Phone trouble

July 28th, 2003 § 2 comments

Last Friday I came home from work and my wife told me our phone was not working properly: we could make calls but not receive them. After some investigations, we found out that our phone number had mysteriously changed. As we hadn’t asked for such change, I called our phone operator to understand what had happened. They informed me that some woman called Marina had solicited the change. The problem is that I don’t know any Marinas.

After many phone calls to understand better what was going on, I also found out that (1) asking for any phone service is as easy as knowing the first three number of the personal ID of the line’s owner, (2) I couldn’t not recover my former number (it had already been transferred to another person), and (3) I will have to pay for the change. I can’t even prevent further changes to my phone number unless I personally go up to one of their offices to officially request that only the actual owner of the line be allowed to make service requests.

Now, it’s plain absurd that any John Doe with knowledge of your personal ID can make changes to your phone line. What if your documents are stolen, which is exactly what happened to me a few months ago? I don’t think that was what happened, since somebody wanting to cause me problems could simply have asked for something bigger, like a cancellation of the service.

I’m not sure of what I’m going to do know. I’m planning to notify some customer defense organizations and generally cause some problems for the phone company if I can. It’s simply unacceptable that a company operating across the whole country has such insecure service procedures. Anyway, anything I can do to prevent further “incidents” like that and help people to avoid them is worth trying.

§ 2 Responses to Phone trouble"

  • Eddy Young says:

    I sympathise. One early morning, just a couple of weeks after we arrived in England, my wife and I were woken up by police sirens and a bang on the front door. As I ran down the stairs, I saw two policemen in the lobby and a third police car with full sirens on stopping in front of the house. It turned out that 999 had received a call from our phone number and the call was abruptly terminated. After apologising, the policemen assured me that they would get the line fixed as soon as possible. Merely, two hours later, our phone number was restored — a much, much quicker service than I would have got from BT if I had made the request myself. What still concerns me is the fact that the real call may not have met with anyone and maybe someone died because of this fault.

  • Ronaldo says:

    Eddy, thanks for you comments. Phone lines here in Brazil are an eternal problem. Service is chronically poor, and prices are always high. I hope I can manage to solve my problem with minimum effort, but I not stake anything on it. :-)

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