I have opted to receive my Vodafone phone/data bills on my email. That means Vodafone will not deliver a colourful envelope full of promotions to my (physical) mailbox every month. There are a plenty of people who continue to receive paper bills and I have no problem with that. My decision to opt for an email statement has more to do with my fear of having to dispose the stack of paper they’d mail me otherwise. Every month. Email statements are easier to handle. I could save them to my Google Drive or Dropbox neatly in a folder. It would be handy for anyone who gets their bills reimbursed.

Now here is the problem. Vodafone insists on password protecting the PDF statement. Mind you, this is the same statement they have no problem sending out over normal post into the big bad world before it reaches your fairly insecure mailbox. Your parents, siblings, maid, anyone could look into its contents. But when they send you the statement on your personal email – the email that you have to access using a username and a password, which, presumably, you don’t share with your family – they password protect it.

And here is the funnier part. What is the password to this document of supreme confidentiality? I’m quoting from the body of the email they send me every month:

Your Vodafone Ebill now comes in a password protected PDF format. Feel free to view this file, save it for future reference or even print copies if need be. You will require an 8 character password to open this file. The password for opening the PDF is combination of the first 4 letters of the name in which your connection is registered (in lower case) as it appears on your Vodafone Ebill (ignore spaces in the name, if any) and the last 4 digits of your Vodafone number.
For example:
If your name is Suresh Gandhi and your Vodafone number is 9XXXXX8008, then your password will be sure8008
If your name is S.K Gandhi and your Vodafone number is 9XXXXX8008, then your password will be s.kg8008 
If your name is S gAndhi and your Vodafone number is 9XXXXX8008, then your password will be sgan8008
If your number is registered in the name of your company - Communications ltd and your Vodafone number is 9XXXXX8008, then your password will be comm8008.

So, anyone who knows my name and phone number can technically open this file and look into the shameful details of my wireless communications! Eww. Right?

I feel exactly the same way about bank and credit statements being password protected. They are being sent to my mail Goddammit! I even have the Two Step Authentication set up with my Gmail! You do too right? You really should.

4 thoughts on “Why Password Protect Phone Bills?

  1. Accha, tui slightly late on the wagon. Ami assume korechhilam tui onekdin dhorei e-bills etc. receive korchish (gacch bnachao, etc.). Aircel ebill niley free itemised bill ar 1 ghonta free talk time deye. eta jodio tor post er mul boktyobbyo noy. password protection ta ekta neither-here-nor-there-type situation, eta amio agree kori. either they should let you create your own password through their site, or make it less easy-to-crack in other ways.

  2. I still receive them the old way. Been planning to go green for quite sometime, blame it on laziness. Had no idea about the password protected thing. This is downright insane!

    Nice to see your new blog address and the fresh look :)

  3. @The Fool on the Hill:
    Actually, I have been using e-bills for almost four years now. I enabled it on my Calcutta connection after I came back from Madras. And my problem is not the strength of the password, but the necessity of it. A phone bill being sent on my email does not need to be password protected, since no one but me can view it.

    @Nipon:
    Oh I am not big on the whole ‘going green’ thing. But I do think that paper bills are a waste of a lot of resources (paper, ink, the effort required in delivering it to your doorstep, etc).

    Yes, the blog revamp was long overdue. Thank you =)

  4. I shifted from post paid to prepaid for the same reason. Very difficult to open bills and pay them. No other operator in India gives such a tough encryption on bills. Technically no one else wants to pay my bills.

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