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Security Response

So Wait, Where Do You Live?

Created: 22 May 2007 07:00:00 GMT • Updated: 23 Jan 2014 18:49:21 GMT
Ron Bowes's picture
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A few months ago, I moved out of my home town in search of greenerpastures. In doing so, I called every company I could think of whomight have my previous address. And that was a lot of calling - thesedays, it seems like changing a home address is as difficult as changingan email address!

After I arrived, I bought a lot of stuff online. I purchasedeverything from books and movies to show tickets from major onlineretailers. I made every transaction with my credit card, and everythingwas shipped to my new address. I didn't have any problems - at first -all I needed was my credit card information and everything was shippedwhere I asked it to be shipped.

Recently, however, I purchased a new hard drive from a localcomputer store. Since it's on the far side of the city, I opted to haveit shipped rather than pick it up. This morning, I received an emailsaying that they wouldn't accept the order because my shipping addressdidn't match the address on my credit card. So I called my bank andsure enough - I forgot to change my address!

From the perspective of somebody in the security business, that wasshocking. If a criminal has my credit card number, he or she only hasto place an order from a major online retailer and have the itemsshipped anywhere. A local company, on the other hand, actually flaggedthis problem. That's scary!

It is possible that a criminal, in that situation, could do what Idid: call the bank and ask them to change the account's address. Withthe proper information, that may not even be especially difficult.However, at that point, the criminal has to make actual contact withthe bank, which is much more risky than having a package shipped to apotentially anonymous address.

I hope that the large companies will, in this case, learn somethingfrom the little guy. I want to ensure that if somebody manages to stealmy credit card number, they have the highest chance possible of gettingcaught, and the ability to ship items anywhere doesn't provide thatopportunity.

As always, you should keep an eye on your credit card statements,and report any unusual activity immediately. Nobody can protect youfrom fraud every time, and when prevention fails, detection is the nextbest thing.