I don’t know about you, but these days, I’m paranoid about personal security, in particular online security but today, we aren’t going to talk about that. We are instead going to talk about just how much you trust your bank that holds your credit cards, and consequently, a lot of personal information about yourself.
I recently had my bank (Citibank if you must know) call me out of the blue. Actually it was someone purporting to be from Citibank – you’ll know why I say this when you read on.
The caller identified herself as from Citibank and asked if I was Paris B to which I said yes. Her next question boggled my mind.
She proceeded to ask me to give her my birth date in order to verify myself! Err… hello? You called me and I said I was who I was. What other verification do you need and more suspiciously, why do you need it?
This is actually the 2nd time its happened to me, with a call purporting to be from Citibank, and no other bank. I don’t know if anyone else has had a similar experience.
Now, we’ve all heard of con jobs right? People who obtain your personal information by theft or by scam; and then siphon off your money or rack up fraudulent charges on your credit card. I was not about to be conned by disclosing my personal details on the phone to someone I don’t know who purports to be from a bank I hold a credit card with. So I ask HER for verification that she was indeed from Citibank.
And she got pissed at me! The nerve.
So ultimately I told her that since I wasn’t even sure if she was from the bank she claims to be from and if she was, she should have my details already, there was nothing else to talk about and I rang off.
Now, I do understand that perhaps from the bank’s perspective, they want to verify the person taking the call, to be sure they are speaking to the correct person.
But there has to be a better way, what with all the scams going around. This could very well be a new permutation of a phone scam. Asking someone like me to verify my personal information on the phone to a stranger, just because they claim to be from the bank doesn’t do it for me. So I don’t know how the bank can and will do their verification, but this just doesn’t cut it.
On the flipside, assuming this was a scam, how on earth did they know which bank I banked with and how to contact me? Is there a security breach at the bank’s end? See why I’m so suspicious? 😛
Have you had an experience like this before? Would you disclose your information on the phone to someone just because they said they were from a bank you bank with? Have you? 😛
If you work with a bank, do you think this is the right thing to be doing? Perhaps others are more cooperative, but a paranoid person like me would make you run rings before I divulge my personal information to someone who calls me out of the blue and says they are from a bank I happen to bank with. The bank makes me do the same verification process when I call them, they should expect their customers to give the third degree when they call us!
Your thoughts on a postcard, please. Or make that a comment below 🙂
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I guess they use Citibank because it’s more commonly used credit card?
Considering that its the bank who is calling you, they should be the ones doing the verification not the other way round.
The banks even keep your details after you have closed all your accounts with them. The best part is they can even re-open your a/c without your permission/knowledge. my in laws used to pay their yearly AIA insurance coverage via standard chartered, and quite a number of years ago, had closed the standard chartered a/c and opted for other ways to pay for their insurance. We had filed in the paperwork to AIA for stopping payment via the Standard Chartered Card and to use other cards instead, and yet years later, they suddenly bill Standard Chartered out of the blue! And then Standard Chartered re-open the a/c without our permission or knowledge! The best part was that AIA actually informed us that payment didn’t get through. It’s only when we received the Standard Chartered credit card bill, then we realised what was happening. Hence AIA was actually paid twice!
We called up the AIA and Standard Chartered, they just say, pay off the credit card bill and just close the a/c again (right…. with the yearly charges bill in as well…). The insurance agent offered to refund us in cash. Because it’s not our fault and a matter of principles, I refused to pay Standard Chartered (by then there were late payment charges due etc) and wrote to Bank Negara instead. In the end, after lots of phone calls, Standard Chartered closed back the a/c.
Gosh! That sounds terrible and I’m glad you stuck to your guns and not give in to the bank for what is their error. How on earth can they just reopen a closed account is beyond me.
Oh my gosh no that has never happen to me. What was the reason she said she was calling for? Did you screen what number she was calling from? You should call it back to make sure it doesn’t go to some random voicemail unless it was blocked then that would be something to really be paranoid about! Gosh i’m so angry for you thinking about these sneaky bastards who go around trying to piece shit together to forge identity. So what ended up happening?
She refused to tell me why she was calling and tried to be clever and say that she couldn’t tell me because I refused to verify myself. I rang off after telling her off 😛 And it was a Citibank land line number but I don’t take things like this at face value because its just too suspicious.
You know, I never thought to ask the bank for verification everytime they call me and ask me for verification. And then I read your tweet and then this and I gave myself a very hearty facepalm.
Ooops! Did you spill then? 😛 In most cases I think its legit but then I’m a conspiracy theorist and sceptic and cynical and highly paranoid so…
Funny thing Paris, my dad had his Citibank credit card replaced TWICE because of some security issue or whatever last year. Is there something really going on with Citibank?
Goodness! They are either super paranoid or there’s been a rash of frauds involving their bank
I agree! All his other credit cards never had any issues, it was just Citibank. They have good credit card promotions though 🙂
I found that they had good promos before this but of late, its just blah. Or maybe its just that I don’t use many credit card promos anymore 😉
First time commenting 🙂
I’ve had a slightly different experience.
The person who called me knew my full name and my address. He asked for my confirmation on the details and then told me it’s regarding my request to increase the limit on my credit card.
I DO NOT have a credit card with the said bank. I panicked. I was on vacation. And the first thing that came to my mind was someone had used my personal info to obtain a credit card.
So i told the guy i was busy and i’d call him back after. In which time, i quickly call the bank he said he was from to find out if i have any credit cards with them. And luckily the answer was no. I did try to call back to the number the guy gave me. But it never got answered.
Kinda scary that they have all those personal info like full name, add and even hp number.
Yikes! That’s a horrible thing to happen to you and while on vacation too! It was probably a fishing expedition but it is definitely scary how much personal information of ours is out there that people can abuse
a year ago my dad received a call from a lady saying she was from maybank asking if him whether he wanted a credit card or do some investment. My dad ask why he should do so and the lady told him that she checked his records and that he is very much eligible. My mom was livid because they had no right to do so~! mom used to be a banker so she’s was really angry. She called maybank to verify and they said they had no such policy and will look into it~
Ah! My dad’s gotten that too! The bank will call to offer cards or services on the basis that you have an account with them and I think that’s wrong!
Wow thanks for posting this and giving us all the heads up! I’ve never had the bank call me up for verification and so on… Thanks again!
And now you are forewarned! 😀 Don’t give out information if people ask, and if you feel suspicious. Better to be safe than sorry!
Better safe than sorry. The “bank” caller didn’t give the reason why they called you and call center staff are very seldom rude. They are always polite (it’s in their charter 😉
My experience is that unknown “bank” staff who call usually try to sell you something. They don’t verify who you are beyond your name, then launch into the sales pitch immediately.
Never assume our banking details are P&C, or not allowed to be sold. We don’t know the nitty-gritty of the banking law (or is that data protection act?) governing protection of our personal details. Scammers take advantage of this.
Actually, I’ve had call center staff who aren’t quite the epitome of politeness either. They weren’t rude to me, but I think the lady got exasperated because I wouldn’t give my info 😛 And you’re right. If they want to sell you something, they just ask if you are Ms. XYZ and then go into the sales pitch. But with another bank, I’ve had reminders to pay my bill and they don’t go past asking if I’m Ms. XYZ either. I suppose a bill reminder is quite an innocuous enough to not require verification 🙂
i have people calling me from other banks asking to speak to some women with African names. I have lived in my flat for 2 years, and I know for sure 2 years before me there was a a white British couple living here. So no people with African names have lived here for ages! The nerve. And they were fishing for info, of course I talked to them the first time but disclosed nothing. And now I’m a huge fan of BBC 3 series The Real Hustle. You have to check it out Paris! Teaches you all about different kinds of scams, cons and swindles. I adore it. Getting so savvy now. I watch it online.
That sounds like an interesting programme. You’re right. Scammers these days are very savvy. We can only be careful and be a bit more wary when people ask for our personal information.
i just received calls from Citibank people, offering to give me personal loan. I had to refuse, cos i’m already burdened with debts, and well, i cant just risk giving out my personal details. But dang, it was tempting though!
LOL I get them all the time 😛 And every single time, I decline and they wonder why. Because I don’t want to get further in debt silly! *rolls eyes*