Published June 26, 2019
For most of us, the idea of having and using passwords has become a normal part of life. We are used to supplying passwords and passcodes to unlock our homes, our cars, our accounts—anything that is private. Because industries like ETC are businesses that have sensitive customer information on file, passwords are a part of our business protocol.
ETC is required by law to protect our customers’ proprietary network information (CPNI). Any data that we collect regarding an account is legally confidential. In order to stay compliant with federal law, we must require a password before we can discuss account information with a customer. If a customer cannot provide a password, then security questions are used as a back-up means of proof that someone has the rights to view an account.
One example of how a password can protect your account might be a scenario of a parent and adult child who are living together. If the parent is paying the bill, he may not want the adult child to have the ability to add movie packages or make other changes that might increase the TV bill. If the account is password-protected, the adult child cannot do anything to the account without providing a passcode (or answering a security question). This way the parent retains sole control.
By contrast, there are often situations where grown children are handling an account on behalf of a senior parent who is living independently but with assistance. The senior parent may not wish for all his children to have access to his account—especially if the children don’t get along. If only one grown child knows the password/can gain account access, the parent can be assured of which child is making changes.
Divorce situations are yet another example of how passwords can be helpful. In the event of an unfriendly split, a password may prevent a disgruntled spouse from changing or even disconnecting services on an unsuspecting ex.
Most account-related tasks—even something as simple as paying a bill—require a password. Paying bills means receiving receipts, and receipts contain personal account information, all of which is protected.
Of course, ETC is not the only business to require passwords. From banks to other utility companies, passwords are a common part of doing business. Thankfully, most ETC customers are accustomed to providing passwords (or security question answers) prior to discussing account information with our representatives. While we understand it may be inconvenient, it’s simply a step that we must take to be federally compliant. It’s also a step we gladly take to protect our customers’ personal information.
Thank you for your understanding regarding our industry’s need to comply with federal regulations.