ID as in idiot

July 14, 2008

The opposite of Identity Theft is perhaps Identity Neglect. This occurs when people ignorantly or deliberately leave parts of their identity lying around for other people to find and use.

The most public example of Identity Neglect in the UK recently was a celebrated journalist who was trying to show that personal data loss was not a big problem. He published his name and bank details in a newspaper, to prove that there was nothing to worry about because financial institutions had robust security measures in place… Within 48 hours someone had anonymously set up a bank payment from his account to a major charity (and that was just the part of the story he chose to tell us about).

But small examples of Identity Neglect happen all the time. People still throw away credit card statements, household bills and bank statements unshredded in their household rubbish. People still give out their credit card details, name and address over the phone in public places…

On Friday I was coming home on the train, sitting near a woman with a mobile phone. She was in the process of selling or letting her flat in Glasgow. Her estate agent had left her a message to ask if he/she could bring round some prospective clients to view the flat on Monday (today).

Somewhere between Dunblane and Stiring, she rang the agent back and in a very LOUD VOICE clearly stated her name, the address of her flat and then went on to explain that she was going away for the weekend and would then be away for the next 10 days, so the flat would be empty. She was at pains to emphasise her concern that the clients viewing the flat should be accompanied (from which I surmised that she had items of value in the flat).

At this point she lost the signal on her phone. So she had to ring back.

It took two attempts for her to get back through to the right person, during which she repeated her name and address twice more….Just in case there was a burglar in the carriage who had been a bit slow in noting down the precise details. She ended the call by reminding the agent how long she would be away leaving the flat empty.

I hope she is not insured with us.

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3 Responses to “ID as in idiot”

  1. ila Says:

    Nice example. Years before I read in an article stating not to wear the ID cards out of office. Since it gives the identity to buglers…


  2. :-))))) would people be so careless ?!?!

  3. nitin Says:

    Haha, smart observation! u know, some like to flaunt if they have it 😉


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