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?
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?”