Telcos can prevent trickery by verifying billing address

Recently, I was shocked to learn how easily a stranger can adopt another person's address as his own, especially in the light of mistaken identities in loan-shark harassment cases.

My tenant moved out in June but I continued receiving her bills for six months, despite returning them to the telco and informing it that she no longer lived at that address.

Receiving a final reminder for payment from the telco was the last straw.

I understand that the telco would be unaware that my former tenant had moved out, if she did not inform it, but the telco could have contacted her when the bills were returned.

Instead, no action was taken.

I decided to visit the telco's customer-service centre at One Raffles Place.

The officer that attended to me said she would change the billing address, after checking with the subscriber.

But what if my former tenant insists that she's living at the same address?

Will I continue to receive her bills?

I asked the officer why no documentary proof of residential address was required, when my former tenant subscribed to a line under my address.

She merely replied that the fees are billed to the subscriber and I would not be held liable for any outstanding bills.

It seems so easy for a stranger to subscribe to a mobile-phone line using someone else's address.

With a bill from the telco, he can then visit a police post to get his residential address changed.

After his identity card has been updated to reflect his "new" address, he can borrow money from loan sharks or engage in other illegal activities, and the person living at the address - including his neighbours - could get harassed, without even knowing why.

I suggest service providers relook their procedures when it comes to new subscriptions, especially when the billing address provided does not tally with the one on the identification card.

Mr Chan Kim Heng


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