To thine own self be true

A multi-billion pound opportunity

Posted by Polonius on 3 August, 2007

I’ve just had a phone call from someone purporting to be from the Bank of Scotland, calling from 08704 604506, and offering me a credit card. Usually, when I get pissed off at a bank, it’s because someone claiming to be their representative has phoned and asked me to provide evidence of my identity. Of course, there’s a fair chance this is fraud. If not, if the caller really does represent the bank, the most charitable interpretation is stupidity; sadly, I don’t believe banks really are that stupid. No, it’s utter cynicism. If you are in the habit of revealing security-sensitive account information to everyone who phones claiming to be from your bank, then, when your account’s security is in any way compromised, it must be your fault. If anyone can recommend a bank that doesn’t treat its customers with such cynical contempt, I’ll move my main account tomorrow.

As an aside, there’s a lot of scaremongering about identity theft these days. People need to understand what information is sensitive and what is utterly harmless; if someone were to find out your bank account number and sort code, the worst they could do is to maliciously deposit money in your account.

With hindsight, it might have been better if I’d reminded the Bank of Scotland of the telephone preference service. Unfortunately, I do have an account with the Halifax (part of the same group) and it’s quite possible I once failed to tick the box, so it’s possible the call wasn’t actually unlawful.

Maybe I’m over-reacting to these calls, but they do irritate me. I also find I have a (perhaps irrational) sympathy for the poor sods who make them. I’m inclined to tell the corporate bastard bosses where to shove their credit cards, but I know the droid on the other end of the line is only there because they can’t get a better job. Despite my sympathy, I’ve yelled abuse at them, I’ve hung up on them, on this occasion I just laid the hand-set down and let her babble on to fresh air until she got bored. The bastards must be doing something right because I feel vaguely guilty about that.

I can understand that there is a market for banks who want to deal with idiots. Of course it’s easy for banks to take advantage of their customers if the customers are hard of understanding. I can’t help feeling there’s also a market for any bank that might want to deal with the rest of us – the ones who might actually have money. Does nobody want that market?


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