My mom had a weird experience the other day, maybe someone out there can explain if this is standard practice or not. I don't think it was a scam because she was the one who called the credit card company using the number on their website, but it was still really weird.
I noticed that my mom's credit card had expired in October and she hadn't gotten the replacement card yet. We figured my dad had probably gotten it from the mailbox and then tossed it in his junk pile. She decided to call the credit card company and ask them to send her a new card--same number would be best, but she was also fine with them canceling the current number and issuing her a new one.
The guy on the phone asked her so many questions! SSN, address, phone; but then he said, "There's a person named Dale in your life--what age group does he fall into?" and listed 10-20, 20-30, etc.. And my mom's like, "I don't know anyone named Dale!" Then the guy listed a bunch of different cars and asked my mom which she had owned. My mom said, "Well, I had one that was that brand, but not that model, and I don't remember the year." He gave a list of addresses and asked if she'd ever lived at one of them, and she was like, "40 years ago I lived on Elm Street but I don't remember the house number." Then he asked, "According to your driver's license, how tall are you?"
It was the craziest thing when she was explaining it to me. Finally the guy said he couldn't authorize giving her a new card, so he was going to send a letter through the mail with further instructions, so I guess she'll have to wait for that. And he kept saying that "someone" was trying to access her card and change her information. Now I wonder if he meant he thought she was the "someone," a scammer trying to get some poor unsuspecting lady's credit card. Except since it really was my mom's account, why would they have information she didn't remember (like the mysterious Dale), and why would they know what her driver's license said?
I've never had to call about something like that so I don't know if that's the usual thing or not. However I've had my card number changed a couple of times and my company never acted like it was a big deal at all, at least for me--they tended to fall all over themselves apologizing for any inconvenience.
I actually had this same thing happen a couple of months ago. I'd gotten my new card and put it somewhere safe. A couple of weeks later I realized I didn't know where that safe spot was. When I called to get a new card, they asked me those same questions. One was about an address I'd lived at 20+ years ago, one was if I knew so-and-so. Luckily I knew the answers. It really did remind me of getting my credit report. My new card arrived, and soon after I found the old one, of course. I'm assuming some companies have tightened their security.
I work in a call center for a financial institution and this is legitimate. The questions are provided by an outside service and they come from public records. We have no choice as to what questions are asked and they are supposed to be pretty random I don't know exactly where they all come from, but I am sure that the DMV is responsible for some of them. They are always multiple choice, and the last answer for each question is pretty much "none of the above."
Some examples: Did you own make/model/year of car? or What color is your year/make/model of car? or According to your driver's license, how tall are you? (a headscratcher sometimes!) There are address questions - Have you ever lived at address a. b, or c? or, Are you familiar with address a, b, or c in City? And job questions - Are you familiar with firm a, b, or c? Acquataince/family member questions - Do you know person a, b, or c?
I have had the program run on me a couple of times (Even employees are subject to security confirmations for some transactions. We have to call in just like the public does for certain things - no asking the person at the next desk to help you!) and one of the questions involved a job I had a couple of decades ago, and also was I familiar with person first name/husband's last name. The name made me think a little bit - I was sure I knew all my husband's cousins (it was definitely NOT his brother) but I had to run down the list to be sure. (No, it wasn't a relative that I knew of. I passed).
When we have to ask a caller these questions, we are charged with explaining exactly
what we are doing, where
the questions come from, and why
we are doing it. Most callers are quite understanding and are even amused by some of the questions (except the ones that involve ex-inlaw names).
It sounds as if maybe some institutions are not providing good explanations, with what some of you are saying, and if they are not, I can understand why the experience would be pretty alarming.