Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Phone thievery

Last week I opened a savings account. The teller said I needed to go back on Monday (this Monday) to submit photocopies of two IDs and proof of billing. I went back last Tuesday and was told that yes, my ATM card was available, and yes, I could change my temporary PIN.

So I went outside to change my PIN. Unnervingly enough, someone was lurking just inside my peripheral vision as I was keying in my ATM card. He introduces himself as a bank employee and would I like to enroll in the online and phone banking. We go back into the bank, he asks if I had my phone onhand and if I had the time.

It turns out that you can manage your savings account online as well as by phone. Online I could accept, I've seen people open their accounts online and I thought it was very convenient indeed. My other account did not have online banking and this one has this particular feature. Awesome. What really boggled my mind was the phone banking. By texting certain codes to a particular number, you can check your balance, inquire the status of your account and even transfer funds!

To me that sounded exceptionally dangerous. I've lost 4 gadgets in my entire life. 2 cellphones on the same day and 2 ipods within a week of each other. Let me tell you, phones contain a wealth of information. Strangers can know who your family are, where you live, even your contacts' birthdays and what they look like! (if the phone you lost is one of those snazzy ones with profile pictures and information)

Some phones have a "Conversations" feature which allows one to view text messages as if one is chatting in a chronological statement and reply view. Unless you take pains to delete certain messages with vital information or delete the conversation itself, a person who is able to take hold of your mobile may be able to see your password or PIN. Now that doesn't sound like a good thing, does it?

You never know what evil people are capable of. You would think that a crappy beat up obsolete phone is beyond thievery but people still manage to find a reason not to return these things (read: 2nd phone lost by yours truly). I've heard of people having their lost phones contacting family members and friends asking for money or other valuables.

So phone banking? No, I don't think that's for me (just in case, God forbid, a 5th gadget is added to my goodbye list.)

Van Baltao post #3

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