Wednesday, 27 July 2011

over the top....has the fight against identity fraud gone too far?

I received a call recently from my credit card company. It was a callback that I'd requested in order to advise them I had a change of address. Apparently the customer service rep I spoke with a couple of days earlier was not qualified to change addresses!? Anyway suffice to say that they did indeed call me back. This is how the conversation went:

Rep: "Hello is that Miss Murray?"
Me: "Yes, hello"
Rep: "Hello Miss Murray it's xxxxxxx.Credit Card company phoning regarding your change of address"
Me: " Yes that's right, I have a new address"
Rep: "No problem Miss Murray. I just need to run through some security questions with you"

Normally at this point I remind them that it was they who had rung me and I would refuse to prove I was in fact the person they had rung.

I did this once with my mobile phone company and she suggested I call them back on a specific number in order to verify it was indeed them. She failed to realise that she had actually done the exact same thing. By phoning me on my mobile number (issued by them)  wasn't adequate proof that I wasn't an impostor. Yet they expected me to phone their number (not issued by me) and be satisfied that they were genuine. For all I know it could have been some cowboy outfit with access to thousands of phone number scamming us by pretending to be a well known mobile co. and accessing our personal information. I knew it wasn't but out of principal I didn't call them back.

On this occassion however I had to get my address changed and apparently this was the only way possible despite all the advances in technology and the numerous means of communicating at our disposal. I was also expecting this call and so had no reason to be suspicious.  I took a deep breath and proceeded to answer the following idiotic security questions:

Rep: "Can you confirm your full name please"?

Oh I soo wanted to snap back "You've been calling me by it for the last few minutes!". However I refrained and through gritted teeth gave him my full name.

Rep: "Can I have your full date of birth please". Again I answered, trying to remain ever so polite and not burst into some angry rant.

Rep: "Can I have the last four digits of your credit card please Miss Murray?"

I don't know how I was holding it together but I played along.

You would think by now that would be enough. They had phoned me, I'd confirmed my full name, d.o.b and last 4 digits of my card surely all suspicion that I was a fraudster would be removed. But there was more....

Rep: " Can I have the first and third letter of your password?"

Surely now this would suffice??What next? My vital statistics?!!

Rep continues "can you please tell me Miss Murray the last two recent purchases made with your credit card?".

I actually could not remember what these were as fortunately I do not use this card very often and I didn't think it was that crucial in the crusade against identity theft. I really wanted to argue this point with him but I'd got this far I didn't want to risk being cut off and having to go through the entire ridiculous process again. He  must have sensed by now that I was at the end of my tether...I was practically hissing the answers out...and so the perverse little creature decided to punish me further...

Rep admonishes me " Well in that case Miss Murray please provide me with your email address?" Good grief!!

Clearly this is how he gets his kicks and I know why Rep # 1 was  not qualified to deliver the change of address process. He obviously wasn't a member of the KGB's mental torture unit!!

Has the fight against identity fraud gone too far or was I just being a teeny wee bit premenstrual?

Monday, 18 July 2011

"Once a prostitute always a prostitute.."??

Train WreckedI thought I'd seen everything that reality TV could throw at me...programs offering a platform to showcase hidden talent along with disillusioned wannabees we the viewers all love to mock and ridicule or B list celebrities thrown together in a tropical jungle facing their fears not just by wrestling with snakes and spiders but spending any length of time in close proximity with former "I'm a Celebrity get me out of here" contestant, Janice Dickinson would make chewing on kangaroo testicles as easy as eating marshmallows! Along with a multitude of other "fly on the wall" shows what next in the realm of so called "reality" TV?

 "Once a prostitute always a prostitute" is not the title of a new reality show but the opinion of a male resident of Lusaka, Zambia in response to hearing about the new TV show which has been launched by Zambian TV to help "former" prostitutes find a husband. " it is very difficult for them to just change overnight" he concluded. What!!?? Faced with the prospect of a husband, roof over their heads and food in their mouths does this man really think a former prostitute would turn it down preferring to live a life thwart with danger, self loathing and shame?

"Ready for Marriage" is the new reality TV show which involves18 sex workers who stand to win a cash prize of $9000 and have their wedding paid for. They have been taken  from the streets in different parts of the country and the program makers claim that "we want to make a difference to these women's lives. These are people after all". Really? Nothing to do with pretty much guaranteeing huge audience figures then? The viewers participate by voting off contestants every week. Those contestants get a consolation prize of $1000 - $1500 and help in finding a full time job so that they do not return to prostitution....very commendable.

But why a TV show? Why make a parody of a very serious issue with sensationalism if it's not for monetary gain? Exploiting these women's misfortune. What happens to all the other prostitutes not chosen? Are they lining up hoping to be picked for series 2 or 3, until then do they remain prostitutes in order to one day qualify?
Forget the camera, lights, action and lose the cabaret...if the sentiment was genuine then the TV company should donate money to set up a support network for these women. They could then film the progress and success stories.

And what of the potential husband? Is it a wife he's really looking for...??

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

A friend in need...................... is minus a fish.

One of the many advantages of being a spinster is that I am more often than not available to my friends to help them out in their hour of need. At a drop of a hat I can jump in my car and be at my friend's door to deal with whatever crisis prevails, offering support whether emotionally or financially. I do not have to worry about a hubby or any children being fed and taken care of, as I only have myself to deal with, giving me time and emotional energy to sacrifice to those very important to me, a deed which is gladly undertaken, time and time again.

So it was without hesitation that I agreed to "house sit" for a very good friend of mine whilst her and her family went on vacation to sunny Spain for 2 weeks. This meant moving in to their 6 bedroom house enjoying some much needed solitude and relaxation. This is not without its demands however and after an hours crash course in the operation of household appliances, door locks and a briefing of local knowledge, I waved farewell to the "Winner" family, closed the door behind them and allowed peace to descend.

But not for long....... part of the package included a menagerie of family pets. 1 dog, 5 cats  and 6 fish....oops make that 5 fish as of this morning! I already knew about the existance of the dog and 5 cats and was purrrrfectly happy to play the part of dog lover and cat loving spinster,  however it was not until the eve of the "Winners" departure  that I learnt about the family of fish that lived on the top floor of the three storey house belonging to the youngest male member of the family. The "Winners" (in every sense of the word)  were on their way to Viva Espagna and I was on my way to Viva Dr. Dolittle!

I have only ever in my life taken care of 1 fish. Won from a funfair, a goldfish swimming around and around in its archetype goldfish bowl, enjoying a typical  2 week life span often associated with merry go round prizes, is a very pleasant but non eventful non tasking experience in a young childs life! So for me to have the responsibility of 6 fish inhabiting an aquarium ....what could possibly go wrong??

I know as much about fish as I do about quantum physics, ie: I like the idea of it but it seems too much like hard work for very little gain. Besides, it makes my head hurt!

The instructions were, however,  simple enough....feed twice a day (small pinch of flakey fish food) and turn aquarium light on and off accordingly.

The first week passed without event and my confidence grew as the Noah of the "Winner" residence.

Into the second week my lack of marine knowledge was highlighted as I ignored the telltale signs of aquarium in distress. As the days passed the tanks water turned a deeper and darker green until I could no longer  see the fish unless they swam  as near as possible up against the glass trying to amplify their silent plea  of "I'm a fish...... get me the f**k out of here"!!

I had no idea, I didn't realise, I was not suspicious of the ever increasingly invisible fish in the whirl of neon glowing, nuclear waste disposal coloured water.

Until this morning.......

 I eat fish for supper. I handle their grey scaled skin. I smother in butter and herbs without issue.  But when faced with a 3 inch long, silver, dead fish, early morning, eye balling me from the water's surface, I felt physically repulsed. I struggled to "fish" it  out of the tank...'scuse the pun! I used a dessert spoon and a leftover take away carton in which to remove him/her??? and for some strange reason held my breath the entire time!! WTF!! The demised fish is now in the "Winner" kitchen garbage bin!!

The lightbulb in my head has illuminated and the tank is now clean and shiny complete with crystal clear water. That said I am now officially on "Fish watch" for the remaining 5 days!!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...