Proof of identity

I’m very frustrated today. I’m not a person who likes to make phone calls. I let them pile up and then will spend a few hours *having* to make them. It’s one of the reasons I make my hair appointments before I leave the shop for 5 weeks from that day. I do the same for Ella’s grooming appointment and doctor appointments and any time I’m able to. If it’s somewhere I know I’m going to have to go again or an appointment I need to make, I’ll do it there if I can. Otherwise I’ve been known to put off making phone calls for months. I know how stupid it sounds but yup…..I do it.

About a month ago Paul and I had fraud charges on one of our credit cards. The credit card company called and left a message. I wasn’t home. When I got back I called the number back to see what was going on. You did everything by touching numbers on the phone. From our credit card number to names and address, last four digits of SSN to our last purchase date. This takes upwards of 10 minutes by the time you get to talk to a real person but I found out enough from that phone call to know that we didn’t make the charges. There was computer equipment purchased in a far away state as late as that day.

So a man comes on the phone and asks who I am. I tell him and he asks to speak to Paul since the card is one in his name. I had no trouble with that BUT, had I not known all that information, how did I get as far as I did? I told him I’d have Paul call as soon as he got home from work but we hadn’t made any of the charges that I heard on the automated call so please halt credit.

Paul came home and couldn’t hear the guy so had me take over and he needed permission TWICE from Paul that he could talk to me!!!!

So as uncanny as it sounds, we had fraud on another card on Monday. Only this time we have joint cards and each have a card with our own names on them. Do you think they would talk to me? NO! Because Paul was the “main card-holder!” So at least Paul was home this time and I was on an extension and would nod in agreement or shake my head no with each question asked since we both have a card.

Now this brings me to the hating to make phone calls. Today I sat down with 10 or so calls I had to make. Flu shots-oxygen fill up-lunch with dad before he leaves for AZ for the winter-chat with Lisa to find out how her two sick girls are just to name a few. One of the phone calls that Paul put in my “to do pile” was to the Wright-Hennepin Cooperative Electric Association to cancel the electricity for the cabin we rented this summer. I had to go through two people to get where I needed to be and NOT ONCE did anyone notice I didn’t sound like Paul Erickson. Not to even mention that the bill was also in my name. It was in both our names!!!! But after 10 minutes of getting there, giving the guy my name, billing address, account number and address of the cabin this guy says to me “is Paul available?” I said “what?” He caught me off guard. He said he needed to talk to Paul since his name was on the account. I told him my name was also on the account. I asked him if I signed the check that paid the bill would they send it back? He said no he wouldn’t but he needed to “verify” this action with the main account holder. I asked “are you seriously kidding me??” This is for a $22 a month electric charge on a rental property just for the summer. It wasn’t fort Knox for crying out loud.

I called Paul at work and ranted and raved “who do they think they are that I NEED YOUR PERMISSION……….BLAH, BLAH, BLAH!!!!!!! I was so pissed off. It was in my name too.


What is with all this crap with identity? I know for a lot of this stuff that it’s in our own best interests but really. This was just a household bill. Do people really go around “pranking” people by cancelling their electricity? Who does that? I knew too much to be making it up AND…….if they needed to talk to the main card-holder, why didn’t they tell me that right off the hop and not let me get to the third person I needed to talk to? Why didn’t that guy say right away, “is Paul at home” before” I gave him all that info?

You know, I’m not sure my father in law ever paid a bill. I’m not even sure if he ever signed his own check or put it in the bank. My MIL did it all for him. I think all this crap and passwords and “hidden questions” is getting so out of hand. Why do we need to give the last 4 digits of our SSN for everything? Is that any way to keep it safe? Then they wonder about identity theft. I also feel a lot of these people are on power trips. That man today didn’t need to talk to Paul. He was being a complete *d-i-n-k* and I hope Paul tells him so when he calls tomorrow. After all, he’s been after me to call for a month and then I finally do and he ends up having to do it himself anyway!!!!! What a waste of everyone’s time.

Does this kind of thing happen to you or your better half? Do you find it as annoying as I do? I feel it would be easier to give blood than to jump through all these stupid hoops just to add minutes to your phone plan. I’m sick of feeling less a person or even that I need my husband permission to change some little thing that I take care of 99% of the time anyway not to mention that a lot of this stuff is also in my name as well. Is all trust between people completely gone now? To me this is NOT progress.


I just wanted to say that Paul called this company today and told the woman who answered what I’d gone through the day before and she told him what he did was completely unnecessary. I should have been able to make any changes that needed to be made since the account was also in my name. So, it just goes to show you. Someone’s having a bad day and they need to feel powerful so they play that kind of game. It makes me so angry.

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21 Responses to Proof of identity

  1. mssc54 says:

    In the future identify yourself then ask, “Is there any reason I won’t be able to complete ths order? Could I speak with a supervisor please”?

    • Joy says:

      I should. They just ask that question so far into the conversation sometimes and it didn’t even occur to me with the electric company. The credit cards or banking I do think they should ask but if it has your name on it too and they call you at home and you can answer any of those questions I think it should suffice.

      Like I said early on, I know a lot of this is for our own good but I think some of these people think they’re bigger than they are.

      • mssc54 says:

        Usually if you just don’t push any buttons on the phone in the beginning a live person will pick. Problem is though they may think you are your grandmother calling from her rotary dial phone! lol

        • Joy says:

          The whole game playing thing seems so unnecessary to me too. Like I said, for credit cards or banking, I mostly understand because it’s all in my best interests but when they call my home and I know all the “secret” stuff, who do they think would be answering my phone and would know all that??

  2. Laura says:

    Wow… SO much stuff.

    first, the ‘verify your identity’ stuff. You could have been any guy on the planet saying that you were Paul, and they’d have believed you at that point, because you had all the other “necessary” information. So I fail to understand why you couldn’t do whatever the transaction was, since your name is on the account. It makes no sense.

    I really believe that the credit cards do this to avoid the lawsuits. It’s CYA, pure and simple. By making us jump through all of their stupid hoops, they have done their “security checks” and if you then turn around and try to sue them, they’ve covered their tracks.

    I find it ironic that they allowed fraudulent charges, but had to double-triple-quadruple YOUR identity, in order to remove said fraud. That’s just hilarious, in a sick and twisted way.

    You know what REALLY gets me going? When I call one of those places, and go through their 62-step “enter these numbers using your phone keypad”, and you put in your birthdate, your address, your account number with the super-secret-verification-code on the back, your starsign, your weight, your desired weight, the difference between the two, and your shoe size when you were 12 years old, and then………..

    ………the operator comes on and says, “Oh, hello – can I have your name please? Thank you. And your account number? Thank you. And your phone number and address for verification…”

    WHAT???? I JUST GAVE YOU ALL THAT CRAP? DOESN’T YOUR COMPUTER TALK TO YOU? … or, did you just have me put in all that crap to take up the time I would have otherwise spent listening to crappy Muzak, because your operators can’t pick up on the first try?

    Yeah, you’ve hit a hot button on this one.

    • SKL says:

      No, actually I really love those kinds of phone calls. I mean, when I have a lot of time to kill (which occurs frequently), what better way to spend it than talking to thick-skulled “customer service” people on the phone?

      I don’t even bother punching in numbers and such, most of the time. I just stay on the line and pretend I have a rotary phone, LOL. And if I don’t get satisfaction, I will ask to talk to a manager. A lot of times the managers will make a big show of the fact that they have the ability to “do me a big favor” and fix some mistake or aggravation they caused.

      I really love it when, just when it seemse we’re about to resolve things, they ask for some piece of info that will take a half hour to find. Like the tax ID number of the other name on the account. So you end up having to hang up and start all over again. Ugh!

      It might be a good idea for you to get stuff switched to your name if Paul can’t hear the phone. This is yet another reason why it’s recommended for women to have their own cards, etc. It has nothing to do with marital bliss and everything to do with being treated like a human being “despite” being married.

      But yeah, that would really piss me off. I hate the phone, too, so I understand how much worse that makes it.

      Funny thing, when it comes to some things, nobody would dream of forcing your husband to be dragged into them. Like kid stuff at school. Ever heard of a mom being prevented from picking up her kid without her husband’s express permission? Isn’t that more important than a $22 electric bill for a summer cabin?

      Sometimes I just feel lucky to be single.

      • Laura says:

        That’s a really good point, SKL… I had LOADS of trouble with a few things when Steve was unconscious in the hospital. Fortunately, we had made me an “authorized user” on all of our credit cards, so I could deal with them, but my name appears nowhere on any of his work 401k stuff, so I couldn’t deal with that, at all, unless he died.

        It would be a good idea if, for all of your accounts – household and otherwise – you let the companies know that even though you are a lowly woman and wife, you have just as much say as Paul does. AND I’d put it in writing and save a copy, so when they try to screw you over again, you can say, “oh, you know, I notified you of this, in writing, on this date. Why haven’t you dealt with it?”

        • Sue says:

          There should also be a way the company can mark on the account that you are authorized to speak on behave of the account holder. Especially since he has hearing problems! Maybe have Paul write a letter or when you call next have Paul tell them to put that on the account.

      • Joy says:

        That’s a good idea to switch some of these little things to my name. I know most of our household stuff is in both. Like the phone, gas, electric. We also put it in both our names for the cabin stuff. Who would have thought that guy would be such an ass? The woman who Paul talked to told him that man should never have done that. That I should have been quite sufficient.

        • Laura says:

          Because of those bully tactics – I’ve had it happen to me, too – at the beginning of EVERY conversation with a customer service rep, I always get their name, and note down the time that I called. I figure, if I need it, I can always call back, ask for a supervisor, and report the heck out of the jerk!

    • Joy says:

      Sprint is so famous for that repeating crap! Not only do they make you tell your whole story to 3 or 4 people, just when you think you’re done, you get one more person WHO YOU CAN’T UNDERSTAND!!!!!!!

    • Joy says:

      You know what else simply amazes me about the whole “fraud” thing is how well it’s worked for us. We’ve been shopping online for years and years. At least 10-13 years and this has never happened and not only did it happen once but it happened twice within a month. What I’d like to know is “how?” How did/do they know it’s not us making these charges? The first one was the cc that we only use online. It’s never taken off my desk. How did they know I didn’t buy that printer? I buy A LOT of stuff. Things from all over the country as well as other countries. How do they know??

      The second cc was one that’s in both of our names and I got it years ago when I went on a trip. We used this card last Fri and I used it on Sat afternoon so how in the world did they know someone else was using it?? This fraud was for some kind of drugs from a Rite Aid drug store.

      It’s pretty cool when you think about it. I applaud the cc companies really. They’ve done good by us. BUT…like I said, they called my home and I knew all the bell and whistle words so who else but me do they think was answering MY phone and my name is the only name on my card. It didn’t bother me at all in any way that the one a month ago that’s in Paul’s name only that they needed to talk to him. I do resent after he’d given them permission to talk to me and they needed it twice. I think that’s just acting self important and making me feel like a child.

      • SKL says:

        I know someone whose roommate committed credit card fraud against him. It happens with resident offspring as well. So I don’t mind that they ask for security info. But they should ask it up front, so if you have to go look it up, you don’t go through a whole call for nothing. Some of them have an up-front recording that says you’ll be asked for a, b, and c and should have it ready. So if necessary, you can hang up and go get the info and call back.

        As for how do they know you didn’t make all those purchases – well, if you bought gas at your neighborhood station one minute and the next minute bought some clothes at a mall in another time zone, a bell should go off. Especially if the second charge was in another country, which happened to a friend of mine last week.

        I started to contest a charge once, years ago. They sent me a copy of the receipt, and then I recognized that the purchase was actually one I had made, so I paid for it. If I had faked it, they would probably let me off, but my card would be marked as having a history of fraud. Not sure what that entails nowadays. When my mom’s credit cards got stolen decades ago, they issued her a new card but made her provide more ID / passcodes to make each purchase.

        I probably should not say this out loud, but so far, I have not had any problems like this. I do check my credit card and bank activity online fairly often, just in case.

  3. Just a Mom says:

    I feel your pain! I pay all the bills at my job and when there is a problem with the bill I have to make the always hated phone call! Plus I really hate talking on the phone!

  4. starlaschat says:

    I have been gone through this and it is really frustrating. I think things needs to be changed because it’s anoying , frustrating, and time consuming. I’m surprised because both of your names where on the bill sounds like someone made an error of judgment. Funny I’m not a real big phone person either. It does get complicated with all the code words passwords and secret hand shakes. Remember the days when you didn’t need a password for anything except for maybe a treefort. :+)

  5. Sue says:

    Well, it is super sucky to have to go through all that. It’s also super sucky when you get a crabby CSR who doesn’t give a shit about your problems. I believe the guy was totally wrong to not help you since it is a joint account. A joint account and an account with a primary card holder who authorizes an additional card for use are, unfortunately, 2 different things. Laura is right about why CC companies make you jump through hoops, to cover their own butts. It’s the amount of fraud happening. It’s everyone screaming about their right to privacy. They have to safeguard you and themselves and we expect them to. You don’t expect to pay for those fraudulent charges so you can’t expect them to talk to just anyone who calls about the account.

    The fraud people have a lot of your info, but they may not have the answer to the security question or some other question and that’s why they ask to speak to the account holder. I’m not saying it’s not frustrating and irritating, but they’re trying to make sure it really is the right person calling. I worked for a catalog company on the bank side (ever heard of FingerHut?!) and I learned A LOT those 2.5 years! People called all the time pretending to be someone else, always had a sob story as to why they needed this credit card, why they needed a credit line increase or how it ‘just couldn’t have been me that didn’t pay my bill, you guys must have screwed up’! It’s the few dishonest people that have ruined it for the rest of us.

  6. Nikki says:

    We have WH Co-op Electric, and Jason has to be the one to pay it. But I am not on the account. They won’t even talk to me. I’m giving you money, who cares who it’s technically coming from? Every other bill is both our names, so I don’t have that problem. It doesn’t bother me too much, just when he forgets to pay that one bill he is responsible for.

    I hate recorders, with a passion. I hate talking to a machine. I press “00” right away, and most of the time that will put me right to a real person. Then I always enjoy telling them that their automated system is sucks!

    I hate making phone calls too, I hate being on the phone period. I have dealt with that crap all week, between my sump pump going out, and having cable installed, and having to call to cancel my other services. I feel like I need a vacation after all of it.

    And yes, I do believe all trust between costumers and companies is gone. It is the dishonest ones, that have ruined it for the trustworthy ones, but that’s how life goes. We pay for others misdoings.

  7. Karen Joy says:

    Oh I can so relate to this.I do all the business of paying the bills and so on in our house but its my husbands name on everything.So I called our phone company a few weeks back and totally forgot I needed my husbands password.I remembered once we were half way through our conversation about getting in a fax line.And after all the questions werew asked and answered by me the women on the other end says”Oh,darn!I see there is a password for this account”I said,”I was wondering when you ‘d ask me,lol”Well I couldnt remember it so she gives me a clue as to what it is,it was quit funny,I couldnt get it so she gives me another clue…FINALLY I got it and we both had a good laugh over it.That was the exception.I usually have to have Wes call them and then hand the phone to me after they get permission!So annoying!!So I feel your pain Joy.

  8. Laura says:

    This doesn’t work for all companies, but a lot of major companies are listed on here. It’s the “secret” to getting around their stupid voice mail systems and speaking to an actual human being.

  9. lucy says:

    I’m sorry you had to deal with all that. It sounds tremendously annoying!
    I also hate dealing with people/machines to take care of business. I’d much prefer if EVERYTHING was online.. so I can bypass all the morons who have NO CLUE what they are doing!!!

    • Joy says:

      Thanks Lucy. We must all hate the pesky phone call chore. It’s the only thing I hate that I ever put off. Normally I do what I hate first but in the case of phone calls, I’ll do it “tomorrow.”

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