Friday, February 18, 2005

My Mother's Maiden Name

Whenever a creditor wants to make sure you're actually the person you say you are, they ask you a series of questions based on the answers you punched in when you signed up.

They almost always ask for your account number. Normally they want to know your social security number, or at least the last four digits. They often want to know your zip code.
And more often than I would like, they want to know your mother's maiden name.

My mother's maiden name was Yianacopolous. Or was that Yianacopolos? Or Yanacapolous?

I've spent no small amount of time in my adult life being turned down in the endless questioning we all endure because I couldn't remember how to spell my mom's last name.

Yiannacopolous--which is the way you actually spell it when you've had some time to think after eating a healthy breakfast--means "son of John" in Greek. Or "Johnson" in the language of my father's ancestors who came from northern Europe.

I've used the name "Johnson" from time to time when I've filled in these digital forms. But I can never remember whether I went with the "J" name or the "Y" name with a particular organization or bank or lender. I always feel like a phony when I use the "J" name so I often use the "Y" name for forms, but I also sometimes go with the "J" name when I remember that I'll probably forget how to spell the "Y" option.

I was turned down again today when I tried to activate my new Frontier Airline credit card. I got the card so I could get free miles and qualify for a free trip to somewhere in the U.S where no one uses long and mysterious Greek last names.

After plowing through about ten minutes of intentionally misleading digital phone messages meant to frustrate me into abandoning any attempt to talk to a real person, I finally got hold of a customer service (sic) representative.

She was very accomodating. When I told her I couldn't get past the "mother's maiden name" question and that I sometimes use both the "Y" and the "J" options, she asked me to say the "Y" option. I guess I pronounced it well enough to convince someone who had never heard that name before, because she gave me the thumbs up and activated my new card. She told me her mother's maiden name was "Johannsen." I guess it's a small world.

The baptismal first name my parents gave me--my real first name--is Theophany. No, I'm not even going to go there :^) That's another credit application nightmare in the making....


Blogger galena rue said...

My Mother's Maiden Name
i shall take this opportunity to thank and mommy have made my life much easier...liming is a great deal easier to remember than the "Y" name...
-your anonymous blogger daughter

12:43 AM  
Blogger galena rue said...

maybe not so anonymous since now I have a blog account, galena rue! yeah!

12:44 AM  

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