So whats todays password ?

Heres a question for you :

Why when I am phoned by various external companies , Vodafone for example , is the onus on me to trust the integrity of the caller when I am being asked “security questions” ?

Like most people in our modern society I receive phone calls from companies who want to ensure they are speaking to the correct person. The process used from their perspective is to ask a series of personal questions which only I should know the answer to. It is usually at this moment that I interrupt the caller and point out that I currently have no assurances that they are a valid representative of the company in question. I will get the usual assurances that they are whom they say they and that they can see all my details ( they better not be ! ) on screen and that they wouldn’t be calling me unless they knew who I was. “Very well” say I “Why not tell me some of those details and if your correct I will answer some further ones” , “Oh no” say they, for the gods of data protection forbid them to respond. At this point in the conversation I stop and ask them if they have a reference and a number which I can check with which to return the call and confirm that I am indeed speaking to an appropriate ( in as much as I can ensure ) representative. You can hear the poor script schmuck is thrown off kilter by the apparent appeal to logic. “Oh no Mr Butler I can assure you we know who you are , after all how would we know you have a p990i ?”, “Good point” say I “Possibly because I have blogged about how great it is”.

You can hear the inner cogs of frustration and impotence screech and strain to a halt as the individual realizes I am not prepared to divulge possible secure identity information to a complete stranger over the phone. Its usually at this point where they get angry or abusive with me, or just hang up. Now I will be fair and admit that American Express, First Direct and Visa have all been understanding of the requirement and have answered my questions and enabled me to call them back and carry on the process. I guess I am just amazed at this time when everyone is shredding their slippers to protect their identity that no one is stopping to ask the question of the caller, “Im sorry who are you ?”.

Anyway this particular post and rant goes out to LBM marketing who called me several times over the last couple of days and attempted to speak to me. To David the pleasant and polite Irish lad who took my call and couldn’t see how to get past my request and it goes to all you future companies who conspire to reduce my information security by sharing it with 3rd parties and not with me. The phone number in question was 08000 640 060 which it transpires is often used by LBM marketing on 0207 054 9003 ( 0845 045 44 55 ) Ive contacted them to discuss how I can be placed in their do not call list but its an automated service. Ive already gone through the telephone preference hoops and it will be interesting to see when this number pops up again. If you’ve experienced something like this then do let me know im interested to know how many times LBM is operating on behalf of service provider and how much data is being passed on. I spoke to Vodafone who agree that you should never directly divulge information and that even them asking for a pin is unlikely. Im guessing the LBM call may have been from some thirdparty and not related to my Vodafone requirements. Though I doubt they will ever let me know.

Thanks for reading, now go and make some more tinfoil hats.

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