CHOICE membership

No mobile phone

Trying to make purchases from some organisations and attempting to register, a requirement is a mobile phone number and without a mobile phone one is unable to register or log in.
A few of these firms are JB HiFi, Bunnings, Shaver Shop.
Any solutions available?

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Welcome to the community @red-jos1

Sadly, not that I have found.

Since the need for a mobile is pervasive and getting more so, consider a cheap outright mobile and a 1 year expiration SIM w/unlimited calls and texts as well as some data, such as Aldimobile’s $99 value pack (when available) or similar. It also needs to be written that some of us, me included, has terrible mobile coverage even in suburban Melbourne, let alone out in the regions. Yet I doubt many or any businesses worry too much about our problems, only their own - eg account security.

On that note, there is a topic dedicated to that.

You might find this item from Choice’s sister in the UK interesting to see how bank customers are quickly becoming marginalised there and what solutions have been offered in that market.

An option that might work is registering a family member’s mobile in your account. Codes go to that number so you need to be ‘close’ should a code get sent. Putting in anyone’s mobile as a contact in your account can become a security nightmare if you chose your ‘partner’ poorly, so keep that in mind if you decide to try it.

A last thought is to ring the companies and ask them, company by company if they have a solution for you.

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Before I had a personal mobile (only as 8 months ago), I would have to ring up each of the businesses where the account was created. They seemed to be able to do a work around for cases where an individual can’t provide a mobile phone.

The additional issue is that many log in now require two step authentication…and often receiving a verification code by text is one of the steps. It is worth seeing if they have an alternative such as receiving the code by email or landline. Some business provide these alternatives.

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If it is of interest, MyGov and the attached services such as the ATO need to make exceptions. Many of the least advantaged customers do not have mobile phone access. The system ++ (MyGov) uses a secret question and answer or a MyGov App installed from the App Store or Play Store) as the second factor authentication. Access to the ATO requires the myGov App to be used for your MyGov login if you do not have a mobile phone no.

Some services on initial setup may rely on a person to person phone contact to complete, but thereafter rely on the alternate setup. In updating my ATO linkage to MyGov, despite having a mobile and two factor authentication the ATO still needed the one to one before they provided a linking code to complete.

The reasons for retailers insisting on a mobile phone are multiple, although they could choose a similar path to MyGov. Just don’t use the same set of secret questions and answers for both. Easier said than done for multiple sites. As @phb indicated some will find a way to meet your needs, patience pending.

++ Note edits: Updated in italics.

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FWIW if one signs up for ATO online via MyGov with mobile, and then changes to the security questions option, the ATO disconnects on security grounds ! If one starts with security questions the ATO does not want to know you on MyGov. Nothing like working for or with customers. Unless this changed in the last 6 mos…

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Which makes sense because you have a mobile number. However:

Logging into MyGov offers three alternatives for the two factor authentication.

  1. Secret Q&A ( not preferred),
  2. SMS delivered security code,
  3. Mobile device delivered security code via MyGov Security App (Apple Store or Google Playstore) with internet connection.

It’s not evident if mobile device includes a Microsoft Surface or laptop type device or Cromebook, etc.

Logging into the ATO from MyGov without a mobile or SMS delivered security code.
For those without a mobile number, this ATO Q&A provides the solution.

It’s correct that if you sign into MyGov with a Secret Q&A you can not access the ATO. There is provision for which you do not need a mobile number to connect to the ATO. The ATO accepts a zmyGov account connected using option 3 and a code delivered over the web to an App on your device, which does not need to be a mobile phone. It’s restricted to those devices that can install the MyGov Code Generator App.

Refer to 1.4.2 for details on the MyGov App
https://my.gov.au/mygov/content/html/help.html#sqa

And details on setting up and using the ATO web services without a mobile number, using the MuGov App.

My error in missing the ATO restriction on the Secret Q&A Option not being available.
Until recently the wise one only needed this option for Medicare, Centrelink etc. Tasked to the Tax Accountant.

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Visit one of the many reverse phone number sites, see which numbers people have listed as pest cold callers, and choose one of those. Now, if registration needs something sent via SMS, then that will not work. If registration is via email, then who cares what the phone number is.

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Possibly the poor sod who actually has that number when all the sign ups you used for that number start SMS bombing with their marketing etc.

I’ve twice been given mobile numbers with a sad prior history.
It’s a real pain having to change your number yet again to try and escape the deluge.
Worse when it is a debt collector who keeps calling because that is all they can do.

There is no assurance as to who owns or used a particular number. Caller ID is also not foolproof?

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Once upon a time, phone numbers were quarantined prior to being reassigned to try to help prevent such problems.

It appears that they still are.

https://www.acma.gov.au/reclaim-your-phone-number-telco

I too have had problems with reassigned phone numbers. Once with a new landline service and started getting abusive calls from people trying reach the previous user of the number, and another with a mobile number. It is a pain. So, my suggestion in this particular forum (and I admit it is not ideal, but serves the purpose) was to find a number used by known scammers or cold callers, and use that rather than use some random number if registration for a Web site obligates a mobile number.

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I am not sure if this is a wise suggestion. Often mobile numbers are used for account verification when password is forgotten, and a scammer could use this to gain easy access to one’s account. All the scammer needs is one text, and it pròvides the key to open the door for them. It is a bit like posting a scammer your house keys with your name only…all the scammer needs is your address an they are in. Any losses eventuating under such circumstances may become a personal liability/risk.

One would be far better asking a good friend/family member one can trust to use their mobile number…if it is impossible to get a workaround from a business where notionally a mobile for account creation is required.

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That is indeed a risk, although cold callers and scammers are shape shifting beasts as they need to continually change numbers as people start blocking them.
Also more and more online sites are moving to two factor authentication via mobile number SMS for verification for logon (mygov is one) and others for changes to profile details or forgotten logon details. Maybe the only inevitable option to engage in online services is to have a mobile phone and number and that is what has to be.

I understand that one can chose ‘secret questions’ rather than mandatory mobile verification codes. For many years this is how I gained access before (recently) having a mobile. Having a mobile is easier.

Again, one just needs to contact the MyGov helpdesk. Looking online this alternative non-mobile option may still exist.

As outlined above, contact the business/organisation as most have workarounds for those without mobiles. It does takes additional effort but usually there are alternative solutions.

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One will quickly discover the MyGov helpdesk can only help with technical problems about the account. Not the account because they are ‘behind the vale of privacy’ and cannot see in. Been there. MyGov told me I needed to work it out with the ATO, and the ATO told me it was a MyGov problem. The solution is sometimes a new MyGov account!

That is correct, so long as one does not want to connect to the ATO, although as @mark_m previously posted, there is also a MyGov ‘secret code number generator’ application that runs on android and IOS, so technically you do not need a phone IF you have one of those OS’s on a device connected to the internet. So a tablet? The phone gets easier and easier in comparison to the alternatives, but alternatives there are 3 - questions (excepting for the ATO), mobile, or tablet (android or IOS). Does the code generator run on others? edit: (avoiding emulators like Bluestacks)

While it once was, I have not found that to be the case as time passes. Once upon a time you could select something like ‘send to email’ or ‘I did not get the code’ and it would try email. Today more and more will not entertain using email for codes.

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That remains a bold assumption.
Where is the proof the number genuinely belongs to a known scammer or cold caller?

It seems a truely very very dangerous assumption. Scammers are known to spoof numbers. Cold callers may or may not be legitimate businesses. At which point does using a number you do not have a connection to become subject to legal consequence, unintended as it may seem at the time?

It’s not what I’d suggest. The consequences are uncertain! :rage:

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Good points, and it comes down to risk tolerance. Online services are pushing us to unsecure things. Email addresses as logons, mobile phone numbers as mandatory for setting up accounts. I use my methods to thwart the baddies and the spammers, and it works for me. It may work for others, it may well not.

Whose risk tolerance? I’d be really really p’d off if some scammer was spoofing my number and then someone else came along thinking that its a scammer’s number, use it in the way you’re suggesting, and I ended up getting the calls… I think thats a terrible thing to do.

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Highly unlikely. I do call a number before using it just to make sure it has been cancelled.

To add to how it is going, today I entered the world of mobile scripts from my GP. Paper scripts remain available as an option if the chemist of choice is not yet equipped, but ‘modern’ practice sends texts with net links to QR codes. One shows the QR codes to the chemist and voila, you get your meds. NBN down? Plz come back later? Or maybe they too have their fully charged mobiles with good data plans connected into their IT systems?

There may be a time not as far off as many would like when being without a mobile will be more difficult than being without any form of ID.

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Maybe this changed? I log into MyGov, linked to the ATO, using only secret Q&A. Every time I log in, they do badger me to set up 2FA and I ignore them. I think once you do set up 2FA, you are stuck and thereafter can only use 2FA (so you are stuffed if your mobile is lost / stolen / broken / flat / changes phone number).

The underlying problem - need to have a mobile phone for everything - is indeed becoming a worse and worse problem.

Now that more carriers are supporting WiFi calling there is an outside chance that you can at least receive an SMS-delivered security code even if you can’t get mobile signal but provided that you do have a working internet connection via WiFi.

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