Saturday, July 14, 2007

What else do THEY know?

Just got a love note in the mail from my credit card company regarding my account ending in ####:
We noticed that you have recently experienced difficulty using your Bank of America card at an ATM, so we're taking the opportunity to remind you of your Personal Identification Number (PIN).
Huh? OMG. Last Saturday I went down to a local brew pub to watch Live Earth, to mingle with Drinking Liberally friends and area environmental activists. Went to buy a beer and ... only $5 in the wallet. Enough for one beer, but ...

Walked next door to an off-brand ATM to get some cash. I put in my PIN, but couldn't make the thing cough up the dough, so I left. I realize now it was because I'd put in my credit card, not my bank card -- different PIN.

But the Powers knew about it. Bank of America knew where I was, when I was, and how much I wanted to withdraw.

So now, if Bank of America knows that, what else do THEY know?

Where did I put that tin foil hat?

1 comment:

Doug said...

Hey Tom,

I've added you to my RSS feed reader - works great! I see alot more of UB now.

I bet some enterprising PM at BoA realized that the same tech they use to fraud score activity on your card could also be used to market to you. What's interesting is that they realized the mis-keyed PIN was NOT you, so queue a little note to your mailing address of record so that next time you would not be prevented from pushing commerce through their system.

And yeah, they know a little bit more than you may be comfortable with. Basically, consistent usage patterns (deterministic) + lack of lost/stolen card reports (deterministic) + consistent bill paying (deterministic) means the first unusual activity in a geography in the vicinity of your neighborhood is likely you. As opposed to the acne'd Ukrainian who stole your number from an insecure database and registered it on PayPal, with the auth request coming from some European porn vendor. Likely not you. First one gets a marketing push to your house, second one gets you a phone call from a customer service rep to see if you really did buy $5000 worth of donkey habits.

The interesting thing is that the second instance isn't in any way altruistic. Both are simply to increase and protect the spread on the bottom-line. It's all business.

You were lucky you didn't get the note that I got. They asked what was I THINKING wearing those black shoes with a brown belt? You got a little chill, but at least you weren't HUMILIATED!

Doug