When I receive calls from banks, telcos and transport service providers, the first thing they ask for is my NRIC number to verify my identity (Clarify when firms need to collect NRIC number, Dec 10).
My immediate reply to them is: You called me and not the other way round, you should verify your identity to me. In all cases, the caller was immediately stumped.
When I explained that I had no idea if they were who they claimed to be, and asked them to tell me my NRIC number instead, they would say that they were not allowed to divulge personal details. I would agree and suggest they state part of the number instead, but so far all have declined.
Sometimes, I would feel comfortable enough to identify myself using part of my NRIC number after the caller referred to specific details of my case or complaint.
In other cases, I was given a case number and told to call the company's customer hotline.
Either way, such phone transactions are rather clumsy, inefficient and/or not entirely secure.
My experiences show that customer service officers lack training. And what is more disturbing is the possibility of scam callers taking advantage of this and tricking people without having to prove that they are who they say they are.
We should make it a standard requirement that any call initiated by a business or organisation must always start with the caller verifying his own identity first. It amazes me that this simple logic is not immediately apparent.
Yeo Wee Ling