their home telephone number to a bank or credit agency!

  6. I don't call the number to activate, but have never had a problem using the cards when I get to the store.

  7. or just go to a branch to active the card, passport in hand

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  9. If you made a mistake and gave them your phone number, wouldn't it be possible to have your old number forwarded to a disposable cell phone? Then you could just drop your number.

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