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Dave.G's profile

Teacher

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17 Messages

Monday, February 2nd, 2015 7:49 PM

When will AT&T stop the unnecessary credit checks for no-contract accounts?

I recently set up a new AT&T wireless account, and chose a Mobile Share Value plan over GoPhone because of a nice corporate discount and the possibility to add family members in the future. The Mobile Share Value plan seemed a good option: I brought my own unlocked phone, and I appreciated the freedom of a no-contract plan. I had been told (incorrectly) that I would not need to provide my social security number (SSN) if I brought my company ID and W-2 form to my local AT&T store.

 

Given the recent AT&T data breach, it was very frustrating when I found out that I would in fact need to provide my SSN and date of birth in order to start a Mobile Share Value plan. I offered to set up automated payments, and to pay ahead of each month's service. Neither was acceptable; I was told that to start the Mobile Share Value plan I was required to have a credit check, even though I own my phone and my service is non-contract. In the end I gave my SSN -- only because I had canceled my service with my previous provider and I needed a phone -- but I would never have switched to AT&T if I knew that I would have to put my personal information in the hands of a company that has shown itself to be incapable of protecting its customers' identities. 

The only bright side is that I don't have a contract, so I will be leaving AT&T at the end of the month.

Guru

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901 Messages

9 years ago

The Mobile Share Value plans are not for the GoPhone, there are for the post-pay customer.  The GoPhone is pre-paid and there isn't a shared plan.  All post-paid customer need to have a credit check ran on them.  Pre-paid is the only way to go without a credit check.  So looks like you just got them confused, because you were bringing your own device.

Teacher

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17 Messages

9 years ago

Thanks, Deena, but don't think that's the issue here. My problem is with the idea that a credit check is necessary in cases like mine: AT&T is not offering me any services that could put me in their debt or in breach of contract. In other words, a credit check is only necessary if AT&T thinks that a customer might incur a large debt to them. Since I own my phone and have no contract, there is simply no way for me to get in AT&T's debt. 

 

These sorts of frivolous, unnecessary credit checks using the SSN are a big part of why identity theft is such a problem. It is also why the Social Security Administration specifically advises against these sorts of uses of the SSN. AT&T needs to change its policies.

ACE - Expert

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23.9K Messages

9 years ago

all companys run a credit check these days power and gas companies.  Cable companies you name it.  Did you know you can bring your own phone and still have to pay a deposit if your demend a credit risk?

Teacher

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17 Messages

9 years ago

Glimmerman76: "Everyone is doing it" is a pretty stupid explanation for continuing a practice that puts us all at risk of identity theft. I guess I have to say this once again: AT&T needs to change its policies. The fact that plenty of other companies need to change theirs, too, doesn't change the wrongness of AT&T's policies.

Guru

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901 Messages

9 years ago

Again, AT&T needs to see if you are a risk.  Even if you bring your own device you are still using AT&T's services.  Since this is post-paid, you are getting charged after you use the services.  Therefore you could rack up a pretty big bill and if you don't pay it, AT&T will have to somehow get the money from you.  So they are seeing what type of a risk you are before they give you service.

Teacher

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17 Messages

9 years ago

You guys really aren't getting this. If they need to run a credit check, fine, but do so without requiring the SSN and putting the customer at risk for identity theft. This is why the Social Security Administration clearly advises against using the SSN for routine credit checks.

Guru

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901 Messages

9 years ago

Please advise of how to run a credit check without using a SSN?  I have never heared of a way.  Your credit is attached to your SSN.

Teacher

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17 Messages

9 years ago

Deena, it can be done. Ask anyone who rents properties.

Professor

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3.2K Messages

9 years ago


@Dave.G wrote:

You guys really aren't getting this. If they need to run a credit check, fine, but do so without requiring the SSN and putting the customer at risk for identity theft. This is why the Social Security Administration clearly advises against using the SSN for routine credit checks.


Then why is your subject "When will ATT stop the unnecesary credit checks for no contract accounts"

 

The subject should be "Why does ATT require a SSN for a credit check?"

Teacher

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17 Messages

9 years ago

Busternutt: first of all, I don't think that a credit check is necessary for no-contract accounts when the customer brings his/her own phone. My point was that if a credit check is truly necessary -- when AT&T is actually tendering credit in the form of a phone or contract -- then it should be done without requiring the SSN.

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