Why a slip of the hand could cause havoc for us all – especially if you're called Jacqueline

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We’ve all been there: you’ve been on hold to a call centre for half an hour and you finally get though to a ‘call operator’ only to spend the next ten minutes saying: “Alice. Yes, Alice with an ‘a’. No, not ‘Alex’, ‘Alice’. A-L-I-C-E. As in the Wonderland character.” You get the picture.

Whilst this is all very time-consuming and extremely frustrating, it’s now emerged that having your name spelt incorrectly by a call centre worker could actually have disastrous consequences.

A small typo can mean banks can’t match you with your accounts and applying for a loan becomes a nightmare because your identity, address and previous employment can’t be verified. It’s well known that some individuals deliberately misspell their names to stop agencies matching them to their details – now it seems that call centres are giving them a helping hand in this. The repercussions could be huge.

The results of the research revealed that ‘Jacqueline’ was the most commonly misspelt English name, with over 800 variations recorded. Other frequent mistakes occurred with Elizabeth, Patricia and Deborah – it seems people with three or more syllables in their name have nowhere to hide!

I’m now off to change my name – hopefully ‘Bob’ shouldn’t cause too many problems!