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General Chat Thread, Royal Mail 'track and trace' - a word of caution? in General; Just checking on a letter I sent using the "signed for" service with Royal Mail, and was pleased to see ...
  1. #1
    theeldergeek
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    Royal Mail 'track and trace' - a word of caution?

    Just checking on a letter I sent using the "signed for" service with Royal Mail, and was pleased to see it had arrived.

    On further investigation, I noted that there was also a 'proof of delivery' button next to the confirmation, so I clicked it.

    I was then presented with a nice copy of the person who signed for it signature, along with his printed name, and the company name.

    The signature is an image that could be easily copied and used fraudulently, perhaps by a disgruntled ex-employee, or someone who just happens to know who the signatory is and bears a grudge. It wouldn't take much imagination by a determined enough individual who needed to get hold of a signature.

    Personally, I would not want my signature to appear online like that, and I have a feeling Royal Mail haven't asked that guy if he minded either.

    It's probably a mountain and molehill scenario, but for me, I don't much like the idea. I thought i'd mention it here in case any of you folk sign for 'stuff' and perhaps aren't aware your signature could potentially be available online.

  2. #2

    Andrew_C's Avatar
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    I'd not thought of that scenario; doesn't make much difference as I cannot sign those damned things. Looks nothing like my sig!

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    Michael's Avatar
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    I have to admit my 'digital signature' looks nothing like the real one. Those things aren't that accurate. Plus don't you need to enter your rather long tracking number starting GBxxxxxxxxxx before you can get access to signature information?

  4. #4
    theeldergeek
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael View Post
    I have to admit my 'digital signature' looks nothing like the real one. Those things aren't that accurate. Plus don't you need to enter your rather long tracking number starting GBxxxxxxxxxx before you can get access to signature information?
    The picture in this situation is a scan of a real signature. It is not a signature made on a hand-held delivery recorder. Royal Mail still get customers to sign a book, or on a delivery slip in pen, at least they did in this case, and they certainly do when I have received goods in the recent past.

    As for getting the number, yes that is required, but, if you were the sender of said item, and knew it was likely to be signed for by A N Individual in particular, you would then have what you needed, if you were that way inclined.

    It doesn't take much for someone intent on identity theft to become the sender.

    Like I say, probably mountains and molehills, but a heads up just the same methinks.

  5. #5

    maniac's Avatar
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    Signatures are a poor form of identity confirmation anyway, mine never looks the same twice ever. I frequently used to sign totally differently when you used to sign for Debit card transactions, never ever got questioned about it once.

    I guess my point is if someone was going to steal your identity, stealing your actual signature is probably the least of their problems, they would just make one up and use it and no one would be any wiser.

    Mike.

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    I use a different signature for signing for deliveries than for signing contracts. I also use a made up mother's maiden name when it's asked for security reasons, and when asked to make up my own security question, I make it the name of a sibling who does not exist.

    Am I paranoid? Perhaps, but remember it's not paranoia if they're really out to get you.

  7. #7
    theeldergeek
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    Quote Originally Posted by maniac View Post
    Signatures are a poor form of identity confirmation anyway, mine never looks the same twice ever. I frequently used to sign totally differently when you used to sign for Debit card transactions, never ever got questioned about it once.

    I guess my point is if someone was going to steal your identity, stealing your actual signature is probably the least of their problems, they would just make one up and use it and no one would be any wiser.

    Mike.
    Focusing on the "mine never looks the same twice" scenario is fair enough, and applies moreso if you sign a hand-held electronic device I would say. However, my signature is much the same wherever I sign (save those hand-held things) and I also have a very distinctive signature which is undeniably mine.

    For me, I think the problem is I'm not entirely happy with it being available for download via Royal Mail's web site without my explicit permission.

    In future, I will of course simply place my 'mark' and not my signature.

    A signature of course doesn't have to be handwritten, it can be an electronic version, such as a Fax; I even use a scan of my signature to 'sign' letters I type out on my computer (encrypted file on my machine and only held in one place, no backups!)

    So if getting an actual signature is desired rather than making one up (which might be recognised as a fake) then this is one potential way to do it.

    And how many times do we hear "well, you did sign the contract", or, "it's in the terms and conditions which you signed"... it might be a poor form of identity confirmation, but as it stands, it is a perfectly acceptable and legally binding one. I recently replaced my car on little more than a signature.

    Incidentally, I have been a victim of identity theft, to the tune of several 1000's, which took months to sort out and lot of worry. They had my name, address and credit card number at the very least. I still don't know how. We shred and have shredded all our waste post for years now, so I suspect it was all done digitally, online, despite my efforts to thwart such with 'anti this' and 'anti that' software installed along with my own vigilance.

    You'll understand me being somewhat cautious then perhaps?

    However, like I said, for some this is mountains and molehills, but for others, like me, it is a concern and I felt it was worth highlighting.

  8. #8
    theeldergeek
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    Quote Originally Posted by AngryTechnician View Post
    I also use a made up mother's maiden name when it's asked for security reasons, and when asked to make up my own security question, I make it the name of a sibling who does not exist.
    Good idea that, i hadn't thought of that!

    Am I paranoid? Perhaps, but remember it's not paranoia if they're really out to get you.

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