Customer service often the weak link in security breaches

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Customer service representatives are being targeted by cons looking to steal customer information.

Whether “customer no service” is outsourced or done in-house, companies are generally contemptuous of their customer service reps. I’ve never understood that; it’s cheaper to make an existing customer happy than to find a new one, so why not do the former instead of the latter?!

But The Wall Street Journal reports that customer service reps are not being given the guidance to avoid being conned in a numbers of ways.

The con job can come when someone pretends to be an employee of the same company and asks for information. Or when they pretend to be a customer and get a service rep to divulge sensitive info. Or they may pose as an inspector or repair technician who rifles through records while supposedly on official business.

All these different pretexts will work to compromise security at a company. Because they’re treated as redheaded step child, customer service is the Achilles’ heel that allows criminals to tap in and steal.

For businesses, the lesson is simple: It’s yet another reason why when you show contempt for your customers by running a crummy customer no service operation, it comes back to bite you in ways you can never expect.

While we’re on the topic, I also think Consumerist.com should be required reading for CEOs every single day. It might be illuminating to see what customers are posting about your company, particularly your customer service department.

Editor’s note: This segment originally aired Nov. 18, 2011



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