Just as I started writing this, I read about the hack in True Caller’s website making public a lot of information about its users. While these kind of security goof ups are duly reported, there is another kind of security risk that has been growing and could balloon into something major.
Let me narrate a real life incident that happened in my home town a good 7-8 years ago. A house was burgled when a family was enjoying a holiday in Delhi. Police investigations finally revealed the burglar to be a person who used to door deliver groceries to the home every day. It seems the burglar on his regular visits had gathered about the upcoming holiday and decided to make a fast buck.
Fast forward today, and the hypermarket e-commerce has just blossomed. From food services to groceries start-up are mushrooming. Providing services to customers, these start-up also offer huge discounts and promotions to increase their customer base. Having seen how beneficial their service is, consumers return, thus making these a good business model. So then what’s the problem, one may ask. The cause for the earlier incident was because unsuspectingly personal details were known to a third person who took undue advantage of this. Similar situations are created in the usage of these hypermarkets.
The companies, who with the additional burden of discounts run with tighter margins and are always looking up for measures of cash saving. One of the easier ways is to hire easy personnel for the last mile delivery. Devoid of any back ground checks, the hiring is easier and the companies end up recruiting people who could work for less. This could lead to situations of misuse. I personally have seen people in a food delivery service who have formulated a pattern of how their regular consumers behave including their time of presence and their preference. Not for a moment am I suggesting that they are meaning any harm, or that every delivery guy is a possible suspect. What I emphasize is on how we could be staring down at something which could be avoided. And if one thinks that such fears are not validated, they should read about how leading e-commerce players are now masking customer’s contact number from the delivery distribution. (In case the person needs to contact the customers, he calls the central office who in turn routes the call). This after few cases of prank calls were registered amongst female consumers. Its better late than sorry philosophy that I am stating.
The reported cases of such nature as less, but in no terms be rejected as not probable. Steps have to ensure to eliminate the risk, no matter how rare that could be. Companies should ensure proper background checks before hiring. Periodic checks through feedbacks from customers have to be ensured. No fixed area of operation for the delivery personnel could be looked into. Customers should also be careful and inform companies at the first sign of distress. These additional safety measures could make the experience much more soothing.