Opinion: Banks and Councils cause potential identity theft problems

Banks, Councils, and Government Departments are often lecturing customers about protecting against identity theft, yet they often a indirect potential cause of that threat.

Sending to Old Addresses

This one really frustrates me. When we change the postal address for one of our accounts, they almost always send a letter to our old street address. I can imagine why they think that's a sensible idea, but if we've already left that address, what they are doing is sending our private details to whoever now occupies the house.

How can that be sensible from a security point of view, in any way?

PO Boxes

Over the years, we've had a post box for most of our mail. It just makes sense because:

  • We travel quite a lot
  • Mail hanging out of a street letterbox is a clear sign that someone's away
  • It's way more secure than mail that goes to a street letterbox

And yet banks and councils so often insist on sending things to the street address. How can a dodgy mailbox on the street be a better place to send things than an Australia Post PO Box?

Australia Post PO Box Image
Australia Post PO Box Image

In some countries, PO Boxes have been used to keep things anonymous but in Australia, you have to do all sorts of identity checks to get one in the first place, so that shouldn't be an issue.

All they do by insisting on sending to street addresses is open their customers up to more chance of identity theft.  It's way too easy to steal accounts and other mail from mailboxes outside houses or apartments.

That's often all an nasty person needs to start an attack, and it's the very people who should be helping to avoid it that are causing it. These same account documents are often then the required items for proving or establishing an identity.

This is not reasonable.



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