PIN-Headed, Part 7

, , , , | Right | April 30, 2019

(I work for a big bank. When a new customer opens an account, they are required to set a numeric password in order to access our online service safely. I get cases like this one many times a day.)

Me: “All right, Mr. [Customer], in order to finish the process, you are now required to set a PIN consisting of six numbers. That PIN is strictly personal — we’ll set it via a confidential voice system — so don’t say it out loud. Also, for security reasons, the numbers must not match those of your birth date or DNI.” *this is a Spanish official identification document* “Just tell me when you are ready and I’ll transfer you to our automated system in order to set it.”

Customer: “Oh… Err… Can it contain letters?”

Me: “No, only six numbers, sir.”

Customer: “A maximum of six numbers?”

Me: “Six numbers exactly, please.”

Customer: “Can it be four, so it matches my card PIN? That way I only have to remember one.”

Me: “I’m afraid it has to be exactly six non-consecutive numbers, sir. Also, we don’t recommend using the same password for different services, as separate PINs are safer.”

Customer: *groans* “Oh, boy, how am I supposed to come up with six numbers out of the blue like that?”

Me: *thinking of possible random combinations of numbers and wondering what’s so hard about it* “Sir, you can choose any combination you want as long as they are not consecutive and do not match personal data. For example, you can use a date that means something special for you, using only two digits for the year. Just don’t use your birthday, for security reasons.”

Customer: *after some more time thinking and groaning* “Okay, I got it.” *proceeds to spit the numbers so fast I can’t say a word*

Me: “Sir, you are not supposed to say them out loud. Also, those are the first six numbers of your ID, so they can’t be used.”

(The customer spends a couple of minutes mumbling numbers to himself and groaning as if we had asked him to solve an advanced mathematical equation, then confirms he’s ready.)

Me: “All right, sir, let me transfer you to the automated voice system. You only have to press the numbers or say them out loud one by one without articles, and then the call will return to me.”

(I transfer him and come back after some seconds. The PIN has not been set.)

Me: “Sir, I think there might have been a problem.”

Customer: “Your system is useless! I said the numbers and it didn’t understand me! I went like, twelve…”

Me: “Let me stop you there, sir. Remember, the numbers are confidential. The problem is that you must say them one by one. Let’s try again.”

(I transfer him again, come back and, lo and behold, something went wrong again.)

Me: “Sir?”

Customer: “I’m sick of this system! It fails every time! I’m saying—“ *before I can stop him* “—onetwothreefourfivesix, and it says invalid PIN!”

Me: “Sir, they have to be non-consecutive.” *bangs head against desk*

Related:
PIN-Headed, Part 6
PIN-Headed, Part 5
PIN-Headed, Part 4

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