Problem with legitimate callers who insist on your confirmation of personal details before continuing their calls

On several occasions in recent months and the last couple of years I have received telephone calls from government agencies and medical insurance companies but the callers would insist that I confirm my identity by revealing my full name, date of birth and address before they would continue the calls. I would say that since they were calling me, I needed to ascertain their bona fides, at least their names beyond the first name. I would then ask for their organisation’s telephone numbers so that I could call them back through their official line. It worked with Centrelink, and the officers were actually very understanding and cooperative. Sometimes they would get annoyed, like the recent caller from Medibank Private who announced herself as a Healthcare Concierge. She wanted to speak to me about my impending operation, to offer information about the cost. She asked me to confirm my date of birth so that she could be sure she was talking to the right person. I said that I would not, as I hadn’t contacted Medibank about it, and since the hacking of Medibank I couldn’t trust unsolicited callers. She insisted she was legimate, so I said please send me an email and I would call her. I received an email containing only the Medibank website address. It was an utter waste of my time. There was nothing sensitive about the information she would be providing to me, but the interaction created more unpleasantness for both parties than necessary.

25 Likes
  1. Ascertain the organisation’s name
  2. Terminate the call
  3. Optionally, contact the organisation through an independently verifiable phone number and resume the call.
7 Likes

Hear, hear! Banks are prime offenders in my experience at the same time as they lead the race of institutions which deluge you with warnings not to hand out sensitive details to unidentified callers. I can only feel sorry for the hapless employees tasked with making these calls. They are mostly sympathetic and politely ask you to ring official numbers - always the main switchboard where you are on hold for at least 15 minutes before connecting with some other employee who has no idea who called you in the first place or what about. Couldn’t they at least provide a dedicated number for callbacks?! Maximum inconvenience to the customer, minimum cost to the bank.

13 Likes

Several organisations I have spoken to as a customer provide a reference number when trying to resolve issues. One could call the number one knows is reliable, rejoin the queue and get redirected to the appropriate person or someone who can refer to the notes. It’s still not perfect and an exception.

It would seem a simple step when calling in thru any automated call system to provide a reference number provided by the unsolicited caller. The system should be able to redirect you immediately to the same caller, and if they are busy place them next in their personal queue. A smart system would allow one sufficient time to call in on the reliable number one has from a bill etc.

6 Likes

Several organisations I have dealt with will not provide any information, ticket or otherwise until one proves the customer is who they claim they are, regardless. A call back to their published number is to their call centre with long wait times. Nobody has ever volunteered I should or even could ask to be transferred to ‘TheirName’ (name, extension, whatever) to expedite matters, just that the call centre would handle it.

After identifying myself to the call centre I advise I am returning a call from the organisation and so far there was always been a record they could find in my account, but the conversation starts from T0, another time wasting experience. This is sometimes followed by the most enjoyable experience of being transferred one or more times before being dropped and having to start again.

Absolutely! A financial company I do business with recognises my called-ID and we start with ‘Good morning Mr PhilT’ and they confirm I am ringing in about the last open communication. Sometimes they will ask a few more questions, depending. It is not hard to do in the systems, and those masking their caller-ID who have to go through hoops make their choices.

Why is it not more prevalent? My guess is that the few consulting companies out ther, many enjoying peak government profits, are doing likewise from our larger companies, and their consultants are not always atop what could and should and can be done, only atop what they have done over and over for the past decade. A second guess is it costs and business more often sees costs as a problem well above the benefits of relationships with happier customers that is intangible on the P/L statements, and often not even on the KPIs for executive bonuses.

FWIW I am aware of one where the ‘expert consultants’ are said to be responsible for a 2 year delay and counting because they do not understand the problem they need to address is not the same as their last many engagements with banks, yet their contract gets renewed and renegotiated to stay in solid black ink…

5 Likes

Ohhhhhh Yeah, my obnoxious personality comes to the fore and often return the favour and insust on their name DOB and home address first. It usually bites me in the bum later with a card blocked or similar but how else can you protest.
Not recommended for relationship building but a good means to passive anger management. :slight_smile:

10 Likes

I am concerned about supplying all my private information to these organisations AND my call being RECORDED! In this day and age of voice printing, it is surely something that has to be considered. I always request now that the recording device is switched off, however I am often told that it cannot be - for security reasons. They need to record our conversation. It is all very dicey. The alternative is to do everything online via Chat.

2 Likes

I make the comment though that if the caller id is that of your mobile and the mobile is compromised (SIMjacking aka SIM swap scam) then the compromise spreads to your finances. So they really do need to do:

Will or can anything ever be 100% perfect? If so at what cost financially or to usability?

That company also uses voice prints, another factor that can easily be cloned by bad actors these days.

3 Likes

Said consultants obviously don’t know about the process of issuing ticket numbers and using the numbers to connect/reconnect clients with the relevant staff members.

Or that phone queues can be streamlined (not to mention made far more convenient for callers) by allowing callers to hang up and be called back when they get near the head of the queue.

These simple measures aren’t new. Why aren’t they universal?

1 Like

I keep in touch with events in my pre-retirement life and my observation is ‘Big 4’ consultants should be banned from anything technical. OTOH they seem to be pretty good doing information sharing (conflicts), tax minimisation advice, restructuring advice, and so on.

3 Likes

Another thing of concern is most of these callers are working from home. How can your personal information possibly be secure with someone having access to your records in a non secure environment.

3 Likes

I’m unclear on how you know that.

For sure though, working from home complicates keeping things secure.

I agree with your suggestion about doing everything online or via Chat. Though people need to be aware of the difference between a BotChat & a Live Chat (human).

2 Likes

Easy, I just ask them, turns out most are in the spare bedroom

2 Likes

Too right on both counts! :worried:

My observation over decades of pre-retirement life was that all too often the people making the decisions aren’t qualified to do so. They can’t understand the context, so get the wrong idea and run with it.

A perfect example: This is how shit happens.

5 Likes

Agree with you❣️

Ref Person’s comment: Dog barking in the background, voices of children, etc. allow us to know they are calling from home.

3 Likes

Then there are the echoing qualities and background gabble that tell you the caller is from a badly setup call centre.

2 Likes

Great and timely post.
I will always quiz the caller and if I am not satisfied with what information they have regarding my account I take the effort to call that company. I ask for a reference no. for the issue to be discussed or for the employee number so I can get back to whoever called me. Too many companies want to stay anonymous so ‘customer service’ suffers. Online chat is good IF you can have access to the transcript to save on your hard drive as a record of the transaction. Stay safe everyone the technology is getting way too sophisticated to not be cautious.

4 Likes