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Also posted on: Nigel Stanley
I sometimes wonder if I am turning into a sad cynical so and so
that believes nothing I am told and is paranoid that
“they” are all out to get me. Over the past couple of
weeks or so I have been ranting on about call centre security and
the opportunities there are to get at private data and screw Joe
Enduser out of some hard earned cash along with their credit card
My mobile rang the other day. The display came up with a half
way decent 08XXX type number so I guessed it was some call centre
out to get me. I had the phone to my side so I thought I may as
well answer it and see what they were after.
This young male voice introduces himself and his mobile phone
company and asked if I was interested in saving £200 over the
next year. Well, why wouldn’t I? So of course I replied in the
He then asked me my name.
Now, I have a bit of a problem with this. If matey was from my
mobile phone provider and was calling me it seems a bit odd that he
was asking for my name. After all he called me—I can’t recall
ever ringing someone and asking them their name.
I put this to my new found friend and he said that it was
“company policy” and he needed my name. So at that
point I naturally refused on the basis that he could have been
anyone and how on earth do I trust what he tells me. He was
surprisingly OK with this and we decided to part company.
Now, someone else I know had the exact same call and decided to
give their personal details to obtain this offer. When we discussed
it later I put forward my concerns and we had an interesting debate
about the rights and wrongs of revealing such data.
One point that did emerge is that maybe we should issue our
providers with a password that they need to cite each time they
call us, to prove they are genuine. Maybe I should ask them for the
1st, 4th and 7th characters of my password before I speak with
Now that’s a thought. In the meantime I am staying paranoid.