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This Is Why We’re In A Recession, Part 107

, , , , , | Right | April 12, 2022

My first job is at a call center handling fraud protection for a credit card company. I’ve done it for a year or two now and have been selected to be part of the “help desk” that less experienced folks can contact if they don’t know how to handle a situation. I am now also a mentor to a new employee that they have sit next to me.

For new accounts, we still have their credit bureau report that was requested when the card was opened, so we verify that people are who they say they are by asking about their credit report. This is an important step to prevent people who stole someone’s social security number from opening cards in their name.

It’s late enough in the evening that incoming phone calls are less common. I have just gotten off a call when the new hire I am mentoring waves that he has a question and puts the caller on hold to speak with me.

New Hire: “I’ve got a new account verification here that I don’t know what to do with. There are dozens of large accounts on his credit report, but he says he doesn’t have any accounts and doesn’t know what they are. He’s only eighteen and some of the accounts are twenty years old.”

I’m about to respond when I hear the ping in my ear that says I had just been lucky enough to have a call routed to me.

Me: “Hello. This is the [Company] fraud department. How may I help you today?”

I usually avoid such open-ended questions as that — asking if they are returning a phone call usually gets a much simpler yes and allows me to move on faster — but I want this customer to ramble a little so I can drone them out for a second. While she is telling me she got a call from us, I put her on mute and lean back to the new hire.

Me: “Ask if he is a Junior. We’re probably seeing his father’s credit by mistake.”

I go on to quickly handle the call I received, and this time, I put myself in a “not ready” state so I can’t get another new call coming in. During my call, I can hear my coworker chatting with, and stalling, the guy until I am free to help.

New Hire: “You’re right, he’s a Junior, but it’s his social on the credit bureau, not his dad’s. Man, this guy is crazy. He got a dozen preapproved offers for new cards in the mail and opened up cards with all of them. He doesn’t seem to understand he has to pay the money back!”

Me: “How much did he spend?”

New Hire: “About $1,800, out of a $2,500 limit. Sounds like he did the same with all the other cards he opened up to.”

The teen should never have gotten all those offers, or such a high limit, but since the bureau screwed up and gave him credit for his father’s accounts, he was being made offers based on his father’s presumably very good credit rating instead of his non-existing one.

Me: “Okay, leave the block on the account. I know this isn’t technically fraud, but it sounds like he is never going to pay us back, so there’s no reason to let him run his debt up higher. Tell him he needs to call the credit bureau with his father on the line to sort out his credit information before we can fix the account. Here are the numbers to all three of them.”

I hand him a paper I have that lists all the useful numbers for my job.

New Hire: “He needs his dad on the line for that?”

Me: “Honestly, I don’t think he does. But it sounds like his dad understands how to use credit and this kid doesn’t. Maybe if we get his dad involved now, he will realize what an idiot his kid is being and teach him how to use credit right. Just make sure to note the account thoroughly, and leave a comment that he’s unlikely to repay us and they shouldn’t remove the block even if he is able to somehow call back and verify his identity with us.”

I don’t know what happened from there, but I sincerely hope the dad figured out what his son was doing and taught him how to properly use credit, though I suspect/fear the kid would end up having to declare bankruptcy if he had just spent two thousand dollars on a dozen cards and presumably didn’t yet have any real income yet to pay it off with.

Related:
This Is Why We’re In A Recession, Part 106
This Is Why We’re In A Recession, Part 105
This Is Why We’re In A Recession, Part 104
This Is Why We’re In A Recession, Part 103
This Is Why We’re In A Recession, Part 102

Question of the Week

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