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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.

Teacher

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17 Messages

9 years ago


@Busternutt wrote:

You don't think drivers licenses can be faked? Ask any college student.

 

If a company creates a unique identifier, that will become the target of the thieves. It's not about what number we use, it is about a company protecting that information once we give it to them.

 

As for medical systems, they always ask me for a SSN. What's your point?

 


Busternutt: even if thieves will constantly try to access and utilize identifying information, it is foolish to throw up your hands and say "There's no way to safeguard this system! Let's keep using the social security number!"

 

At the very least, using another identifier will slow down the process of identity theft. If a credit check is necessary, then do one of the following:

(1) Run the credit check without a SSN, after the customer has proven his/her identity with a government-issued document. Then create a new identifier separate from the driver's license number.

(2) If a SSN is freely provided by the customer, run the credit check in the standard manner. Then create a new identifier separate from the SSN. 

 

My point is that none of the personal information should be stored by AT&T as identifying information for a customer's account. The essence of information security is to make things more difficult for thieves, even if there is no way to make theft impossible. 

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