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March 31st, 2004

Verizon’s Insecurity

Yesterday I had to take care of some business with Verizon, and considering previous experiences I had with their customer service, I wasn’t expecting much. Fortunately, everything went relatively well, even though it did take three transfers and one of my issues wasn’t resolved.

But I’m not here to talk about customer service. I’m here to talk security. Verizon doesn’t really have any when it comes to protecting your account.

I realized yesterday that if you want to play a prank on someone and change their phone service, all you need is their name, address, and phone number. You don’t need to be calling from their phone, you don’t need a special password, you don’t even need to know any special account number. I envisioned a scenerio where a young rapscallion calls up Verizon and wants to change his principal’s phone service. He obviously knows the principal’s name and where he lives, but isn’t quite sure of his phone number. So, as he’s on hold waiting for a Verizon rep to help him, he goes to and uses their own lookup to find his principal’s number.

Phone service is one of those things you take for granted and with their confusing billing schedule and occasional partial-month billing, one might not realize until months later that they’ve been paying for a service they didn’t order. I think Verizon needs to do something to add another level of security, even at the risk of inconveniencing the customer (such as requiring the call to come from the phone number that’s being changed).

Now if you’ll excuse me, I think that Paul is need of home voice mail and the “works” package.

Posted in Consumer Commentary

FROM: Chris [E-Mail]
DATE: Wednesday March 31, 2004 -- 9:47:28 am
Instructions on how to mess with the nation's telecommunications infrastructure...could this be The Ping's first violation of The Patriot Act?

If you see men in dark suits at your front door - run for it!

FROM: Dave Walls [E-Mail]
DATE: Wednesday March 31, 2004 -- 10:18:09 am
I was surprised about the lack of security of Verizon even a few years ago.

My original apartment roommate in Virginia was getting married, so we had to get together to change over the utilities in my name. During the entire process, I had to take a break to use the bathroom, so I went in for, at the most, 2 minutes. The only bill remaining was Verizon. When I came out, my roommate had already transferred the bill to my name, without actually speaking to me, without having anything more than my name and address. I thought that was kind of...unusual... to switch it over to my name without speaking to me at all, or confirming anything more than my name.

For all they know, he could say "The new name on the bill should be spelled O-S-A-M-A...."

FROM: Paul
DATE: Wednesday March 31, 2004 -- 11:08:23 am
Now if you'll excuse me, I think that Paul is need of home voice mail and the "works" package.

Good luck wrangling my service away from the mass incompetency that is Qwest.

FROM: Alex C.
DATE: Thursday April 1, 2004 -- 7:56:14 am
You could forgo the legacy Bell companies entirely and get a package deal from MCI, but hey, I'm just trying to promote where I work.


FROM: Robert [E-Mail]
DATE: Saturday April 3, 2004 -- 10:58:50 am
Verizon was supposed to have installed a simple phone line for me yesterday afternoon. Instead of sending a person out to manually connect the line in the basement of my building, a job for which they insisted I have someone wait for them, they flipped a switch at a central office and decided that would be enough work. It was not. Now I'm stuck waiting until Monday when they're supposed to send some asshole out to do the job as they promised, only I can't get off work and they're no guarantee this guy will call the folks he must to get near the hook-up point.

I hate these fuckers.

FROM: matt [E-Mail]
DATE: Sunday April 25, 2004 -- 2:48:51 pm
You guys should all get away from the mess that is Verizon and check out this company called ACN, the service is stellar and less expensive as well...send me an email and i will give you all of the information. Cheers,


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