Why does Verizon care where I’ve lived?

I saw a posting today for an inhouse commercial counsel at Verizon Wireless. This would be an interesting job, lots of commercial contracts, some domain specificity, and it’s not terribly far from home.

But I started filling out the online application (again asking for username and password — really? Why does my password to the job application webapp require at least one letter and number? Am I in danger of being hacked and losing all my data?) and got very quickly turned off. I filled out my address (since most such webapps are really just private label versions of third-party software, I assume that the software would later be able to read my resume and guess at my address — why make me type it at all upfront?). But there was an additional field asking how long I’d lived at that address. Okay, whatever, 1-2 years (I think I moved about 18 months ago).

And then a new field pops up — it asks me for SEVEN years of address history. WTF? I’ve never been asked about that length of time for where I’ve lived that didn’t involve a specific moral character inquiry (namely the three state bar exams I’ve taken) or a security clearance (entering the Army and becoming an officer with my old SECRET clearance).

Why the heck would they care about this? It sounds like a scheme to track down people who might owe them money but nevertheless are applying for jobs there. This theory reminds me, now that I think of it, of an article I read recently about Target/Wal-Mart finding that some large percentage, 10-20%, of job applicants had been tossed out of the store for shoplifting or similar problems — maybe Verizon’s on to something. I just know that I don’t want any part of it.