BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB)–Buffalo businessman Joe Kennedy couldn’t believe it. Out of the blue, a credit card company suddenly suspended his “Petal” Visa card due to what the company claimed was “unusual activity” on his account.
Then the company, Petal Card, which is web based, heaped so many demands on Kennedy, it seemed like a scam aimed at identity theft.
Kennedy is the owner of a car detailing service in Allentown, Joe Kennedy’s Auto Beauty Center on Elmwood Avenue.
To verify his identity, Petal Card required Kennedy to email the company a “selfie” showing his driver’s license, and that he link his bank account to the Visa account. An alternative would have been emailing copies of his tax returns.
Kennedy contacted Call 4 Action, and News 4 questioned Petal Card’s policy for verifying a customer’s identity with a driver’s license, a passport, or tax returns. By law the company has no way of using those forms of identification to verify a customer’s identity.
In an interview for the news story, Scott Laughlin, Executive VP for the Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Buffalo advised against it.
“I personally would not respond to this type of thing, and if they closed my account, I would say I did not need you anyway.”
Petal Card apparently figured out a way to verify Joe’s identity without invading so deeply into his privacy.
A few days after News 4 reported Kennedy’s Visa dilemma, he received an email from Petal saying they researched his account and it “is ready for use and we have made sure you can make purchases again.”
For all of Joe’s frustration, “we are extending a courtesy credit of $25,” to Kennedy’s account, and the Allentown businessman said he is going to take Petal up on the offer.
Petal Card made no mention in the email as to whether this signals a change in their verification policy.