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Date of birth checking for e-purchases

I came across an interesting security check over the weekend whilst topping up my (opens in new tab) Web account.

The site, which has been running for several years, offers a variety of interesting information, such as the ability to check electoral roll information, in return for a modest payment.

I currently play £34.95 plus VAT (inevitably -Ed) for 100 search credits, which allows me to verify people on the electoral roll, as well as via Companies House information. And no, I'm not telling you why I need to check this information.

It's a useful service. So I was surprised to see my top-up request asking me for my date of birth (opens in new tab)as an extra security measure.

This info isn't normally available via plastic processing services, but, of course, has access to such data via its various databases.

Except in my case. Being the devious chap that I am, I only give my real date of birth to those organisations that really need it, such as banks and government agencies.

For everyone else I use a different DOB - which only I know. It's still a unique identifier, but it doesn't compromise the information for use when dealing with banks or government agencies.

Imagine my surprise when the Web site rejected my real DOB, but accepted my `different' one. Clearly must be tapping into some interesting databases.

I gave the helpline a call. `Aha,' said the young lady. `The DOB database isn't perfect. You need to pay by BT Click & Buy or use Paypal.'

I used Paypal (opens in new tab)...