BUPA have now replied again, getting the point rather more than they did last time. Hopefully this has now been cleared up; the most recent reply tells me that,
BUPA does not give information to credit reference agencies, as this is unnecessary. If payment is not received after several credit control letters, the BUPA membership is cancelled.
-- which surprises me slightly, because I would have expected BUPA, as an insurance company, to try to measure and control the risk of non-payment just as it tries to measure and control the risk of its customers developing an expensive medical condition. In any case, assuming that this statement is true, it removes my major concern about the whole cock-up.
Barclaycard have also written back to me, though in this case their letter has illustrated only that you do not need to be able to read to become a `Customer Relationship Manager' at Barclaycard plc. Chris Garner writes, (punctuation as in original)
Whilst I am not aware percentage wise of how many addresses are changed fraudulently, if the figure was has high as you state, (40%) I am certain we would not use this procedure.
-- quite so. What I actually wrote was,
Signatures don't provide much security in this type of situation. According to researchers (see, e.g., Ross Anderson, Security Engineering (2001); New York, Wiley; and references therein) a failure rate of around 40% is to be expected in signature comparisons of this type. Requiring a signature at this stage does not of itself prevent fraud.
I don't in any way claim that 40% of change-of-address requests are fraudulent; rather, that simply requiring a `correct' signature to confirm a change-of-address isn't much use, because such a comparison would be expected to yield a 40% failure rate.
I cannot begin to conceive of the confusion of thought which would lead someone to read one statement and reach the conclusion above. I don't think this is worth following up.
In other news
A proposal for a new comic book: The Adventures Of Libertarian Man In The Twenty-First Century.
Like most superheroes, Libertarian Man wears his underpants on the outside of his trousers, but he has to go around like that all day, since phone boxes are an unreasonable exercise of state power (boo!). Libertarian Man does not have a sidekick. That would be gay... err, I'm sorry, I mean `collectivist'.
In each episode Libertarian Man takes on some group of statists, socialists, altruists, collectivists, or whatever -- bus passengers, charity workers, free software developers, police officers chasing a burglar, etc.; and beats them up a bit to turn them into Libertarians just like him. But after some early success, they regroup and fight him off, incidentally making him look a total ass in the process. The strip ends with a simple moral message: LIBERTARIANISM IS STUPID.