Peter at Bible Money Matters reports that when he called American Express to cancel an old credit card account that hadn’t been used in years, he was blitzed with a high-pressure pitch to keep the card. Among other things, the person who answered his phone call asked him why he would want to cancel a perfectly fine credit card. One of Peter’s readers also reported having been asked a similar question and then pursuedwith attempts to discuss balances on other cards and her arrangements for emergency funds. Wow! All of these matters come under the heading of nobody’s business but yours. Stand in front of the mirror and practice uttering these phrases:
That’s none of your business.
Why do you want to know?
I don’t share that kind of information with strangers.
Be prepared to use them at the drop of a hat.
The psychology of phone interactions between companies and consumers is fascinating. Decades ago, my mother worked for the phone company in California. Part of her job was to check up on fraudulent long-distance calls, which in those days were pretty easy to make. When a customer called in and said a call to thus-&-such a number was incorrectly billed to him, she would telephone the number and ask whoever answered who had called them at the time and date shown on the bill. Amazingly, when asked point-blank most people would blurt out the perp’s name without thinking.
She said she’d been taught during the phone company’s training sessions that when confronted with an unexpected personal question, most people will answer honestly before they think about it. A lot of the conversation that Peter and his readers report entails having some minimum wage employee at a phone bank—possibly in some other country—engage the mark in a conversation about matters that are none of his or her business, solely for the purpose of manipulation.
It’s another reason we should protect our privacy and draw a line where information that belongs to us is concerned.
Remember: Just say no!