Mercury Energy changes sign-up process following identity theft case

A New Zealand energy company has had to make changes to their sign-up process after a man they believed owed them $1,500 was actually the victim of identity theft.

Dale Scott was mystified when he was told he’d failed to pay his bills with Mercury Energy. Source: Fair Go

Dale Scott was contacted by a debt collection agency on behalf of Mercury Energy who said he owed the company $1,500, but Mr Scott had never signed on with them and quickly discovered not only had his identity been stolen, but it was fairly easy for others to repeat the crime on unsuspecting victims.

All the thief would need was a full name and date of birth - nothing else.

Mr Scott says with how technology is today, and information like names and birth dates readily available on social media and other Internet sources, filling out those requests is not a difficult mission.

Since the debacle, Mercury Energy has implemented changes that will now see them ask for formal identification during the sign up phone call which will be followed up when a spokesperson visits the property and insists on checking the ID with the customer.

Mercury Energy is not the only major company to have issues with identity theft, with an identical complaint involving a major phone company also recently surfacing.