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More Tales of Financial Indiscretion

No, I will not be regaling you with stories of folks who took part in the Vancouver Riots Stanley Cup riots of 2011, only to find their faces splattered all over Facebook (aka the new Big Brother), incriminating them in a crime (that really is Dumber than Snake Mittens too). This story came from my wife and how maybe some conversations should be kept private. Yes more tales of indiscretion (financially speaking). It was written back when Telephone Banking was the big thing. Needless to say you can use on-line banking more securely? Yes and No, no, if you are on a Public Wi-Fi network.

My wife was having a lay over , so she was sitting patiently at the gate. She noticed that the Airport had many private looking alcoves and areas where “telecommuters” could get things done with some privacy (all of them seemed to have rocking chairs too?!?). She then heard a gentleman sitting in the middle of the waiting area talking on his cell phone, very loudly.

This gentleman was concerned because he seemed to have had to purchase his airline tickets twice. He was not sure whether he had enough money in his account to pay for all of it. Naturally, he was talking to his bank (my wife assumed).

The gentleman said loudly, “… yes take the money from the account that had $40,000 in it and transfer over $3000 just in case…”, or something to that effect. He then announced boldly and loudly, “… my access card number? It is xxxx xxx xxx xxxx…” (no my wife did not write it down and she did not recall it either).

As I heard this story I went WTF, is this person insane? I don’t care if he has not given out his PIN number for his access card or which bank he deals with or any other info, people who know how to defraud folks need less than this to break into your bank account and cause some severe damage. I was flabbergasted by the story, but my wife assured me the gentleman did not seem ill at ease doing this and nobody else around him pointed out what he was doing was very financially dangerous.

Rules for Telephone Banking

It’s pretty simple the rules for using telephone banking:

  1. Never do it in a public place
  2. Don’t use your wireless phones at home (all a thief needs to do is listen in to the tones and they have your banking info). If your phone is newer technology it may have a secure feature to it.
  3. Don’t really do this over your cell phone if you can help it.
  4. Use On-line banking, but make sure it is over a secure link. Public Wi-Fi and hotel ethernet connections should not be viewed as safe. If you are on those, you should use a Virtual Private Network that secures your connection.

Sometimes being paranoid is the right way to be, especially when it comes to the security of your money. Careful or you may end up in another one of my tales of indiscretion posts.

Feel Free to Comment

  1. Anyone sitting beside that gentleman, could have been a really rich person that day. They would have seen his debit card and known what bank it came from. (he sat and waved it around when he talked) They would have known his last transaction, as he had just used it to buy a new airline ticket to Florida. He was calling to see if he had been billed twice by US Airways as his last reservation had been cancelled. (he didn’t know by whom) He read his access card number to the person at the bank and he confirmed how much money was in the account. He then asked the bank to move $30,000 out to another account, as he was travelling to Florida and wouldn’t need $40,000 in his checking account. What astounded me was that a bank would do this over the phone. The only identification he gave was his name and his access card number. He doesn’t need sympathy, he needs a stupidity award.


  2. This article points out how very important it is to be discreet when conducting business over a cellular connection or in any circumstance really. We have to protect our hard-earned money.

  3. I never understand why people have any conversations on a cell phone in public. I really don’t want to listen, but the individual makes that impossible. It seems telephone courtesy is over never mind privacy.

  4. I can sympathize with people who get into this type of situation. During a year-long interaction with CRA where several of the people I had to call never answered the phone, I had to take their calls whenever they called or tolerate yet another week-long delay. Sometimes I was called at work and had to discuss details of my tax situation when several coworkers were within earshot. I did my best to keep my information as private as possible, but I didn’t want to quit my job for a year wile CRA got things straightened out.

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