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Giving out personal info over phone
to utility companies etc


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#1 glasnost

Posted 14 January 2013 - 01:05 PM

Just put down the phone from a (half hour long!) call from my energy provider. Yhe cal came from a blocked number. The guy from the call centre wanted to offer me a 14% discount on our electicity bill if I extended my contract.

Went through the usual spiel, I said I would go through with it and then he asks me to confirm my DOB, as in I tell him not he tells me. I said that I felt really uncomfortable giving out personal information as this was an unsolicitored call. He then became really defensive and gave me a another spiel about how this particular energy company was so well respected and he then proceeded to give me his full name and his ID number. Eventually I relented and gave it to him.

We then do all the recorded message thing when I had to verbally agree with the conditions of the contract. He then says that he needs to record my drivers license number to finalise the agreement. I said that I also felt uncomfortable giving out this. He becomes quite pushy at this point and suggests I give him my Medicare number or passport ID instead!

By this stage I had three kids going feral (I was trying to get lunch on the table when he called)and did end up giving him my license number however am I the only one who feels really uncomfortable about giving out personal data over the phone like this to unsolicitored callers? I actually feel a bit guilty as my gut feeling in the end was that it was a legit call and I think the guy I was talking to took my suspicion personally.  

Am I being paranoid? What do you do when you get these calls?

#2 9ferals

Posted 14 January 2013 - 01:09 PM

No, I don't think you are being paranoid - I think you are being sensible.

If I get unsolicited calls offering me special deals I ask them to post or email me some information so I can make up my mind in my own time.  If they won't do that (which they often can't/won't) then I tell them I'm not interested today but that if I want a better deal I will call back to the company when I'm ready.

Can you tell that I just don't trust unsolicited calls!

#3 MAGS24

Posted 14 January 2013 - 01:11 PM

If they call me then I don't give them any personal information. If I call them then I expect to give personal information but I know who I called.

My other rule is to never change companies with anyone if they call me on the phone because I don't like it when they call when I am busy at home and if I want to change companies, then I will ring them after I have had time to think about it.

If you are worried about it, you should have a 10 day cooling off period and they should have provided you with a contact phone number, so you could ring and check the details etc.

#4 cheekymonkeysmum

Posted 14 January 2013 - 01:14 PM

I've never had one of those calls though might depend on the energy company.

If our energy company  needs to tell us anything they send us a letter and if we need any info we ring them though they have never asked for our licence only dob address and account number.

Um did you get the mans details (like his full name etc) can you call your energy provider back to see if it was legit.  

I do hope it was a real call for you.

#5 Brownbear

Posted 14 January 2013 - 01:22 PM

My husband just had the exact same call and said the exact same thing about not wanting to give out personal details.

They told him he couldn't get the deal if he didn't give out the details. He said, "Well, I won't get the deal then".

So they put him on to a recorded message.

So he hung up.

Don't feel bad OP, I bet hundreds of people refuse.


#6 FeralFerretOfDoom

Posted 14 January 2013 - 01:38 PM

I always tell them to give me their extension number, and I will call the switchboard and ask to be put through, so I can confirm that the call originates from the company.

I absolutely refuse to give out my personal information when I have absolutely no way of knowing that the person I'm giving it to is legitimate.

I also do this for charities who call me soliciting funds - if I'm prepared to donate I tell them to send me information or confirm that I can donate online. I no longer make a donation over the phone. Every time I've done this they've been understanding of my position.

#7 TotesFeral

Posted 14 January 2013 - 01:42 PM

QUOTE (cheekymonkeysmum @ 14/01/2013, 02:14 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I've never had one of those calls though might depend on the energy company.

If our energy company  needs to tell us anything they send us a letter and if we need any info we ring them though they have never asked for our licence only dob address and account number.

Um did you get the mans details (like his full name etc) can you call your energy provider back to see if it was legit.  

I do hope it was a real call for you.


Drivers licence was one form of ID put onto accounts with the energy company I used to work for. Although if you could give acct # and DOB then it was very rarely asked for.

OP I can understand why you would feel funny about it but having worked for an energy company and a telecommunications company it is something that they unfortunately HAVE to confirm.

#8 cinderellainsydney

Posted 14 January 2013 - 01:53 PM

It could be anyone. I can just as easily make up a reference number for the phonecall and give a false name and ID number. The next thing they will be asking is your bank / credit card details "to set up an automatic direct debit of your bills". Sure.

If they are serious about conducting business with you, they will send a letter such as an offer of supply with electricity discount etc.

#9 Citylovely

Posted 14 January 2013 - 01:56 PM

Just be careful as we had very similar calls from 'Telstra' (we are a customer of theirs).
They were trying to offer us free calls from our landline but wanted to confirm our personal details as well. It just sounded a bit fishy so I said I would call them back. They also got very defensive about it.
Called Telstra back and low and behold the call wasn't from Telstra so I would be very very careful.
I hope for your case it was legit.

#10 andieinvic

Posted 14 January 2013 - 02:19 PM

I had an unsolicited call from my bank a while ago, from someone who introduced herself as my new personal banker. She called, introduced herself and asked me to answer some security questions, including my birthdate and then asked my and dh's salary range! Like you I explained I wasn't comfortable giving out those details when I hadn't made the call and really didn't know her from Adam.  I also did say to her that I thought it was pretty bad practice for a bank to call their customers and ask for their personal details, they should be telling them not to give them out in unsolicited calls.  Anyway I asked her to send me an email with her details and checked them out and she is in fact my personal banker so I called her back.  I'm still very surprised that a bank would follow this practice shrug.gif . I agree with you - shouldn't give out personal details when someone calls you and you don't know for sure who they are.

#11 glasnost

Posted 14 January 2013 - 02:53 PM

Pretty sure it was legit as they have sent me a confirmation email about it. Unless that is a fake also unsure.gif

There is also a cooling off period. They are pretty sneaky as I think the call is more about signing up customers for another couple of years than offering a pretty crappy discount.

Next time I will do what PPs have suggested and tell them nicely to go away. It isn't just the security of personal date that concerns me. They also take a billion minutes to explain everything and I feel pretty annoyed that they wasted so much of my time.

#12 slvhwke

Posted 14 January 2013 - 03:08 PM

I had a similar issue with Centrelink.  Random lady calls and wants all my details to confirm who I am before telling me some information.

I told her I refuse to give my information out.  She may says where she's from but how the hell do I know if it's legit.

Instead I got her number, confirmed and called her back.

She was very huffy with me & kept going on about how she was just 'trying ot help me out'.

Honestly I would prefer a letter/e-mail asking me to call them, instead of random numbers.

#13 Coffeegirl

Posted 14 January 2013 - 03:08 PM

A couple years ago we had a CC with a major bank (BW).  I was getting a computer call me and ask me to enter my DOB and acct number.  But the computer didn't tell me they were calling from BW, nor why it was calling me.

After receiving these calls repeatedly (sometimes only seconds apart) I entered the number in google and found it was from BW.   I lodged a complaint with the bank.  I had a customer service guy ring me back and he couldn't understand why I was refusing to give my details to a computer  wacko.gif  He insisted that they were a reputable bank and would never use my details, but I couldn't get him to understand that the computer didn't even tell me what bank it was ringing from!

Edited by Coffeegirl, 14 January 2013 - 03:09 PM.


#14 Corella

Posted 14 January 2013 - 03:16 PM

Pet hate of mine too. Especially when they get huffy about saying no to giving out private information. And unsolicited offers? Just sound dodgy. Especially on a bad connection to a loud call centre when it's dinner time!

#15 RockLobster

Posted 14 January 2013 - 03:20 PM

My husband often gets calls from his bank, saying they need to speak to him about his account, then they ask him for his identifying info. His response is always:'You have just called me from an overseas call centre on a blocked number. I am not giving you those details. If you have important information for me, you can just tell me now'.They always get defensive and in the end they tell him to go to a branch and speak to someone there. He suspects it is a legitimate call, but still refuses to give his info.

#16 Berndt Tőst

Posted 14 January 2013 - 03:25 PM

Putting the whole security issue aside, I've done a bit of telemarketing in my time and I can definitely tell you that if they had a decent product, they wouldn't need to telemarket!
They are relying on the fact that you are put on the spot and don't have the ability to shop around before making a decision.

#17 Simply Me

Posted 14 January 2013 - 03:32 PM

If I call a company I am happy to verify my details. BUT if they call me then no.  I didn't want a call from them and obviously they already have details otherwise why would you answer to your name when called!

#18 Sassy Dingo

Posted 14 January 2013 - 03:35 PM

Out of curiosity, how are the banks/centerlink/ATO/energy company supposed to confirm that they called the right number without asking you personal questions?

Personally I would be cranky if medicare or some other agency called the wrong number and started giving out my personal details. What if my mum answered the phone as Mrs Dingo and then they just start talking about my results/personal details? I would be unbelievably cranky.

Things like name and address I feel aren't really a big problem to tell people on the phone as security questions- a phone book will get them the same information. If they asked me for my credit card details as security question I wouldn't answer then though.

You are of course entitled to take their name and number, look up the number of the switchboard and then ask to be transferred to the person calling, but how many people do you think do that? I work in an enforcement area of a government department so all of my initial contact is unsolicited and unwanted - I am not going to give out personal information when I haven't confirmed I am talking to the right person, especially when so many people are slack about updating their details with us.

#19 glasnost

Posted 14 January 2013 - 04:08 PM

QUOTE (Sassy Dingo @ 14/01/2013, 04:35 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Out of curiosity, how are the banks/centerlink/ATO/energy company supposed to confirm that they called the right number without asking you personal questions?

Personally I would be cranky if medicare or some other agency called the wrong number and started giving out my personal details. What if my mum answered the phone as Mrs Dingo and then they just start talking about my results/personal details? I would be unbelievably cranky.

Things like name and address I feel aren't really a big problem to tell people on the phone as security questions- a phone book will get them the same information. If they asked me for my credit card details as security question I wouldn't answer then though.

You are of course entitled to take their name and number, look up the number of the switchboard and then ask to be transferred to the person calling, but how many people do you think do that? I work in an enforcement area of a government department so all of my initial contact is unsolicited and unwanted - I am not going to give out personal information when I haven't confirmed I am talking to the right person, especially when so many people are slack about updating their details with us.


There were other ways to verify my identity though that wouldn't have involved me giving out personal data. He could have asked for the amount I was charged on my last bill or my account no. Asking people to give out their medicare or passport number is just not on. Last time I do it, never again.

#20 niggles

Posted 14 January 2013 - 04:12 PM

I refuse and tell them I'll call back instead.

But don't despair. It's sometimes legitimate. DH gave our credit card details to an unsolicited call recently. I flipped out when he hung up and insisted he call to verify that they had contacted us to offer xyz and it was all above board.

#21 TeaTimeTreat

Posted 14 January 2013 - 04:25 PM

.

Edited by sparkler, 20 January 2013 - 11:32 PM.


#22 Lainskii

Posted 14 January 2013 - 10:02 PM

I got a similar call and ended up calling Energy Australia and complaining.

I don't understand how they can verify my licence or medicare number to confirm it is me? They don't have access to these databases so I could make up any number. This was my arguement to the lady on the phone who was very pushy and was insisting that I was missing out on a great deal.
When I asked her who she worked for as she said she was calling on behalf of Energy Australia, she refused to tell me but wanted my drivers licence and medicare number - ironic much.




#23 ubermum

Posted 14 January 2013 - 10:07 PM

I won't give that sort of information on the phone. If you called me, you know who I am. I tell them to email me or send me a letter.


#24 angelinaballerina

Posted 14 January 2013 - 10:49 PM

Whenever an energy provider, phone company,bank, tax office etc call me for whatever reason and ask me to provide contact details to confirm my identity - I deny them.

I will take their name and dept and call back after I have rung back on their registered phone number.

I actually hate when they do this, as they are ringing my personal mobile phone number so why should I have to prove who I am?

#25 ~ky~

Posted 15 January 2013 - 02:44 AM

I just say ... "you called me, you obviously have this information in front of you to check against, you tell me and I will confirm". If they are unwilling to do this, I then wish them a good day and hang up.

I hate unsolicited phone calls even if they are the company I am already with offering me something better. I would prefer a letter in the post or an email giving me some reference details to quote upon me calling their general listed number to redeem the offer.




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