Monday, January 07, 2008

Homeland Security, Privacy, and My Phone Bill

The above things are realated, really they are. I know, I was surprised too when all I was trying to do is pay my phone bill.

Having just moved offices, I am a bit behind on my own personal admin. I received a call from Verizon last Friday and realized it was time to pay the bill. I usually handle this thru my online account with the bank or directly on the Verizon web site.

Realizing that the call was serious, rather than pay thru the bank, which can add a few days to the posting time, I went to log in on their website. Well, for whatever reasons, my login no longer worked and trying to reset didn't work either because the site wanted account numbers that would be on a physical copy of the bill. OK, I can relate to that EXCEPT I get my bills electronically and cannot retreive the information without loging in.

SO....I had my assistant call this morning. She was on the phone with them for 45 minutes. (Remember here, I'm not trying to change any services, just pay a freakin bill.) They needed me on the phone. OK, I'll bite, and then I found out an interesting thing. I must not be who I think I am. I was grilled on my identity. For example, they once again wanted the account number (the phone number isn't enough.) They wanted my PIN number. I never had one. They wanted my emergency number but since it was set up in 2002, I didn't remember it (and those records are in storage.) Then they asked me for random long distance numbers I have made. It was explained to me that this was a serious thing, someone could call up and change my services and it would be smarter to me to coorperate rather than to continue to ask them how many terrorists have paid other poeples phone bills lately. The representative didn't have much of a sense of humor if you asked me.

It's obvious to me that I'm not who I say I am. I must be one of those terrorists. You know, so heed my warning: Beware of terrorists calling various utilities and paying Americans bills. Ya know, it's blasphemous.

So, it cost me about $500.00 in my assistant and my time to pay a $75.00 phone bill. Isn't America the greatest?

2 comments:

emd5005 said...

I recently had a similar phone call with Sirius satellite radio. They say they need three pieces of information. But, the pieces of information they need are never readily available (the SID number from the back of my sirius receiver..which is in my car), the account number (I don't even think I have that since I'm not invoiced), and the address and phone number of the account holder. Can't we just have a few "secret questions" that we're asked or something? Because sometimes, you are exactly who you say you are and you don't have time to jump through hoops in order to ask a simple question.

Laura Betterly said...

I feel your pain. I went to the bank today to cash a check and I again had to proove who I was. It's funny, because when I asked the teller if she needed a DNA sample, she got a bit upset...