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Comcast Asks for Your Social Security Number

Here is a nice letter we received by a woman who not only attended an identity theft speech, but works for the finest document shredding company in the world, Fellowes. Thanks for sharing your experience.

Hi John! I hope all is well!  Before I get to my experience today with Comcast, I just want to say that I’m very glad you’re continuing to partner with Fellowes as our Identity Theft spokesman. Our sales force STILL talks about your presentation from two years ago at our National Sales Meeting!! Your message definitely has an impact…

As such, here is an interesting story that happened to me earlier this afternoon, and it instantly made me think of you.  I tried to set up cable and internet services through Comcast on their website, and at the end of the set-up sheet they inform you that you must “chat” online with one of their analysts in order for them to process your service request.  Which is obnoxious, but apparently necessary.

So I wait my turn in the queue and then the analyst starts asking me some additional questions that weren’t captured in the initial service request.  Things like: do I have any questions, is this the service I wish to activate, what is my Social Security number.  Of course, I did NOT give it out!  The analyst gave me the standard assurance that it was company policy, and they would never give out my information.  But I could NOT believe they had a live person ask for it in the first place!  The first thing that went through my mind was your “Think Like a Spy” motto—honestly, what would prevent someone from just writing that number down off the screen as I gave it out??  Not to mention the fact that all of those chat conversations are probably logged, for quality assurance purposes.  So who knows how many people have access to that data.

Their solution to me not providing my SSN?  Driver’s License number and birthdate.  To a live stranger on the other side of the screen.

Needless to say, my skin was crawling by the end of the session.  I can only image the number of people that give away their info without even batting an eye. I’m still disturbed by it, and I’m actually tempted to write Comcast a little note telling them as much.

I’m not sure how many other companies have people set up services this way, so if you haven’t heard of this scenario before, it might be something to look into!  Here’s hoping this is not a wide-spread practice…

Unfortunately, asking for your Social Security number when it isn’t actually needed is a very common practice. You can avoid Comcast identity theft. The answer? Don’t give it!

John Sileo is an an award-winning author and keynote speaker on identity theft, internet privacy, fraud training & technology defense. John specializes in making security entertaining, so that it works. John is CEO of The Sileo Group, whose clients include the Pentagon, Visa, Homeland Security & Pfizer. John’s body of work includes appearances on 60 Minutes, Rachael Ray, Anderson Cooper & Fox Business. Contact him directly on 800.258.8076.