What kind of security questions are these???

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Earlier today my United affinity Visa card was declined while trying to buy plane tickets. I pay my bill on time, so this is a bit surprising and I called Chase to see what's up. The conversation goes something like this.

EKR: Earlier today my card was declined, so I wanted to see what was going on.
CSR: OK, I can help you with that, but I need to ask you some security questions about the primary cardholder [Mrs. Guesswork].
EKR: OK, I'll try to answer them.
CSR: Where has the primary cardholder ever owned property in locations X, Y, or Z, or none of these?
EKR: Uh, can you repeat those.
CSR: Where has the primary cardholder ever owned property in locations X, Y, or Z, or none of these?
EKR: None of these.
CSR: Which of these locations did the primary cardholder live at, A, B, or C, or none of these.
EKR: Uh, I have no idea. This would have been before she met me, I'll have to ask her.
CSR: That's OK, here's another one. Which of these locations did the primary cardholder live at, D, E, or F in year ZZZ or none of these?
EKR: Uh, this is before I met her. I'll have to have her call you back
CSR: That's OK, you pass.
EKR: I do?
CSR: Yeah.
EKR: OK. Well, so can you tell me why my card was declined?
CSR: This is the charge for XXX?
EKR: Yeah.
CSR: It was rejected because the merchant didn't give us their name.
EKR: Well, it was United and this was a United affinity Visa.
CSR: I don't know but they didn't give us their name, and merchants Foo and Bar do. Something must have gone wrong when their computers transferred the name.
EKR: I don't know.
CSR: Anyway, I can clear this up and reset your account.
EKR: Thanks.

That sure was a useful set of security checks there.

4 Comments

This might not be completely crazy. You got one question right and none wrong. On the other questions you had a plausible-sounding reason for not trying to answer.

And perhaps their records show when you started living with Mrs. G.

At first I thought these questions were lame because you could answer them if you had a copy of Mrs. G's credit report.

But maybe they're good because that's the only plausible way you could answer them quickly.

It would be interesting to know how they would react if you answered all of the questions really quickly and confidently.

Do you really think the low wage Chase employee (or contractor) is really evaluating the tone of the response?


It's more likely this person didn't want to deal with a screaming customer, so he took the easy way out and let Mr. Guesswork off the hook.

Actually, I was thinking the number of right answers and the mean time to respond. More right and faster response time would be worse.

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