Internet security made insecure

The entire system has become nuts.  Let’s go back to using secret words and codes by email.  And if really necessary, voice verification.  But don’t continue to insist on cods by telephone.  It’s inefficient and ineffective.

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SOURCENationofChange

Dear Vanguard:

I have always liked Vanguard.  I particularly liked your internet security system, which seemed to rely on voice verification.  When you become a Vanguard customer, you speak into Vanguard’s voice verification system, saying “At Vanguard, my voice is my password.”  When you telephone in, you are shifted to that system before speaking to a service representative.  You “clearly repeat,” “My voice is my password.”  The system robot recognizes your voice, and that’s all that is need.

However, Vanguard still uses plain old letters and numbers as passwords.  You create one for yourself, and when you want to be admitted to see your account, you have to provide your user name and password.  That usually works.  If something goes wrong, you are directed to change your password, and the system sends a verification request to your email, and then you change your password.  That usually works, too.

But sometimes it doesn’t.  You can try and try, but eventually you have to call in.  Especially when you receive an email saying that they’ve put a hold on your account.  So you call in, and the first thing that happens is they shift you to the voice verification, and you clearly repeat “At Vanguard my voice is my password.”  But then they want to know what you are calling about.  I said, “You sent me a letter and told me to all.”  The system said, “I don’t understand.”  But eventually, the voice suggested that I could “press one” if I wanted to talk about my account.  That finally got me to a representative (after listening to music for about five minutes).  Now I was talking to a real person.

She wanted me to verify myself by telling her the name of my first pet and my favorite book.  That was easy, and I passed.  But then she wanted to send my phone a secret code.  That didn’t work.  The code didn’t come through.  Funny, because they had sent me a code just the night before.  She tried sending me another code, but that also didn’t work.  Strange.

Why all this code sending.  I mean, Vanguard had asked me for my voice verification, and I passed that with flying colors.  On top of that Vanguard asked me for two secret passwords, and that worked, too.  So what is all this about using the telephone?  It’s a big waste or tome and money, and in my case it didn’t work, although it wasn’t my fault.

I really hate all this security stuff, especially the insistence on telephone codes.  It’s especially poor for customers like me, who live outside the US.  Some  companies (e.g., Bank of America) won’t even allow you to you use telephone codes that aren’t in the US, and yet they want you to provide a code, even if they have your email and can use that.

The entire system has become nuts.  Let’s go back to using secret words and codes by email.  And if really necessary, voice verification.  But don’t continue to insist on cods by telephone.  It’s inefficient and ineffective.

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