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Old May 25th, 2012, 07:30 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Do you divulge your PIN to VM customer care?

I sent a help request to Customer Care regarding the frequent 104 error on the Optimus Elite. Their response was:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Customer Care
Hello Erin,

Thanks for contacting Virgin Mobile Customer Care.

Due to an unusual high volume of e-mails recently, it has taking us
longer than expected to respond to your e-mail. We apologize for the
delayed response and for any inconvenience this has caused.

It is always our pleasure to help you with any concern that you may
have. In order to give you the most accurate information and also to be
able to access your account, we need you to please provide your six
digit account PIN as it was not included in your email.


Once we have that, we can get right to business and get you on your way.


If you need additional help, feel free to let us know how we can assist
further or contact us at 1-888-322-1122 (or *VM from your handset). You
can reach us Monday through Sunday from 4:00 AM - 9:00 PM PST. As a
reminder, please include your Virgin Mobile phone number and PIN on all
replies.

Thanks,

Meylin G.
Virgin Mobile At Your Service
Prepaid Unlimited Cell Phone Plans | Android | Smartphone | Broadband | Virgin Mobile
I'm rather bothered they would even ask for my PIN much less to tell me they can't help me without it and I let them know as much. I would understand asking for it if you had a PIN and an account password, but it is your password.

Have you in the past give them your PIN? Why or why not.

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Old May 25th, 2012, 07:57 PM   #2 (permalink)
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While I am not with Virgin Mobile, I cannot answer really.

I would like to offer some advice about PIN numbers and passwords....

Even if the e-mail you reference is from Virgin Mobile, personally, I would not send your PIN number or Password in an e-mail. If they really need your account info, I would call a valid Virgin Mobile Customer Service number and only give your account information over the phone.
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Old May 25th, 2012, 08:21 PM   #3 (permalink)
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^^ This.

100% agree.
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Old May 26th, 2012, 12:01 AM   #4 (permalink)
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You have to give them your pin, Its not like there going to steal your account lols. There in India your account is useless over there.
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Old May 26th, 2012, 12:12 AM   #5 (permalink)
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They require it for troubleshooting, without it they have no way off accessing your account info to see if there is a billing or provisioning problem on your account. As far as your particular error, have you tried running a hotspot on your phone? I know on the FB page people that have tried it with the Elite have run into numerous hard data lockups, many requiring a phone replacement to correct.
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Old May 26th, 2012, 02:05 AM   #6 (permalink)
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The error for hotspot is 67 and no I have not.

I have had Blizzard troubleshoot my account without having to know my password. Same with Sony and many other companies. If their system is setup that way that is piss poor. Every other company tells you, "Our employees will never ask for your password."

And if viewing the account does require PIN access then there should be a password used to log in to the account for the customer.
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Old May 26th, 2012, 03:07 AM   #7 (permalink)
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In their case, I bet they don't have a master control access system, they just log in with your info, as they are a call center for 50 different places in one, or not even a call center, just a person with a cell phone [that no reservations show in india, had a guy driving their 3wheel motobike cab, while he took sprint customer service calls on his cell]

Though Id post your question on the VM USA facebook page, they seem to be johnny on the spot and they should have a good corp script sheet answer just waiting for you hehehehe
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Old May 26th, 2012, 11:14 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by nfs13epic View Post
You have to give them your pin, Its not like there going to steal your account lols. There in India your account is useless over there.

No, I don't have to give them my pin via email.
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Old May 26th, 2012, 01:45 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Though Id post your question on the VM USA facebook page, they seem to be johnny on the spot and they should have a good corp script sheet answer just waiting for you hehehehe
Let me know what they say if you do post. I don't have a facebook account.
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Old May 26th, 2012, 03:04 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Let me know what they say if you do post. I don't have a facebook account.

Sorry to derail.. MacFett do you still Wow?
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Old May 26th, 2012, 04:58 PM   #11 (permalink)
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FB > "Virgin Mobile USA Hi, we cannot access your account to assist you without you verifying your account. Whenever you call in or email us we will ask for your cell number and account pin. ^Aleeah B."
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Old May 26th, 2012, 05:44 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 350X View Post
FB > "Virgin Mobile USA Hi, we cannot access your account to assist you without you verifying your account. Whenever you call in or email us we will ask for your cell number and account pin. ^Aleeah B."

No one is debating that. What we are saying, however, is that they shouldn't need to ask for it (pin). It's shitty security. They can very well implement other means to verify the legitimacy of an account owner.
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Old May 26th, 2012, 07:41 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 350X View Post
FB > "Virgin Mobile USA Hi, we cannot access your account to assist you without you verifying your account. Whenever you call in or email us we will ask for your cell number and account pin. ^Aleeah B."
This is my point there are many other ways for them to verify the account such as a password as well as the pin one to login with and one to give to customer service. We had an IT company fired from a company I worked because they continually asked employees for their passwords because it was easier for them then to do it correctly.


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Sorry to derail.. MacFett do you still Wow?
No, not really. I log in every now and again but my server is dead (Onxyia).
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Old May 26th, 2012, 09:18 PM   #14 (permalink)
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No, not really. I log in every now and again but my server is dead (Onxyia).
If yer Alliance, willing to hop servers, and interested in raiding send me a PM.
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Old May 26th, 2012, 09:47 PM   #15 (permalink)
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If yer Alliance, willing to hop servers, and interested in raiding send me a PM.
I could do 1 of the 3. Goblin4lyfe!
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Old May 26th, 2012, 10:21 PM   #16 (permalink)
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I could do 1 of the 3. Goblin4lyfe!

Well no wonder. See, I paid Jerry to install bugs in BACKside that only affect the Horde.

/snicker
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Old May 27th, 2012, 05:54 PM   #17 (permalink)
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What I find even more ridiculous is the fact that when you change your pin VM sends you a text not only indicating you changed it but what you changed it to. Really?!? You just sent me a text to my phone number (which is used as your username) with the actual pin? Ha...security at its finest!
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Old May 27th, 2012, 06:52 PM   #18 (permalink)
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They no longer text to what it was changed, I just changed mine because a payment was added to my account and then my month was restarted 2 days after it automatically started.

The text I received merely stated that my PIN was changed.
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Old May 28th, 2012, 09:18 AM   #19 (permalink)
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They no longer text to what it was changed, I just changed mine because a payment was added to my account and then my month was restarted 2 days after it automatically started.

The text I received merely stated that my PIN was changed.
Don't know...I received an email indicating it was changed and then quite some time later a text indicating what it was changed to...
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Old May 28th, 2012, 10:02 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by atraum View Post
Don't know...I received an email indicating it was changed and then quite some time later a text indicating what it was changed to...
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Originally Posted by MacFett View Post
They no longer text to what it was changed
This. ^

I changed mine recently (when I updated my new address), and the text I received merely stated it was changed. The text did not include what I changed it to.
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Old May 29th, 2012, 07:21 PM   #21 (permalink)
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Vm & Bm they both ask for ur pins always if they dont its something wrong some were cause they need it when u need troubleshooting replacements anything because the one reason they ask is because they need to know if its ur account or not
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Old May 29th, 2012, 07:45 PM   #22 (permalink)
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There are other means to verify an account other than asking for the account password. A few are: the last 4 digits on your credit card (if you have one), the first and last name on the account, the alternate phone number, parts of the home address, birthday etc. etc. etc. Generally no major company will ever ever ever ask you for your password.
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Old May 29th, 2012, 07:58 PM   #23 (permalink)
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There are other means to verify an account other than asking for the account password. A few are: the last 4 digits on your credit card (if you have one), the first and last name on the account, the alternate phone number, parts of the home address, birthday etc. etc. etc. Generally no major company will ever ever ever ask you for your password.
:dito:

Also, as I mentioned previously, if Virgin Mobile is required to have either your PIN or your password to trouble-shoot, I would only do so over the phone on a valid Virgin Mobile customer service number.

The reason is the e-mail is not secure unless it is encrypted, like corporate e-mail.
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Old May 29th, 2012, 08:01 PM   #24 (permalink)
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Also, as I mentioned previously, if Virgin Mobile is required to have either your PIN or your password to trouble-shoot, I would only do so over the phone on a valid Virgin Mobile customer service number.
Exactly.


Until they tell you to reset the phone, which would then cause you to lose the call since you are using said phone...



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Old July 15th, 2012, 11:46 AM   #25 (permalink)
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Quote:
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No one is debating that. What we are saying, however, is that they shouldn't need to ask for it (pin). It's shitty security. They can very well implement other means to verify the legitimacy of an account owner.
no its not. they have that info on their screen. you are not telling them something they dont already have access to. They just want to make sure they are speaking with the account holder
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Old July 15th, 2012, 12:33 PM   #26 (permalink)
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No company (especially a CSR) should have access to my PIN or password, it should be encrypted and secure. There are plenty of other ways for them to verify I am the account holder.
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Old July 16th, 2012, 02:44 AM   #27 (permalink)
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no its not. they have that info on their screen. you are not telling them something they dont already have access to. They just want to make sure they are speaking with the account holder
I respectfully disagree. No company would be so stupid that they would leave account passwords unencrypted on a database. That's just trouble waiting to happen. If they want to verify then they can ask for my zip code, the last 4 digits of my SS#, the last 4 digits of my credit card, or they can return my call at my home number. There are far too many ways to verify an account. They do not need my password.

In the 10+ years I ran a web hosting company, I never asked for the account password to verify an account. Ever.
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Old July 16th, 2012, 08:48 PM   #28 (permalink)
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Quote:
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I respectfully disagree. No company would be so stupid that they would leave account passwords unencrypted on a database. That's just trouble waiting to happen. If they want to verify then they can ask for my zip code, the last 4 digits of my SS#, the last 4 digits of my credit card, or they can return my call at my home number. There are far too many ways to verify an account. They do not need my password.

In the 10+ years I ran a web hosting company, I never asked for the account password to verify an account. Ever.
Well having worked for numerous customer service call centers through the years. i can tell you that any info that they are asking they have to be able to confirm. which means that the info is on their screen. those reps probably take 70-80 calls daily. they arent going to ask you info they dont have access to.
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Old July 16th, 2012, 09:01 PM   #29 (permalink)
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Well having worked for numerous customer service call centers through the years. i can tell you that any info that they are asking they have to be able to confirm. which means that the info is on their screen. those reps probably take 70-80 calls daily. they arent going to ask you info they dont have access to.
And NO CSR should have access to my password, NONE. A reputable company has disclaimers on the website and in emails that say, "A representative of this company will never as you for your password."

Had I not just purchased an Optimus Elite I would be buying another device and switching to T-Mobile. In fact I may be trying to return it to Best Buy if I can find a device for T-Mobile in the $150 range.

They don't ask you for your password to get customer service do they Petrah?

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Old July 16th, 2012, 09:52 PM   #30 (permalink)
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Quote:
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And NO CSR should have access to my password, NONE. A reputable company has disclaimers on the website and in emails that say, "A representative of this company will never as you for your password."

Had I not just purchased an Optimus Elite I would be buying another device and switching to T-Mobile. In fact I may be trying to return it to Best Buy if I can find a device for T-Mobile in the $150 range.

They don't ask you for your password to get customer service do they Petrah?
From what I recall, the answer is yes, and no. T-Mobile has an account PIN much like VM does, and their CSRs will ask you for that PIN. However, when you set up an account on the my.t-mobile website you have a password that is not the same as the PIN. So they do use a PIN to identify you and that you are authorized to access the account but it doesn't give the same access, if stolen, if your VM PIN is stolen.

I had an Evo V and got fed up with my data speeds on VM, and I even have 4G (WiMax) in my area. I do not regret returning my Evo and switching to T-Mobile, and I love the Galaxy Nexus that I bought (though it costs a bit more than $150).
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Old July 22nd, 2012, 03:38 PM   #31 (permalink)
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Give them the darned PIN then change it after they help you.

What are they going to do--add top up money to your account?
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Old July 22nd, 2012, 04:55 PM   #32 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kct1975 View Post
if Virgin Mobile is required to have either your PIN or your password to trouble-shoot, I would only do so over the phone on a valid Virgin Mobile customer service number.

The reason is the e-mail is not secure unless it is encrypted

This.
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Old July 26th, 2012, 06:37 PM   #33 (permalink)
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They always ask for my PIN on the phone, but I would never email it to them.

I hate that VM doesn't have an option for a separate PIN. Most postpaid carriers have PINs or use the last 4 of SSN for accessing your account on the phone.
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Old July 27th, 2012, 10:25 AM   #34 (permalink)
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I'm rather bothered they would even ask for my PIN much less to tell me they can't help me without it and I let them know as much.
They are doing this because it is the only way for them to verify that it is actually the account owner making the request.

If they answered questions about your account or made changes based on a phone number only, that would allow anyone to just send an email and get access to your account, get your private information (who you've called or texted, for example) and/or make changes to your account without your authorization.

VM doesn't want to inadvertently give your account information to a private investigator, to a journalist working for News Corp., to an ex who now hates you or to anyone else with bad intentions.

I can understand why anyone would be suspicious - and its good to be cautious - but in this case its a legitimate request. As others have said, keep basic security practices in mind, especially that they won't ever contact you out of the blue and ask for your PIN so don't give it up unless your initiate the contact.
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Old July 27th, 2012, 12:49 PM   #35 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by tcomotcom View Post
They are doing this because it is the only way for them to verify that it is actually the account owner making the request.

If they answered questions about your account or made changes based on a phone number only, that would allow anyone to just send an email and get access to your account, get your private information (who you've called or texted, for example) and/or make changes to your account without your authorization.

VM doesn't want to inadvertently give your account information to a private investigator, to a journalist working for News Corp., to an ex who now hates you or to anyone else with bad intentions.

I can understand why anyone would be suspicious - and its good to be cautious - but in this case its a legitimate request. As others have said, keep basic security practices in mind, especially that they won't ever contact you out of the blue and ask for your PIN so don't give it up unless your initiate the contact.
But the complaint is that there are much better ways to do this from a security standpoint. As has been mentioned, other cell phone companies have a PIN so that you can prove who you are, but they have a separate password that you use to access your account.
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Old July 27th, 2012, 05:12 PM   #36 (permalink)
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But the complaint is that there are much better ways to do this from a security standpoint. As has been mentioned, other cell phone companies have a PIN so that you can prove who you are, but they have a separate password that you use to access your account.
TL/DR: It's OK to give out your PIN as long as you do it under the right circumstances. Adding a second password doesn't change that and wouldn't significantly deter someone with bad intentions from getting into your account. In practice, having two passwords makes their job easier.

I understand you think having both a PIN and a separate password is a better system, but it isn't.

Having a separate password seems great because it specifically prevents someone from using your PIN to access your online account. (I'm pretty sure that's what you're arguing.) However, if someone has your password, all they have to do is call up customer service and say "I can't remember my online PIN.", then provide the password and have the PIN reset. If someone can hack into your communications network or hardware to get a PIN, they can certainly do the same to get a password. It doesn't matter how many different passwords/PIN's you have when having just one allows you to have any/all of the others reset.

In a situation where you as a customer have have both a PIN and a password, you're making it easier, not harder, for someone to get into your account because it increases their chances. If a bad guy can trick you into giving up one secret code, they can then call Customer Service and have CS reset the other.

If it's the online password you're worried about, you should be more concerned that it is limited to six numbers. That's an extremely easy to break password scheme. Even if VM allowed alpha and special characters (which they don't) six characters is still not great.

It's my opinion that this thread is worrying about the wrong things. It's like we're all afraid of dying, so we are discussing "How do I avoid getting hit by lightning?" when we should be discussing "How do I avoid getting heart disease?" (Because death by lightning is really rare but heart disease is the top cause of death.)

Bad guys aren't afraid of secure networks, strong passwords or multiple passwords because it is much easier to simply trick someone into flat out telling them their secrets. "Social engineering" works well and its relatively easy to implement. (Even after workgroups have been given security awareness training, many of them will still fall for social engineering tricks that they just learned about earlier that same day.) If you want to be afraid of something, be afraid of that. Social engineering is by far your biggest enemy.

As I said before, if you have initiated the communication (using a phone number or e-mail address that is openly published on brochures, official websites, etc.) then give up your PIN. However, if you receive a phone call or e-mail out of the blue, do not give out your PIN. You don't even have to respond to the message. Instead of calling the number left in the voice mail, just call the official, main CS number. Instead of hitting "reply" to the e-mail, just compose a new email saying "I received a message to contact you about (insert whatever here). Is this correct?" and wait to see what they say. Step one in falling for a social engineering trick is responding to a call or e-mail that you received out of the blue, so don't do that.

-----

FWIW-

Maybe there's confusion about what happens on the VM side? If an authorized VM employee (or their agent, for example the employee of a customer service outsourcing firm in Costa Rica) wants to access your account, they don't need your PIN to do it. If they have just your phone number, they are good to go - all your info is right there for them to see, including your PIN. If they have your phone number, they already know your PIN before you give it to them. You provide it, they check it against what they already have and if there's a match, they proceed with helping you.
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Old July 27th, 2012, 05:44 PM   #37 (permalink)
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TLDR
I have never had to give my pin/password to any other company. Google CS has never asked for my password, Blizzard CS has never asked for my password, Comcast CS has never asked for my password, Sprint CS has never asked for my password, ebay CS has never asked for my password, Amazon CS has never asked for my password, Vonage CS has never asked for my password, VMUSA always asks for my password.

Maybe there is some confusion here, they should NEVER need to ask me for my pin/password. They should NEVER be able to see my pin/password. It should be encrypted, they should NEVER emailing it to me in plain text, they should NEVER be texting it to me. And it should be more than a 4 digit pin. That is not secure, it is so easily hacked.

As I stated previously, because of this I will be switching to T-Mobile as soon as I have saved for a Galaxy Nexus.
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Old July 29th, 2012, 05:05 AM   #38 (permalink)
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It's actually 6 digits, not that it really matters. Since I haven't seen anyone on this forum, which I've been a member to for over a year, running around screaming about how their accounts have been hacked because they sent VMUSA their pin in plaintext me thinks that I'll start worrying about some other pedantic issue to get worked up over. ;-)
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Old July 29th, 2012, 05:42 PM   #39 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by MacFett View Post
I have never had to give my pin/password to any other company. Google CS has never asked for my password, Blizzard CS has never asked for my password, Comcast CS has never asked for my password, Sprint CS has never asked for my password, ebay CS has never asked for my password, Amazon CS has never asked for my password, Vonage CS has never asked for my password, VMUSA always asks for my password.

Maybe there is some confusion here, they should NEVER need to ask me for my pin/password. They should NEVER be able to see my pin/password. It should be encrypted, they should NEVER emailing it to me in plain text, they should NEVER be texting it to me. And it should be more than a 4 digit pin. That is not secure, it is so easily hacked.
You've missed the point. Keep working through the issue and eventually you'll see that your accounts at all the companies above are equally insecure, VM included.

I realize that you think that the security practices you mention above are some kind of magic bullet, but they're not. Going back to the "worrying about the wrong things" concept, I feel like you're telling me how important it is to buy a really good deadbolt for your screen door.
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Old July 29th, 2012, 07:05 PM   #40 (permalink)
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I don't know about everyone else, but...

All I was trying to say is that I would NEVER enter any PIN or Password into an e-mail. As much as I love and use Gmail and Hotmail, I know that it is not secure.

Even the corporate e-mail I use at work, while encrypted, can be easily access by the IT Department staff, so I would never even put an account PIN in e-mail there either.

I do agree with some of the posters here that VM should have another method of Account Verification other than asking for a customer's PIN. However, if the Customer Service needs the PIN as the only way to verify an account, then I personally, would ONLY give it to customer service over the phone. That way you at least are sure that it is only a VM Customer Service Rep that is getting your PIN.

With e-mail, it can be hacked, accessed by multiple individuals if it is a shared customer service account, or can accidently be sent to the wrong person or group.

With a phone call, typically the conservation is one-on-one.

That is my thinking behind my advice.
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Old July 30th, 2012, 01:31 AM   #41 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MacFett View Post
I have never had to give my pin/password to any other company. Google CS has never asked for my password, Blizzard CS has never asked for my password, Comcast CS has never asked for my password, Sprint CS has never asked for my password, ebay CS has never asked for my password, Amazon CS has never asked for my password, Vonage CS has never asked for my password, VMUSA always asks for my password.

Maybe there is some confusion here, they should NEVER need to ask me for my pin/password. They should NEVER be able to see my pin/password. It should be encrypted, they should NEVER emailing it to me in plain text, they should NEVER be texting it to me. And it should be more than a 4 digit pin. That is not secure, it is so easily hacked.
This.

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As I stated previously, because of this I will be switching to T-Mobile as soon as I have saved for a Galaxy Nexus.
T-Mobile will ask for your PIN over the phone. However, I'm not sure they can access the account without it. Give them a call and check.
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Old August 6th, 2012, 11:42 PM   #42 (permalink)
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Some accounts require you to give them your PIN (personal identification number) so that they know that it is indeed the account holder (or at least someone who knows the PIN). I have found this to be fairly common with customer service for many businesses. I used to have OnStar and I would need to give my PIN if I wanted them to unlock my car. ATT needed a pin created for porting of a phone number. But I would go with the suggestion to only do it over the phone - don't put it in an email.
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Old March 15th, 2013, 11:38 AM   #43 (permalink)
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Sorry to bump an outdated thread--I was searching for something else, and came across this. I too cringe whenever they request my PIN. My last few electronic communications with the company, their email was closed as such:
"As a kind reminder, always make sure to include your Virgin
Mobile phone number and PIN on all replies."

To me, it's not as bad as US Cellular though, who asks for the last four of your social security number before they will even talk to you. Six random digits are a lot easier for me to disclose than my social security.
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Old March 16th, 2013, 08:27 PM   #44 (permalink)
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Default Re: Do you divulge your PIN to VM customer care?

Virgin Mobile's garbage customer service is one of the reasons I left them. Look at all the trouble on this thread. I would never give out my pin in an email, only with a customer service call.
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Old March 19th, 2013, 11:01 AM   #45 (permalink)
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They already know it asking for confirmation's sake.
seems silly to think your "secret" password isn't known to customer service
rep from your wireless carrier.
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Old March 19th, 2013, 01:39 PM   #46 (permalink)
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They already know it asking for confirmation's sake.
seems silly to think your "secret" password isn't known to customer service
rep from your wireless carrier.
But this is what people have an issue with, there is no reason for Customer Service to have access to your password; not to mention that isn't the type of information you want to be giving over the phone or in an email (which are not secure).
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Old March 19th, 2013, 03:09 PM   #47 (permalink)
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Default Re: Do you divulge your PIN to VM customer care?

Everyones being paranoid. They're not going to steal your identity!
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Old March 19th, 2013, 03:34 PM   #48 (permalink)
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Everyones being paranoid. They're not going to steal your identity!
If they know your pin, they can buy a cheap OV, swap phones, and cause havoc.
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Old April 6th, 2013, 11:43 AM   #49 (permalink)
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If they know your pin, they can buy a cheap OV, swap phones, and cause havoc.
UMMMMM, I'm pretty sure that VM USA won't work in India.
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Old April 6th, 2013, 06:16 PM   #50 (permalink)
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UMMMMM, I'm pretty sure that VM USA won't work in India.
OB
Who said they were in India?
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