Proposed Call Center Law

Proposed law: telling you when your call has been routed to a call center outside the US.

Call centers are used to take orders and for customer service in many large companies. Today I saw the following: http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20100530/pl_nm/us_usa_outsourcing  regarding call centers and customers being transferred outside the US. Basically the proposed law would require two new things:
1) that you get notified when your phone call  is transferred to a call center outside the USA and
2) that the company transferring the call outside the US to pay a fee.

While big business and special interest groups will fight this, we support this idea.

Companies using non-US based call centers affect us all, not just in jobs and taxes shipped overseas but in data security. Do you really want to give your credit card number, billing address and card security code to someone who makes a few dollars a day in a foreign call center?

A well designed web site (one that does not keep the credit card and security numbers) is actually more secure than anytime a person is involved. An outsourced call center, as used by many major corporations, is a huge security risk, as you never know who you are talking to, what their intentions are or even what country they are located in. You can’t even always tell by the accent as some companies are training their people to speak without a discernable accent and to identify themselves with American sounding names.

Some people may be saying “wait a minute the credit card information is being sent over the internet isn’t that a security problem”?  The truth of the matter is that every credit card transaction, whether it’s placed online, over the phone or in a department store, is transmitted over the internet at one time or another and in some cases multiple times, as the internet is used for authentication and the collection between the merchant, and the multiple  banks involved.   The biggest risk to internet security is the setup on the customers personal computer.

Things you can do to improve your personal online security:
1) when entering credit card information make sure the URL begins with “https” this is the secure “encrypted” connection that keeps your card information from being intercepted online.
2) Beware of “toolbars”, small tools that install functions on your browser as they bypass all normal security and can intercept and transmit your credit card information and other entries without your permission at any time: even when the URL is “https”. The toolbar installed may have nothing to do with shopping, anytime you install one you run the risk that it will self install a new version which can then transmit your credit card, email addresses, passwords, and address information without your consent. Toolbars are always a very bad idea.
3) Always keep your security software up to date and running.
4) A group of companies in the gift/flowers/strawberry industries have used their checkout process to sign customers up for a third party “savings” program, some customers have said they were signed up for those programs without their consent. While the big check off box may say something like “xxx discount program” the small print and end result is that the customers get signed up for a program that charges them every month for what seems to be little reward. The site that the customer places the order on actually passes the customers credit card information to the third party site.
How we handle things differently
1) We don’t employee any outside call centers (either inside or outside the US)
2) We don’t pass your credit card number to anyone except the bank
3) We don’t keep a copy of your credit card number, when you place your order we send it to the bank and it is not saved.

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