Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Citibank Thinks I’m Insecure

I like online banking. I like how it removes the last aspect of humanity from my finances, how at one time I had to go to the bank to deposit my checks and then, when it came time to pay my credit cards, write out checks of my own and mail them to a person who actually opened the envelope, like with their hands that evolution gave them, but that now a computer deposits my paycheck into my account, and then I log onto my computer at home and pay my credit cards with a few impersonal clicks. Then my mom instant messages me something like:

Hello son, how are you?
Love,
Mom

because she thinks it’s just like email. But that’s neither here no there.

I’ve also never felt like “identity theft” was an issue. Much like a drunk driving conviction or AIDS, I just don’t see it happening to me. (Side note: I don’t believe in a god. Nevertheless, I hope everyone understands the courage it takes for any man to write that sentence. Actually, I’m just going to cross it out. That way when karma comes around and I am sentenced to 25 years for killing someone while drunk driving, and I contract HIV while attempting to resuscitate them, and miraculously I survive my prison term only to be released back into society and find that while incarcerated my identity was stolen and now I have awful credit, I can at least shake my fist in righteous indignation and say, “But I crossed it out!”)

So when Citibank does things like this, I find it more annoying than anything else.

This morning I tried to log into my Citibank credit card and a message popped up that my account needed “additional security.” This additional security came in the form of not one, but THREE security questions that I had to choose and then provide the answer for. (Note that if my computer didn’t save my passwords, I would never be able to access anything from email to my own blog. I forget passwords the second after I create them and say to myself, “That’s a good one, something easy I can’t forget.” I once forgot that the log in for my cell phone account was my name. Just my name.)

I began to scan through the choices for the easiest possible questions. I realized quickly that this was not going to end well.

Apparently Citibank feels that too many identity thieves may already know my pet’s name, which makes sense because, like rapists, most identity thieves are people you already know, so to thwart these scheming acquaintances, Citibank decided to get personal.



It’s genius if you think about it – because while growing up my friends and I used to talk all the time about my mother’s maiden name, but we never talked about things like our favorite cartoon characters or our best friends’ names or anything. So if Richard Velazquez, whose girlfriend I stole in 8th grade, is holding a grudge and had the foresight to wait for the digital information age to exact his revenge, there’s no way he’s getting into my account. Likewise, if my girlfriend sours on me in a few months, I’ll be glad I chose “my favorite movie” and “the foreign country I’d most like to visit” as my questions, because over dinner we always talk about stuff like the last four digits of my social security number, but never trivia like this . . .

Seriously, "WHO WAS YOUR ARCH RIVAL WHEN YOU WERE GROWING UP?" I can’t even be sarcastic about this anymore, it’s just retarded. Citibank, you’re retarded. And I’m not going to indulge you in how tall I would be if I had control over things like that, which thanks for reminding me I don’t. In fact, I’m going to choose that question. And my answer will be “six inches.” So the next time I lose my credit card and have to answer these questions for a customer service agent and she says, “OK, and if you could control your height, how tall would you be?” I can say “six inches,” and when she chuckles I’ll add, “Sometimes I’m so sad I just wish I could hide from the world. How’s that for insecurity?”

38 Comments:

Blogger greener said...

All I can do is laugh. I really wish I had something insightful but I'm laughing quite hard. I too have Citibank, and I forgot the answers to my questions. Due to 'security' I couldnt get into my own account to pay my bill. Even after they talked to me about my questions, i couldn't answer them correctly. I had to keep hanging up and calling back until I got a lazy rep who let me in.

I, too, always forget my passwords. The only way to actually get back into the account is to go dig up an old paper bill (from years ago) with the account number.

And, side note; God bless you anyway!

December 19, 2006 at 4:11:00 PM EST  
Blogger a leather glove said...

Other than where you live, what's your favorite city? Like that can't change? And who says that you like the city you live in? I find it amusing that you can't use your own city.

Who is your favorite fictional character/cartoon character/car/movie/song/novel? Again, like these can't change? What, do they assume no one reads fiction after they're old enough to have their own bank account? Or never drives a newer car? Or listens to music? All arbitrary at any given point. How are you supposed to remember what you answered any more than the password you picked?

Name the highest mountain you've been to the top of? I have friends who live in Colorado, and as they go down the list of 14ers and climb them, this can change all the time. And I hope the wives of the three lost climbers on Mt Hood don't have to set Citibank's security questions any time soon.

But I really like the last question. Name of a college you applied to, but did not attend. Presumably, if you had your choice, you probably attended the college you most wanted to. Doesn't that leave it a tossup between any others you applied to but did not attend?

December 19, 2006 at 4:38:00 PM EST  
Blogger Lindsey said...

my dad does that with IM to. What is it about parents brains that just can't grasp this simple simple concept?

December 19, 2006 at 4:40:00 PM EST  
Anonymous hmm said...

hold on... "when my girlfriend sours on me in six months..." what?

December 19, 2006 at 4:41:00 PM EST  
Anonymous hmm said...

i just realized i totally misquoted you, so sorry about that, but still, the question stands.

December 19, 2006 at 4:42:00 PM EST  
Blogger crazysilver said...

hahaha...that cracked my shit up....

still easier than bloggers damn word verification....

December 19, 2006 at 5:02:00 PM EST  
Blogger Alejandra said...

Dear Dan,

Brilliant. The arch rival question was by far my favorite. It would make such a great skit to actually have your arch rival trying to log in and enter all names but his own. And he'd wear a costume with a cape--most likely purple.

Seriously though, I think an intern must have come up with those questions. An intern with a MySpace account, because that was basically a deconstructed version of one of those surveys that people post on their "bulletin" section with subject lines such as "Totally bored at work on a Monday afternoon survey."

Thanks for the laugh...

Love,

Alejandra

December 19, 2006 at 5:20:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Seriously though... said...

You have a new girlfriend already? Impressive.

December 19, 2006 at 5:28:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Exactly! A new girlfriend already? You didn't give the rest of us a chance, after putting a much cuter photo on your blog.

December 19, 2006 at 5:32:00 PM EST  
Blogger Miss Nines said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

December 19, 2006 at 5:41:00 PM EST  
Blogger Miss Nines said...

Damnit, Dan! While trying to stifle a giggle, I spilled coffee all over a file folder. Curse you and your humor! Curse you!

P.S.: My bet for the new gal's identity is on Heather and her hair.

December 19, 2006 at 5:43:00 PM EST  
Blogger KitKatWoman said...

redacted

Are you a "The Office" fan?

If you are i love you even more :)

December 19, 2006 at 6:09:00 PM EST  
Blogger Scottsdale Girl said...

First man of honor? Uh isn't that the "Best man"?

IDJITS

December 19, 2006 at 6:11:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, like I'd bother stealing your identity with "The Notebook."

December 19, 2006 at 6:21:00 PM EST  
Blogger mysterygirl! said...

Just when I finally let my guard down around my childhood arch-nemesis, Citibank has to go and help her steal my identity. I guess that one game of four-square gone horribly awry will always haunt my financial future now. Thanks for the heads-up.

December 19, 2006 at 6:29:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dan and Heather sitting in a tree.
K-I-S-S-I-N-G

First comes love. Then comes marriage. Then comes a horrid, vicious, soul-crushing divorce that kills the heart of all that you thought you were.

Dan - don't bother with a gf. It only leads to love, then babies, marriage and eventual heartache.

She's cute now: but wait til you've seen her with kid poop down her shirt, a mustache she no longer has time to pluck, lovehandles the size of your minivan and a chip on her shoulder.

Not pretty.

December 19, 2006 at 6:52:00 PM EST  
Blogger kiwi said...

I had to start an excel sheet of all my logins and passwords, since I can never remember them. So, if you want to steal my identity just open the file on my computer entitled "passwords". Tricky, I know.

December 19, 2006 at 6:53:00 PM EST  
Blogger Miss Nines said...

A3, your description of motherhood is a more potent birth control than tubal litigation. Christ.

December 19, 2006 at 6:54:00 PM EST  
Blogger ducklet said...

contract HIV from the car crash victim? how exactly were you intending to resuscitate him?

my guess is that the HIV will come from being 'resuscitated' in the prison shower. hmmm. citibank should ask you what your prison bitch name would be. i'd go with 'the daily damp,' naturally.

December 19, 2006 at 6:56:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

this is hilarious. this is the second blogger who has been pissed off with this feature...
http://citycrab.blogspot.com
/2006/12/this-is-out-of-hand.html

funneh...

December 19, 2006 at 7:44:00 PM EST  
Blogger Airam said...

As a first grade teacher, I need to say that my favourite of all questions was "what is the the last name of your first grade teacher".

Because of ALL the teachers that you'd have in your lifetime, that is THE name to remember.

December 19, 2006 at 7:50:00 PM EST  
Blogger NAME: Dr. Kenneth Noisewater said...

I feel that the arch-rival question is asked so that your arch-rival can laugh at you just before he steals your identity and has a spending spree at Super Target.

December 19, 2006 at 9:45:00 PM EST  
Blogger Jules said...

Your commentors...wow. Just...wow. I'm not even gonna touch that one.

Very funny post, cutie.

December 19, 2006 at 9:52:00 PM EST  
Blogger Dylan (aka Rowena) said...

I don't even have answers to most of those questions, Citibank is friggin' retarded, that's for sure!

Great post!

December 20, 2006 at 12:44:00 AM EST  
Blogger rach said...

goddamn, you're funny. appreciate it, as per usual.

December 20, 2006 at 12:56:00 AM EST  
Blogger Momentary Academic said...

Perhaps Citibank is lonely, needs a friend and will try to use the information to woo you into dinner and a movie.

Just a thought.

December 20, 2006 at 1:27:00 AM EST  
Blogger sunanda_reddy said...

Who in God's Everloving World PLUCKS their moustache?

December 20, 2006 at 7:49:00 AM EST  
Blogger Kate said...

I loved those questions. They are the standard "What the hell would I have put as the answer to this" questions. My bank asked me what year I graduated high school and I somehow managed to type 1997 instead of 1998 and was locked out of my account. Clearly, I'm an idiot.

December 20, 2006 at 8:05:00 AM EST  
Blogger The [older] sister said...

It's even better when you work for Citi - I've got to enter 15 passwords just to log into my computer in the morning, and if you get one of them wrong, well, let's just say they find your HR file in an alley somewhere...

December 20, 2006 at 9:49:00 AM EST  
Blogger Sarah said...

Are you sure you weren't on match.com?

December 20, 2006 at 10:13:00 AM EST  
Blogger Beehive Hairdresser said...

Would you like to upgrade someone to have Showtime without their knowledge? If yes, just read enough of a myspace friends bulletins where they answer 75 usless questions you will be able to hack into every account that they have anywhere.


older sister,
What is you SOEID???

December 20, 2006 at 10:16:00 AM EST  
Blogger Rebecca said...

The sad thing is that the one I'd be most likely to remember the answer to IS the one about my nemesis. I hate all the "what was the first street you lived on" ones. I have NO FREAKING IDEA.

December 20, 2006 at 11:18:00 AM EST  
Blogger Melis said...

My mom and your mom have a lot in common.

December 20, 2006 at 11:41:00 AM EST  
Blogger Digital Fortress said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

December 20, 2006 at 2:49:00 PM EST  
Blogger Digital Fortress said...

As if my favorite cartoon character, youngest child's name and name of the college I applied to, but did not attend aren't constantly changing.

As far as my arch rival goes...he's in a shallow grave behind the playground.

December 20, 2006 at 2:50:00 PM EST  
Blogger The [older] sister said...

Beehive:
Oooh, a fellow Citi worker bee! I'd love to answer, but I'm sure I'd get the boot for publishing that online... or fail my desktop security test... or (heaven forbid) have to fill out forms and have my passwords reset...

:::shudder:::

December 20, 2006 at 3:09:00 PM EST  
Blogger Beechball * said...

a little lame, but I'm commenting nonetheless. I just had to say that my dad, too, writes in MSN like he would in an e-mail. He just doesn't get it. It's cute, but it's really annoying because every time I ask him a question about anything (or just made a statement for that matter) he feels the need to tell me he loves me, to be safe, and that he'll talk to me again soon. I think for Christmas I'll plan a trip to see him so I can teach him the real way of the world... man alive! haha

December 23, 2006 at 1:47:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe this will shed some light on what's with the good folks at Citibank ... I needed to interview their spokesman for a story I was writing recently, and was told that the spokesman's name is Dan Wang. Naturally, my Beavis-like reaction (in my head, of course -- I am a professional reporter) was, "Heh. Wang." So I e-mailed him, but his out-of-office reply advised me he was on vacation, and that I should contact his colleague, Lydia Colon. I swear. I guess we can't blame them too much for having some issues.

December 28, 2006 at 7:58:00 AM EST  

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