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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 verizon.com 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

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