Here’s what Ted wanted. He already has an XM Radio subscription, and he wanted to buy a replacement radio. His was broken, but Best Buy carries them, and Best Buy stores are everywhere. It couldn’t be that bad, could it? Just stop in, exchange money for radio, leave, walk out. Not so fast, there, Ted: Best Buy needs your name, address, and phone number before they can sell you a radio. And they have no idea why. [More]
Someone signed up for Virgin Mobile, and used Shadee’s e-mail address by accident. She doesn’t particularly want someone else’s phone bills, so she contacted Virgin Mobile asking to have the problem resolved. They answered with a demand for her personal information: name, mailing address, and her phone number. Why do they need all of this information when she wants to get off their mailing list, not on it? So she reached out and posted on Virgin Mobile’s Facebook wall. The interactions that followed prove that while companies can assign staff to social media, it can’t make them actually listen to consumers. [More]
Allen wanted to look at a new Dodge Charger. Not test-drive it. Just look at it, and maybe check out the interior or sit inside. But the dealership he visited wouldn’t let him even look at the car without taking down his name, address, driver’s license information, and phone number. Annoyed, he left the dealership and did a Google Images search or something instead. [More]
In November, online game distributor Valve revealed that hackers breached the system. In a recent follow-up statement, Valve CEO Gabe Newell says hackers probably got a hold of transaction data, which includes encrypted credit card info and billing addresses, as well as user names and email addresses. [More]
An online gaming disagreement turned into a nightmare for a gamer who refused to do the bidding of a person he spoke to over Xbox Live. The victim alleges a rival somehow discovered his name, address and phone number, then falsely reported a murder-suicide at his home, causing a SWAT team to descend on his home. [More]
Recent and proposed changes to Facebook’s information sharing policies have Senators Franken (D-MN) and Schumer (D-NY) a little irritated. They’ve penned a letter, along with Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Mark Begich (D-AK), asking Facebook to reconsider their new opt-out procedure, and to take further steps to keep user’s personal details, such as their interests and friend lists, private unless they chose to share them. [More]
When an insurer decides whether to offer you a new policy, or whether to raise rates on a current one, he most likely pulls a CLUE report that lists any homeowner or automobile insurance loss claims (or sometimes even just inquiries) that you’ve made over the past 3-7 years. Hopefully you monitor your consumer credit report for errors, but as you can see, that’s not the only one you should keep an eye on.
Greg says he inadvertently authorized Citi to share his personal info because he applied for an online rebate. He writes:
For three years now, reports The Tennessean, the owner of a solar panel company in Indiana says “confidential medical faxes” have been sent to him by doctors throughout Tennessee. His fax number is apparently very similar to the one for the Tennessee Department of Human Services, but although he’s contacted the errant doctors’ offices, as well as reported it to the DHS and to the state’s governor’s office, they keep coming.
John Hargrave of comedy site Zug.com tracked down the personal info of Verizon’s CEO, then showed up with a bullhorn to illustrate what a lack of privacy feels like. “Ivan Seidenberg! I’m here on behalf of Verizon customers. PLEASE DO A BETTER JOB PROTECTING YOUR CUSTOMERS’ CELL PHONE RECORDS! Everyone has the right to privacy, including you Ivan! When we don’t have privacy, then freaks with bullhorns start showing up on our front lawn.”
It turns out our Social Security numbering system, which launched in 1936, isn’t very foolproof against some types of hacking. The New York Times reports that researchers at Carnegie Mellon University “used statistical techniques to predict Social Security numbers solely from an individual’s date and location of birth.”
Last week, we pointed out that even with a receipt and the product in hand, and even though you purchased it with cash the day before at the same store, Radio Shack won’t give a refund unless you give them your home address first. We got a lot of insider tips from former employees in the comments section, and the next day we received the following perspective from a Radio Shack store manager. We think his explanation still doesn’t explain why you need personal ID to refund a cash transaction when you’ve got the item and the receipt in front of you, but read on if you want an unverified store manager’s point of view.
The San Francisco Chronicle has reported that “a flash memory drive containing names, birth dates and driver’s license numbers of more than 3,500 people who either volunteered or visited San Quentin State Prison in a group tour has been lost.” Our reader Paul, who sent us the tip, adds, “When I read it my first thought was, “Gee, I wonder what the chances are of this personal data ending up in criminal hands? Mmm, maybe 100%.” Our favorite part of the story: the data wasn’t encrypted, but prison officials have said that now they’re going to start encrypting it.