The staff at Vodafone call centres have violated the rules on security controls, and left the customers vulnerable to fraud.
Criminals posing as real customers will have access to certain accounts, even if they have not been able to correctly answer security questions.
A whistleblower has told the BBC that it occurs because of the pressure on the call centre staff to meet customer satisfaction targets.
Vodafone said it takes security “very seriously”.
In February, David Hart of Lincolnshire discovered Vodafone had given someone else control of his mobile phone number.
They had contacted Vodafone via the company’s online web-chat service, and pretended to be him.
His telephone number was passed on to another network, allowing criminals to receive the text message from his credit card provider that has authorized the purchase of a £9,000 Rolex watch.
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“I don’t think that the customer service from Vodafone really understand the importance of a mobile phone,” said David. “If I had not acted so quickly clearly a lot more things would have happened.”
David cancelled his credit cards and contact the retailer from whom the watch was purchased with the fraud alert.
Vodafone later confirmed that the person who posed as him was not the correct PIN code and the password, and had no security issues.
He apologized and confirmed that its web-chat agents should have been more thorough during the initial phase of the security process.
A whistleblower who works in a Vodafone call centre told Radio 4’s You And Yours, they have seen the proof of the other, similar violations.
“I encourage people to come through for me who was very angry when I don’t give them access to an account,” the whistleblower said.
“They say that they have had access for the last time, and I can see that this is true, and they are sometimes even on the phone back and get another agent before I finished my notes and closed the account, and I can see that they are being given access by someone else.”Monthly Bonus
The whistleblower said call centre staff were trying to keep the customers happy to protect their bonuses, the cost of security.
They described a customer satisfaction survey that is sent via sms to their customers after a call is ended.
The first question is: “would you recommend Vodafone?” and the customer has the option to choose a score out of ten.
The whistleblower said that a score of 9 or 10 to 100% of income for the customer service agent. A score between 5 and 8 would be zero, and anything below 5 would result in a rating of less than 100% for this call.
Vodafone customer service agents can receive monthly bonuses worth up to € 150 for the high customer satisfaction scores alone.
However, low scores can also be placed on action plans to improve their performance. The disciplinary action
Compared to David Hart, Vodafone said it has since strengthened its safety checks” as well as the authorization codes for the switching of an account will only be provided if a caller with precision the answers to the security questions and have access to the mobile phone in question.
The company said that data protection is an integral part of a customer service advisor in training.
It should be of the non-compliance “very seriously” and disciplinary measures are taken if an individual is found not to have followed its procedures.