Visa called me today. They told me they detected some suspicious activity on my account and wanted to confirm whether I made the attempted purchase(s). But first they wanted to confirm my identity.
I gave them the last four digits of my credit card as they asked. They wanted to know particulars of my bank branch, to which I only gave the bank name and city I lived in. They wanted to then know the three digits on the back of my credit card and I told them I wouldn’t tell them that because how did I know for sure they were Visa.
The female caller assured me she was with Visa and offered to let me speak to her supervisor if that would help. I declined.
She still wanted to ask me more questions to confirm my identity and when she asked who would have made the last deposit into my account, I told her my employer would have and then told her who the employer was when she asked for that information.
Then she wanted to know what the amount was and I instead would only give her a bracketed range of what it would have been.
She confirmed that she needed an exact amount, to which I refused to give her. I offered to give her the amount of my last payment to Visa but she said nothing.
I then asked if there were any questions she could ask me that didn’t involve finances. So she asked what month and year I opened my account with my bank. I gave her the year but then told her it was either one of two months, as I honestly couldn’t recall because it was 13 years ago.
She made me pick one so I did. I asked her that if she has all my info in front of her, that even if I picked the wrong one of the two, that surely she should be able to see I was the person she was calling.
She then told me that the system locked her out because one of my answers was wrong and she could no longer “help” me, adding that the credit card will not be able to be used until I go down to my bank and speak with someone there in person, about having it cleared for use.
I told her that if I go to the bank, it’ll be to cut my card up and get as far away from Visa as I possibly can.
The call ended.
I DO believe it really was Visa calling. But it boggles my mind that they can be locked out of an account their own system administers. I suspect she didn’t appreciate that I wasn’t as forthcoming with my personal information as she would have liked and was “done” with me, but in an age when telephone scams are plentiful, it really makes me wonder if Visa sees it from the customer’s perspective when it comes to the type (and amount) of personal information-based questions they ask to verify an identity.
In any case, I was now so annoyed at Visa that I decided to apply for a MasterCard right away, but first needed to contact Netflix, as they direct bill my credit card and the next payment is due in two days. Not enough time to get a replacement credit card, as Visa was my only one. Little did I realize that yet another “helpful” operator was standing by to assist me.
I called Netflix and a young, super-charged male answers. I ask whether Netflix is set up so I can change my billing to be a direct payment from my bank account. Skippy (or whatever the hell his name was), tells me that before he can help me, he needs to confirm my email address.
I give it to him.
He tells me that he can’t find my account.
Figuring he mistyped my email address, I give it to him again, but speaking much slower.
He still can’t find it.
I was starting to think ol’ Skip was either hard of hearing or just wasn’t listening as he had several times tried to speak over top of me while I was giving him my email address. So for a third time I gave him my email address but spelled every letter out using NATO phonetic alphabet.
Skippy still can’t find my account.
Then he suddenly asks “Did you say S as in Sam?”
I replied “I said S as in Sierra. But yes, Sam works as well.”
He then exclaims “There it is. I was using an F instead of an S. Boy they sure sound similar.”
I told him that yeah, except for that “Sierra” part, they’re damn near identical.
He then asks how he can help me.
I reiterate my original question. He then asks “Oh, so you don’t want to use your Visa card?”
I told him that was correct. He informs me that this is not a problem, adding that I can go to any drugstore and purchase a Visa gift card and use that instead.
Starting to lose my mind, I tell him that the only alternate payment I’m interested in making is through my bank account and ask him for a third time whether Netflix is set up for that.
He then tells me that if I don’t want to use a Visa gift card, that Netflix accepts iTunes cards and some other kind of gift card. (I can’t remember what the other one was, as my brain was unable to retain that information, being that it was dining on a plate of disbelief with a side of rage.)
“Look”, I said, “I just want to know if I can pay through my bank account. I don’t want to use gift cards or a credit card.”
“No problem”, he says, “you can also use PayPal.”
“How old are you?” I asked.
He didn’t reply.
I went on to explain that I figured he must be 10 or 11 and that his parents must buy him everything because he clearly doesn’t understand how finances work in the big world outside his backyard. I continued to explain that PayPal charges a person’s credit card, and while I realize that he wouldn’t know that my Visa is setup with PayPal, I asked him how he thinks that would help me being that in the end PayPal is still charging a CREDIT CARD! The very thing I was asking if I could get away from using.
“No it doesn’t.” he replied, “PayPal is PayPal and Visa is Visa.”
I stopped to let out a slow breath and feared it wouldn’t be long before he started telling me that PayPal issues their own currency as well. Ya know, being that PayPal is likely their own country as well.
I decided to come at it a different way and asked if he knew whether Netflix was set up as a national online payee.
“You mean so you can pay us through your bank?” he asked. (I shit you not.)
I calmly said “Yes, through my bank”.
He says “No.”
I hung up immediately.
Five minutes later I received an auto-email from Netflix telling me it was their pleasure helping me today.