Insecure About The Security Process

, , , | Right | March 31, 2019

(I work in a call center for an ad agency. Before we can go into the reasons for most calls, we must first verify that we’re speaking to the account holder, since some people aren’t above trying to sabotage business rivals. I pick up a call; the phone number calling in is associated with an account, so we’re already part of the way to verifying their identity!)

Caller: “Hello, I’m having some trouble with the account I just opened up last night, and I need to change some financial information on the account.”

Me: “I’m so sorry to hear. Let’s make sure we get the right account info. Can you verify the name on the account?”

(I start pulling up the full list of details we need for verification; it’s pretty common for new account holders to get stymied due to a typo in the password or account email. I don’t see anything jumping out about the email, so I quietly send a password reset request to the opening email address.)

Caller: “No. I don’t remember what I put down.”

Me: “Would you like to try?”

Caller: “No. Just fix it.”

Me: “We do need to verify the account before we can make any changes. Do you remember the answer to your secret question: what was the name of your first pet?”

Caller: “No.”

Me: “Can you give me a few of the names? We can try off of that.”

Caller: “No.”

Me: “Okay, do you remember the last four digits of the account you used to pay?”

Caller: “No.”

Me: “Are you willing to try a few?”

Caller: “No, I’m not giving you my credit card information. For all I know, you could be a scammer!”

Me: “You called our official line from our website, but okay. Do you remember the email address you used for the account? I just sent it a password reset. If you reset the password, you should be able to log in at that point and I can confirm I’m speaking to the right person.”

Caller: “I don’t remember the email I used! Look. Are you going to help me or not?”

Me: “I am doing my best, but I need to verify your identity as the account holder before we can make any changes to the account.”

Caller: “Look. This is simple. I want to make payments with [credit card not associated with the account], and I don’t want to hear any of this nonsense about security. I shouldn’t be telling you any of that anyway; it’s a secret!”

Me: “It’s to be kept secret from other people, but we need to know these details to verify identity. If you’re unable to do so, I’m afraid I must move on to other callers.”

Caller: “How dare you?! All I’m asking you to do is change the account payment information!”

Me: “Without proof of identity, that would be fraud.”

Caller: “I’m giving you my word!”

Me: “You refused to tell me your name. At this point, I’m afraid we’ve exhausted all other options. If you change your mind about verification, please do call in.”

(I disconnected and cancelled payments on the card as a courtesy, since the owner can add a card themselves at will once they log in. I later got back a scathing survey saying I was unhelpful, from the email associated with the account and signed by the owner of the account, two details which, combined with the phone number, would have been sufficient to change credit card information.)

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