Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Identity Verification ... by Tiger Direct

A few weeks back I made an on-line purchase - for the first time - with Tiger Direct. When completing the purchase - a $3000+ Plasma Display for a client - I was really surprised when I was presented with a notification that I was going ot have to answer some questions to verify my identity!

Ok . .. so I was thinking some steps ... but never would have imagined what I was going to see. I was presented with a page that appeared to contain an iFrame, and it suddenly filled with a set of three multiple-choice questions. As I read the questions ... I was shocked.
  • The first question had my city name - Heber City, Utah - and it asked me to pick which street address was in that city. It listed four street addresses ... and sure enough one was for another property that I own. Uh ... ok ... kinda' weird.
  • The second question? This is the one that got me. It asked me to identify the name of someone that I know ... and listed four names. The second name ... was the married name of my younger sister. No way.
  • The third question showed a street address ... and asked me to identify the city that the street was in. I immediately recognized the street address ... but could not identify which of the four listed cities it was in ... funny ... must have been an old rental or something.
It really was a weird experience to see that type of personal detail ... being asked on a web page. Overall, I like it ... it was a cool system and I can see where it would be very tough for someone to gather those pieces of information. At the same time, it was strange to see personal information gathered in such a way.

What made me think about this tonight was when a friend indicated that he requested his annual free credit reports today. He said that the same system was used to verify his identity to request the reports ... wild.


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