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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.

ACE - Expert

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23.9K Messages

9 years ago


@Dave.G wrote:

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.


lets go hide under a rock.  Banks, credit card companys, morgages, the lot use your SSN for a credit check.  You put yourself at risk for identity theif by accessing the internet.  Data breaches happen.  Att's was rather small than say Target or Homedepot.  There also have been banks that have been breached.  If its on the internet it can be targeted.

ACE - Expert

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23.9K Messages

9 years ago


@Dave.G wrote:

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.


Like I said you can bring your own phone and still have a deposit if your demmed a credit risk.  You cant fault companies for making sure there going to get paid.  

Guru

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901 Messages

9 years ago


@Dave.G wrote:

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


When you rent a place from anyone beside from a private party, they will ask you for your SSN.  I have never rented from a private party, so they possibly would rent their place without a SSN.

Teacher

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17 Messages

9 years ago

Glimmerman76: the need for a credit check should be in direct proportion to the amount of money that you could possibly owe a company. Home mortgage? Yes, that makes sense. Car loan? Yes. Other major purchases? Yes.

 

The example that I have been using -- a no-contract phone owned by the customer -- should not require the same level of concern as a mortgage, car loan, or major purchase. 

 

Another issue with frivolous credit checks is their effect on your credit score: credit rating agencies view AT&T's credit check as a "hard inquiry", indicating potential debt obligations which may lower a credit score. http://www.bankrate.com/finance/credit-cards/how-credit-inquiries-affect-credit-score.aspx

 

AT&T's policy of universal credit checks for post-paid accounts is frivolous, unnecessary, and damaging. 

Teacher

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17 Messages

9 years ago

Deena, I have never given my SSN to potential landlords. There are other ways to do credit checks. 

Guru

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901 Messages

9 years ago

Dave you keep saying that. Please name one. Never heard of another way to get a credit check without a SSN.

Guru

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901 Messages

9 years ago

If you want to get a phone with any carrier and do not want to use your SSN then you will need to go pre-paid.

Teacher

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17 Messages

9 years ago


@deenalove08 wrote:
If you want to get a phone with any carrier and do not want to use your SSN then you will need to go pre-paid.

Deena, that answer falls under the category of "Everybody is doing it." My entire point with this question has been to change AT&T's policy. But you're right about one thing -- for the time being I will stick with pre-paid after I leave AT&T. 

Professor

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3.2K Messages

9 years ago

But Dave, for a credit check you have to have some unique identifier (more than just a name). If companies switch to something other than SSN, then that is what the ID thieves will go after. They aren't going to go away just because SSN are no longer used.

 

SSN is a U.S. identifier. Are you saying ID theft is not a problem in other countries that don't use an SSN?

Guru

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901 Messages

9 years ago

The only reason that it is "Everyone does it" is because it is the only way to do it.
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