I just bought my new cell phone the other day. Well … I ordered it. I’m buying a new Nokia E70, and I bought it directly from Nokia. Well … from Nokia’s distribution partner LetsTalk.com. There are two things that really struck me about the purchase … one was the “Identity Leakage” that I am detecting about myself … the other was their customer service. Both were impressive.
Identity Leakage? What is that? Well … it’s all of the information about me that is leaking out all over the place. And the slow accumulation of my leaked identity by various organizations that provide services based on that identity information. Nokia uses a company that is busy slurping up all of my leaked identity … and yours too! How did I experience this? Well upon completion of my purchase of the phone, I received an e-mail indicating that I had to call into their offices to complete my sale.
When I called the 1-877-xxx-xxxx phone number I spoke with a customer service rep who indicated that I was going to have to answer three questions to verify my identity, and to receive my phone. I started to think about the experince that I had on-line with Tiger Direct that was similar … and it ended up being identical.
First, the customer service rep asked me “Which of the following vehicles have you bought or sold recently?” She then listed five vehicles … and the sixth choice “None of the listed vehicles.” The funny thing is that the third vehicle she listed was my truck … exact year, make, and model.
Second, the customer service rep asked me “What counties have you bought or sold property in?” … and listed 5 or 6 county names several of which I had no idea. But of course, again, one of the last counties that she listed was one where I have bought both a house, and a building.
The third question was to “Please identify the name of a friend or family member.” … after which she read the names of 5 or 6 people … none of which I recognized … followed by the option to indicate that I didn’t know any of these people. I told her that I didn’t recognize any names, and she then said that I had answered the questions correctly.
Now I do have to mention that when I saw this on-line with the Tiger Direct system, when they listed names of friends or family I *did* see my sisters married name.
Through public records (vehicle registration, property title registrations?) companies are able to begin to assemble a lot of my identity. My involvement in public activities allows my identity to “leak”. It’s not a far leap to see where this will continue to go …
P.S. Th other part of my story … about their customer service? When I bought the phone on Friday it was ~$460.00 … by Monday after they shipped the phone the price dropped to ~$400.00 … and so on Tuesday morning I called to see what they would do about it. The customer service rep immediately asked if I had got the e-mail. Well … I was on the phone driving to the office, so no … I had not yet seen an e-mail. He indicated that an e-mail had already been sent Tuesday morning indicating that I’d get the $60 refund. They had already covered me with some sort of price-protection. Nice.