A Brief Moment of Western Union Logic

Offering a friend a bit of a slump-time bump, today we sent some money via Western Union. Since it was the first time we had used their service, they requested that we call their call center to confirm something. They didn’t state what.

While on the phone Donya asked for us to confirm our address, which we did. She then said she could not approve our transaction, since none of her “public records” confirmed that we lived there—this despite the fact that bank whose debit card we used to pay has sent bills to this address every month for over a year. We asked what public records Western Union used to confirm our authenticity.

“Sir, we don’t have to give out our sources for public records,” stated Donya.

We requested to speak to her manager. Instead, we were put on hold for approximately ten minutes, after which Donya said she would call us back. We hung up. She called back. The transaction was approved.

We can’t tell you how happy we are to know that Western Union’s security system is impermeable enough to require utter secrecy about their “public” sources, but can be short-circuited by confirming that we have indeed stolen our own phone number. It’s simultaneous the worst of both ends of security.