Adding security questions as a verification method

Keith made a great point here and I also ran into this yesterday where our customer didn't have access to their email or their phone since it was stolen so a callback was out of the question. She was at a Verizon store looking to move her number to a new phone. She asked if there was another way of being verified like security questions. Seems like this would be a fantastic third option for customers.

Here's Keith's original post from 3 years ago. Might be something we need to revisit as a priority.

Adding "Security Questions" as Verification Method on ting.com

Currently, we only have the option to authenticate a caller by using (1) PIN verification over email or (2) callback verification via primary contact number on file. These options do not suit all customers and require a lot of work. It's a very poor customer experience when we have to disconnect a call to call them back for verification purposes. Furthermore, not all customers have access to email when they're calling.

It would be fantastic if we added a "How do you wish to be verified when you contact Ting?" to the account settings page. Here customers have the option of choosing "answer three security questions when you call or chat with Ting". Questions may include:

  • What is the first and last name of your first boyfriend or girlfriend?
  • Which phone number do you remember most from your childhood?
  • What was your favorite place to visit as a child?
  • Who is your favorite actor, musician, or artist?
  • What is the name of your favorite pet?
  • In what city were you born?
  • What high school did you attend?
  • What is the name of your first school?
  • What is your favorite movie?
  • What is your mother's maiden name?
  • What street did you grow up on?
  • What was the make of your first car?
  • When is your anniversary?
  • What is your favorite color?
  • What is your father's middle name?
  • What is the name of your first grade teacher?
  • What was your high school mascot?
  • Which is your favorite web browser?
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  • When I worked at Sprint, the account could be validated one of two ways, through a PIN or through a question like this. The only thing that couldn't be done with the answer was porting. Everything else, including cancellation, could be done with just this word password.

    I would be worried that a spouse (or even an ex) would then be granted complete access to a customer's Ting account, because the answers to these questions don't change.

    That happened all the time at Sprint, and we were regularly having to clean up the mess of a jilted ex because changing your cell phone account password really isn't at the forefront of your mind if you're fighting with a significant other. 

    At least the current methods of verification require access either to the email address itself (less common to an ex or significant other) or the phone itself (relatively common). And if we encourage customers to give a lie as a correct answer, they'll need to remember the lie they told us just to get into their account. 

    Maybe this works as a secondary method of verification for account maintenance, but I wouldn't trust it for primary account access.

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