Asking for paper that people no longer possess
to prove they live at their address

Please upload proof of address, they ask. But how?

Twice in the last month, I’ve been asked to provide proof of my address by showing someone an “official” document that has my address printed on it.

Usually when this happens, you’re asked for a bank statement, or utility bill, something like that.

I suppose the thinking is that if a bank or a large commercial organisation is visibly contacting you at an address, that’s enough to prove that you actually live there. The officialdom of a logo from your bank or phone line supplier is a standard you can be measured by: you, a humble not-bank, or not-company.

Leaving aside how easy it would be to fake a document like this (I mean, I’m not very good at anything Photoshoppy but blimey, it would be pretty darned simple), there’s another problem that’s getting worse: actually having any paper to show people.

I do all my banking online now, so I don’t have any recent statements.

I pay all my bills online too, and paper bills were long ago replaced by documents I can see on the web.

Consequently, I’m running out of pieces of paper that prove where I live. I suspect I’m not the only person in this position, not by any means.

Organisations! Institutions! You need to notice this. You need to check your internal processes, and re-think the ones that rely on someone seeing an (easily faked) scan or photocopy of a paper document that fewer and fewer people are going to have available.

Maybe even re-think whether or not you actually need proof of someone’s address at all? Just a thought.

Filed under: notes
(15 July 2021)