Friday, November 11

Beware of Audible

Greetings. I got a weird call today and wanted to share.

I haven't used in months. Their website is certainly very doable with JAWS, however listening to audio with their Audible Player leaves a little to be desired. Plus the fact that they charge for all their content, when I can get an unlimited number of books (for a small annual fee) from Book Share.

Ever since I first got an interview from them, I've been getting emails from Audible offering me any number of free books/memberships if I will only visit their site again and get my free books, or even better, buy another book/publication from them.

Late this afternoon, I got a call on my home phone from someone claiming to be with Audible offering me 2 more free books, with no restrictions, if I will only give them my username and password. As soon as the guy took a breath and stopped, I politely refused and hung up. Then it hit me: how did they get my home number? When I register with many, but not all, sites, I will give my cell number instead of my home number. With the thinking of using a forwarding email address: at least they don't have my "real" number or address. I reluctantly concluded that they could have looked my number up on the Internet or through directory assistance, but the question of how they got my number still lingered. After I thought about it though, I became more concerned.

I've grown up in the computer age, and have been told numerous times never to give out your password, under any circumstances. I remember hearing of a study that was done in an information technology department of a company, to see how willing people would be to give up their passwords. The study had a supposed head of the IT department, call various people that worked at the company, and for security reasons, ask the people to verify their passwords. 100% of them did, without question, probably thinking nothing of it. I'm not sure I would do the same if I were in that situation, but then you never know.

Anyway, I mention the study to ask: why would someone from Audible want to verify my username and password in order to give me free books? Wouldn't it be more pheasable for them to ask for the last few digits of my credit card I used with them, or something other than a password? I have no idea if the person actually was from Audible, but in thinking about this for the last few hours, I'm sure glad that I didn't give them any information.

Which brings me to my warning: I don't know if any of this is specific to Audible, and I'm certainly not intentionally wanting to draw any business away from them, however, beware if anyone calls asking for any of your account passwords from specific websites. You never know who's out there these days.

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