Message sent to:
- Corporate Executive Customer Relations Cablevision
- Executive Director of White Plains Cable TV
|to:||Thomas Hagzan |
"James D. Kenny"
|date:||Wed, Jun 17, 2015 at 10:08 AM|
|subject:||Service denied without Social Security number.|
Just got a call from a Cablevision sales person who stated that it's needed for a soft credit check and for me to qualify for a new customer promotion of lower charges.
I had spoken to Cablevision executive Thomas Hagzan the day before and he said that I would be contacted by a person from Cablevision's sales team. That person was polite but firm that I must provide my Social Security number. I declined again. At the end of the call I was thanked for choosing Cablevision. I do not recall hearing the perfunctory "this call may be recorded for quality purposes".
Ironically, when I tried to switch to Cablevision in January I had foolishly provided my Social Security number but Cablevision did not realize that when I tried again in June and I had forgotten. The reason I did not actually get Cablevision service in January was that the installer had my address as being in Ossining, not White Plains. I have never lived in Ossining. When I mentioned this to Thomas Hagzan two days ago he was able to view my Social Security number on his internal Cablevision computer screen. I asked him to delete it and he did on the screen. Whether that deleted it from Cablevision databases is unknown.
I emphasized to him that it was bad enough to enter one's Social Security number on a computer screen but that I am blocked from applying for Cablevision service on its website, maybe because of the Cablevision screw up in January. Telling a Cablevision sales person my Social Security number on the phone is that much worse. Now for sure that individual knows it along with all the personal information that Cablevision requires, including means of payment. And how long had that person worked at Cablevision and how much longer would the employment last?
This week I also received a call from the someone in the office of Nita Lowey, my representative in the House of Representatives; that person contacted Cablevision on my behalf trying to provide constituent service and help me get service from Cablevision.
The point here is simple. Are private companies collecting the Social Security numbers of individuals along with other personal information that could easily lead to identity theft? This seems especially serious if communications companies like Cablevision are doing this since they provide vital communications that should be treated as a fundamental utility.
The previous posts on this blog also deal with this subject and should be read for additional context.
To regulators, legislators and law enforcement people: what are your positions on this?