The everyday blog of Richard Bartle.

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3:24pm on Monday, 13th December, 2010:



I just got a phone call from a call centre about reviewing my Barclay's Bank account.

Actually, the Barclay's account is run by my wife — my name is only on it in case she drops dead then I can squander her money — so there was never any danger I'd talk finance with the person on the other end of the phone. Anyway,once they'd asked to speak to Mr Richard Bartle (hmm, Mr rather than Dr?) and I said I was speaking, the woman on the other end read a standard scree off her screen that culminated in a request for me to confirm I really am Richard Bartle by giving my date of birth.

At this point, I was in two minds. Should I give a false date of birth and see if she had the real one, or should I complain about her impertinance and give no information at all? I went for the latter, and demanded that she prove she was from Barclay's before I proved I was Richard Bartle.

She seemed a little flustered (I don't suppose many people who she speaks to answer her request for a date of birth with "HA!") but said that yes, she'd be happy to do so. She would tell me any two numbers I asked for at random from my sort code.

My sort code? The six-digit number referring to my bank branch? The one that is shared among several branches of Barclay's in Colchester, so the chances are that anyone in Colchester with a Barclay's account will have the same six-digit sort code? That sort code?

I gave a 20-second rant about how I didn't believe her and would go into the branch if I wanted to arrange for my account to be reviewed thanks for calling goodbye.

It was the fact that she said she'd say any two random numbers from a set of six that I found particularly scheming, as if that was somehow more secure than just telling me all six.

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Copyright © 2010 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).