Monday, February 28, 2011

Your Personal Information Isn't So Private Anymore

The other night my wife and I went to a local store that is of a party nature. They sell balloons, plates, cups, cheap little goodies to give away, basically things like that. We were there to look at stuff for our sons 4th birthday which is 2 months away and we ended up buying a couple of small items. As I went to pay the cashier asked me for my phone number and without thinking I supplied it. Next she asked me for my email address and that's where I balked. With a confused voice I said "Excuse me?" and she repeated her request. I then responded that I don't give that out and she completed our purchase without any comment being made.

That got me thinking about how these companies have gotten the general public used to the idea of giving out information that is absolutely none of their business at all. At first it was just a simple question about what your zip code was and they had to put something in in order to finish your transaction. Then it was for a phone number so that they could identify their customers and make sure they are providing the type of products that they are wanting. At least that's what they told us. Those two examples are ways that customers have gotten used to the idea of providing personal information by dressing it up to appear like the stores are trying to provide better service when the truth of the matter is much different.

This latest request shows that they no longer are attempting to hide the real reasons that they ask for this information. It's now just a mad grab for your personal information with no pretense of bettering service or identifying returning customers. No, this is all about spam. When you give out your email address with a promise that they will do nothing untoward with it you'll notice that suddenly not only do you start receiving emails from that company but many others as well. If you start receiving emails from other companies it's either because they are "partners" or simply because your information has been sold to the highest bidder.

What's even worse is when you start receiving general spam emails about sex, coffee, free Walmart gift cards, free pizza and so forth. Something that leaves even that in the dust are the emails that come from bankers or relatives of a president of a country that has died and shares your last name. All they need is for you to pretend to be a relative and they will split a large fortune with you. Merely supply them with your bank account number so that they can transfer the funds to you. Then you find that all of your own money has conveniently disappeared. This all comes from your personal information being sold.

It's sad but that's the way the world is going. Everybody is trying to make as much money as they can no matter what they have to do to get it. For me the person or company selling your personal information is the same as the person trying to scam you out of your money. There's no real difference. At least that's the way I see it.

1 comment:

Gary Rivera said...

I agree, here this problem it’s not over spreed yet.