Thursday, August 12, 2010

What's My Password?

Evil evil scam emailImage by Narisa via FlickrPasswords are the bane of my existence. They are useless pieces of cryptic information that only serve to keep ME out of my various accounts.

And some of my accounts that have passwords are really thinking way too highly of themselves. I mean, is it really necessary to have something like eight authentication codes for cable? My bank online only requires one!

I would need a veritable Rolodex the size of a bread box to keep up with all the user ID's and passwords and "secret questions" I have. To get into my Best Buy account and find out how many "points" I have, I have three steps. Do they really have such a major theft problem with people hacking in and taking your reward points at Best Buy that they have to require three steps?

Yesterday I needed some information about why my cable bill fluctuated from month-to-month. I had the awesome opportunity to befriend a customer service rep. He was quite obviously not a naturally English-speaking person, but he called himself "Kevin."

"Kevin" needed my phone number to access my account. Then he needed my name to make sure I was on the account. Then he needed my address to further make sure I was "me" (Because apparently if I rifled through someone's mail box to gain access to their cable bill and mess with their account, I would be unable to read the information on the bill. Whatever.)

Then it got tricky. "What are the last four digits of the card used to pay the auto draft bill?" I, apparently, guessed correctly, because he let me go on to the next round.

"What is the password for this account?" I slapped my forehead. This is when I get to play the guessing game.

Hubby and I have about three passwords we usually alternate through. Since hubby set up this account, however, I crossed my fingers that he didn't get excited and make up something new.

Attempt number one was incorrect. But I scored with attempt number two.

"Kevin" was excited as well. "Now, I just need the the expiration date on the credit card used for the auto draft."

Egad. No idea. Not even a guess. The only reason I knew the last for digits of the credit card was because it was on the bank statement. I took a deep breath and silently let it out, instead of saying, "SERIOUSLY?" like I wanted to.

"Well, Kevin, I'm sorry, but I don't have that information. I really don't want to make any changes to the account. I just need to know the amount that is supposed to be drafted each month so I can plug it into my budget." I hoped this would call to his sense of reason. After all, it wasn't like I was trying to upgrade to the most expensive package and get satellite coverage on the moon. (Although, he probably could have done that without any authorization at all.)

"Kevin" patiently explained to me that he was really not supposed to give out that information without the correct passwords and such. BUT, he would go ahead and make an exception in my case. (Because we're such buddies at this point, don't you know.)

FINALLY, I got my answer. I told "Kevin" thank you, and hung up after our twenty minute game of "What's My Password," when I just needed a two minute answer.

I do understand the need for protection. And I'm very appreciative of people being sensitive to giving out any and all information about me.

However, Identity Theft is not something I really worry about when it comes to my cable bill or my rewards program at Best Buy. I am more concerned about my social security number being lifted (Although, any thief hoping to get big bucks off of my social security number will be in for a big disappointment. Ha.). And I'm more worried about someone trying to take my banking information and stealing my $38.52, thus sending my account into overdraft at $37 a whack (which is a whole different rant).

"Kevin" and I parted as friends. Who knows? We may even exchange Christmas cards. But I'll make sure to have my card password protected. You know- just in case.

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1 comment:

Stephanie Faris said...

UGH! I feel ya!!! We just moved back into our house after rebuilding it, PLUS I got a new iPhone. So I literally have spent the past month trying to remember passwords I haven't used since April PLUS adding the ridiculous number of personal e-mail accounts I have to my phone and remember all those passwords. On a phone, not only are you challenged with remembering them, you're challenged with making sure you type them right on that tiny keyboard! On top of passwords, you have to remember what account name you used and some banks and that sort of thing won't let you use your standard username, so you have to set up one with NUMBERS in it! I FINALLY got Twitter worked out on my phone...I didn't think I ever would.