Amex alerted to security danger

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The Independent Online
AMERICAN Express is to reconsider its security arrangements following a warning that confidential information sent through the post could be misused, writes Sue Fieldman.

Customers can log details of all their plastic cards with the American Express Card Registry Service. It notifies the relevant parties if you lose your cards or they are stolen.

Amex kindly wrote to me last week to let me know that my enrolment was due to be renewed automatically. However, was it so kind to list my passport and driving licence details, as well as the numbers of all my credit cards so that I could check there were no changes?

The letter was sent in an envelope clearly marked 'American Express Cards'. If it fell into the wrong hands, someone could use my card details to order items by telephone and have them sent in the post.

I had visions of flowers being sent to homes all over the country by someone using my card to express undying love.

Or was I over-reacting? After all, the expiry dates on my cards were not listed, and the supplier always asks for them.

However, the onus is on me to show that I did not order the items.

John Lenton, an Amex spokesman, said there had been no incidents of misuse or fraud. 'The main thing a fraudster would do is to give the envelope a quick bend to see if there was a card inside it. If we are sending cards, we do not mark the envelopes 'American Express'.

He added: 'Rather than listing all the details, perhaps we should say we have on record that you have a Barclaycard, two Gold cards or whatever, and that you should notify us of any changes.'