Just the other day I received a statement from a former brokerage company that I used ever so infrequently and it showed I had a balance of 59 cents. Woot, I'm rich. It must have been left over change I had when I sold some Vonage shares for a small skim latte at Starbucks (BTW - Vonage closed yesterday at $2.15. Oh - and I'VE NEVER OWNED A SHARE OF THAT WASTE OF A STOCK CERTIFICATE COMPANY) One of things that annoyed me was that this company included my full account number on the statement. Talk about opening up a fraud opportunity. So, what did I do? Called them up and told them to close my account and put me on their do not mail list. Seems simple enough, right?
Wrong. I received a letter a week ago that had my account number on it. This letter was not to inform me that the account was closed. Nooooo that would be too convenient. This letter was to inform me that they've been trying to deliver an email confirmation of my 59 cent stock sale and have been unable to send me the confirmation because the email address they had on file was old. Geniuses. Of course my full account number was on the letter.
So once again I had to call in and explain to these people to stop sending me mail especially with my account number on them. Their explanation - of course the form letter. It was automatically generated.
Oh these companies will tell you when you are the victim of fraud that they "somehow broke into our system and stole records" or "we're sorry we had a laptop stolen with your customer data on it" and that they are victims themselves. Fact is they are too cheap to prioritize something that a) costs them money b) involves their least friendly customer communication - bills and notifications and c) generates them no money or retention at all. Seriously, how hard is it to XXXX a bunch of your numbers out anyway? Do you really remember your brokerage or credit card account numbers? Shouldn't these all be eliminated from paper communications?
I think the answer is yes and until the Government does something these companies will have no incentive to change. Seriously how hard is it for someone to go through your mail and look for bank and account statements? Pretty easy since their branding logo is stuck right smack at the top of that plain #10 envelope.