Unfiltered Story #207162

, , | Unfiltered | September 5, 2020

(I work in a call center that handles applications for some kinds of government assistance. These applications can be filled out a number of ways, including over the phone and online and when we pull up a caller’s records, can see the source of he application (i.e. “Call center worker” or “online”). Due to the sensitive nature of the info in the documents we are required to get 4 pieces of info from the caller before releasing any information about their account to them. These items are Name, Date of Birth, Address, and either phone number or Social Security Number. We use name and DOB to find the records so we can see all their information and then have the caller say two of the other three items so we can verify they’re the right person. If they can’t or won’t, we can give general info about our procedures but are strictly prohibited from giving them any specific personal information or making any changes to their applications or account. Keep in mind we also use alias names when answering the phones because anything to do with government assistance tends to get people pretty worked up, and from time to time there are threats made against CSRs)

Me: Thank you for calling, my name is [my alias name], how may I assist you.

Caller: Yeah, I had to send in some extra documents so I could keep my benefits and I want to know if you all got them yet

Me: Sure thing, I’ll be happy to help you with that. Can I get your Name and Date of birth please?

*he gives me his name and date of birth no problem, and verifies his address when I ask, I usually ask for phone number but he doesn’t have one listed on his account, so I ask for his social*

Caller: I don’t give that out on the phone, and you shouldn’t be asking for it!

Me: *noticing his application was done over the phone, so he would have had to to give it over the phone for me to be looking at it* I’m sorry sir, I know it can be uncomfortable to give out the information over the phone, but I already see your SSN, I just need you to verify it so I know you are who you say you are and can tell you about your account.

Caller: *talking very slowly and through his teeth, enunciating like he thinks I’m just not getting it* No. I do. not. Give. My. social. Over. The. Phone.

Me: Well then sir, I’m very sorry but because I cannot verify your identity, I am unable to tell you the status of your documents and your application.

Caller: This is crazy! First you want me to give you sensitive information and now you won’t tell me about my account! For all I know I’m losing my benefits and you won’t help me out! This is bullshit, you’re trying to kill me just because I’m poor!

Me: I’m really very sorry sir, but please try to understand, we have these rules about verifying your identity to protect your information, so we don’t just give out information about your benefits to anyone who knows your name, or allow anyone but you and those you authorize to make changes to them. Again, I have your social security number in front of me, I just need you to say it to me, so I can see that it matches and that you are who you say you are, otherwise I have to assume you are an imposter trying to get someone else’s sensitive information without permission.

Caller: You’re just discriminating against me! Or you’re trying to steal my identity or something! I want to talk to a supervisor, right now!

Me: *sighs* Yes, sir, please hold for a moment while I transfer you to a supervisor

(I transferred him. Sadly, the way supervisor transfers work for us, we’re just transferring to an Internal Support Group that’s been trained to handle difficult callers rather than our actual supervisors that are on the floors with us, and they’re usually in a different site in a different state, so I don’t know what happened from there. I do wonder if the supervisor got any further than I did)