Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Privacy Issues

I currently hold both medical and financial power of attorney for a relative.  Often when I answer my phone, I hear silence followed by a computer request to speak to the relative.  Of course the name is always mispronounced.  Occasionally I receive a real live person calling.  The entertaining conversation goes something like this:

"May I speak to (name mangled)?"

"I'm sorry she doesn't live here.  May I help you?"

"Please give me a number where I can reach her."

"She lives in a nursing home.  I hold power of attorney.  May I help you?"

"Please fax me a copy of the power of attorney so that I can talk to you."

"Who are you?"

"I cannot answer your questions until I receive proof of power of attorney.  Let me give you the number."

"What is it you need?"

"I really need proof of power of attorney before I can talk to you."

"I need to know what you want before I fax any information to you."

"I need you to fax the information to me before I can talk to you about this."

Now I understand that companies must be careful in maintaining privacy for their clients, but do they really expect someone to fax personal information to an unknown entity, in an unknown location for unknown purposes?  What fool would fax legal documents to an 800 number without knowing the reason?

One caller woke me up on a Saturday morning and after learning that I held power of attorney said,  "Fax me the document to 1-800.... and then I will answer your questions."  So I replied,  "Sure.  You sit right there and wait for it.  Don't go anywhere until you receive it."  I thought, I wonder how long this idiot will sit at the fax machine?  I hope he wets his pants waiting for my fax." 

These callers act as if they are entitled to know all of our business and we, the public, work on a "need to know basis" and we only need to know their fax number.  Personally I have never and will never fax a legal document to anyone who cannot give me some assurance as to where it is going, who will view it, and for what purpose it will be used.  I have a right to my privacy too.
Post a Comment