Macy's ID verification uses property records
The strangest thing happened when I called to confirm my new Macy's credit card, which had just arrived in the mail. First, the automatic dialing refused to confirm it because a recorded voice said my account number was wrong. After hitting several other numbers, I finally got to a customer service representative. She told me my account number was OK, but they didn't have my Social Security number. Years ago, my husband applied for our original Liberty House card and they had his Social Security number, but not mine. So I gave it, because I want the darn card. Then she told me she had to ask me several questions and that I might consider them strange. Every question concerned property. She then read me five addresses and asked me if we had any connection to any of them. I told her we owned the first address. The next question was the same -- five addresses. I told her I didn't recognize any of them. She said, Hmmmm." The third question was, "Which of these people sold you the property you live on now?" She read me the names and I told her, "None of those. We bought this property in 1969 from a Mrs. ____," which I shouldn't have said. I know property records are public records, but still ... First of all, I wish Macy's didn't have our Social Security numbers tied right in with our account numbers. Then, I found it totally bizarre that they are looking up our property records and using them to find out if we are who we say we are. I don't have all that many credit cards, but in activating the ones I have, never have I been asked questions about our property. Is this a new trend or what? I found it invasive and if Macy's steps any further across the line I may have to cancel my beloved Macy's card!
Answer: It turns out that asking such property questions is part of Macy's procedure for verifying a customer's identity and to prevent stolen cards.
It's up to you to decide whether having the card is worth answering the questions.
A Macy's representative said she hopes you will understand that while the questions are delving into your personal information, it's done as "a safeguard for the customer against identity theft."
According to the company's group vice president for credit marketing, based in San Francisco, if a customer calls to activate a new card and some information does not match, "we then go to a service that provides information that is available in public records." In your case, he's not sure what triggered the extra check, although it appears that happened because there was a problem entering your account number and because of the different Social Security card numbers (yours and your husband's).
"The thought is to ask the customer three questions that most likely only they would know," the official said. "It is in this way that we ensure that the correct person has received the card."
You'd have to answer at least two out of the three questions, which are all multiple choices, he added.
I frequent the North Shore beaches from Haleiwa to Sunset. Sometimes one is required to make a pit stop at a public restroom. Ali'i Beach Park, Shark's Cove -- OK. Ehukai Beach Park -- auwe! On Feb. 18, I ventured into a mess there: A urinal was completely gone, the two toilets were flooded and the one I used did not flush. The smell was horrible. The only other people I saw even attempting to enter this nightmare were tourists. As a local, I was ashamed and sorry. If I were a tourist, I would wonder if anyone cared. -- Concerned Citizen
The cleaning crew cared, according to Craig Mayeda, maintenance and recreation administrator for the city Department of Parks and Recreation. The area supervisor "remembered this one right away."
Mayeda said the maintenance crew normally leaves the Kaiaka Baseyard around 6:45 a.m., cleaning the area from Mokuleia to Sunset Beach Support Park. They get to Ehukai between 11 a.m. and noon on weekends.
"The crew was not happy with the mess and they said it was bad," Mayeda said. "They cleaned it up the best they could and they let their supervisor know about how bad it was."
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