identity management getting out of hand

We all know identity theft is on the rise.

But today, I experienced an interview that reminded me of a polygraph exam, only more thorough.

You see, earlier this week, I changed the address for my credit card so I could have items shipped there.

Subsequently, I started getting errors from Microsoft Money (the error message was incorrect, it seems, stating "The user cannot signon because of invalid user ID or password, or host is unavailable". It turns out the user id and password were correct and the host was available. The real problem was I changed my address. So, rather than contact me or send me a message, my credit card company (Chase) simply decides to block access to my transactions. I guess they figure if they do that, I'll call in eventually.

Curiously, they didn't stop me from purchasing lots of new items and shipping them to the new address. They didn't even block the login from the website. I was only blocked from downloading transactions into my account. So if my card was stolen, I might not have noticed unauthorized transactions being posted.

Well, I called in. To verify my identity, they asked for the following items:

  • My name
  • My SSN
  • My DOB
  • My Mother's Maiden name
  • My New Address
  • My Old Address
  • My Phone Number
  • My Work Phone Number
  • My address in Socorro, NM (multiple choice)
  • My brother's age (multiple choice)
  • Verify my last transaction on the account

After they verified this information, they unblocked my account, but I they will not restore access to the downloaded transactions for 48-72 hours. I could fly to manhattan and get the transactions faster.

If you extrapolate this trend, I will probably have to verify the first four lines of the first C program I wrote next time I move. I have a digital ID, but no one ever asks for it. Indeed, I don't think I'll ever be asked for my digital ID.

* sigh *
Written on September 2, 2006