April 14, 2020
We are in a position where we need to open a new bank account to receive direct deposits from a job. We felt a little wary about going out since we have tried to practice stay at home. Melissa found the bank had an app that allowed you to open an account virtually. She logged on and entered the requested information for her, but since it was a joint account, she needed my input as well. The way the computer verified I was me was by asking a series of security questions. It asked what state I lived in in 1963, if I knew any of a series of people, and if I had resided at any of a number of addresses. I relayed the answers to Melissa, and she typed them in. The computer “waiting” spiral came on as my answers were verified. Then a message popped up that said I answered incorrectly. We would need to go to the bank and apply for the account in person.
There is a local branch near our home, but the lobby is closed by executive order. That meant we would need to go to the drive through and fill out the needed information through the glass. When we arrived, they had no problem verifying me but said Melissa was already in the system under a previous name. We drove home, found our marriage license as verification and drove back to the bank. This wasn’t a notarized copy, so they needed to call the corporate lawyers to see if it was acceptable. We pulled out of line and parked. They finally called and we got back in line for the third time. Once we reached the window there was the usual mountain of paperwork and signatures transferred back and forth through the teller slot. An hour and a half after first arriving at the bank we had our account.
I must admit. It bothered me that I had failed the security questions about my life. It reminded me of the time I stood before the clerk to obtain a visa after I lost my passport in Jordan. He looked at the manifest of the flight when I entered the country and informed me, I was not listed. In fact, he said, I wasn’t in the country. This as I physically stood in front of him. Once more I thought, “How can the computer know more about my life than I do?” What really bothered me, was it didn’t tell me which questions I missed.
THOUGHTS: I realize how important it is to apply security measures to keep my identity safe. This is especially true in this time of financial scams and distancing. I also know I have less patience than I used to have. We were polite and realized the teller was only doing what was required of her, but as time ticked by, I found myself grating inside. Earlier in the day I had attended an on-line call about coping with stress in the age corona virus. The call seemed even more relevant as I sat and waited. One key to overcoming the stress was advice to stay connected with family and friends. I encourage you to do this in any way possible. If it is possible, Stay home. Stay safe.