We all know that there are companies out there sucking up consumers’ information and selling it — sometimes to people or entities they shouldn’t — but what no one really knows is exactly who has that data. While there are a few ways for consumers to check activity data on specific sites, there’s no catch-all resource for people to go to and see what their name/info is up to. The Federal Trade Commission wants to change that with a “Reclaim Your Name” proposal. [More]
Things get returned to retailers and sent back out to other customers. It happens. What isn’t supposed to happen is that one customer gets the item with all of the personal information of the person who returned it. That’s what happened to reader Justin when he bought some luggage for his wife from o.co, the retailer formerly known as Overstock.com, that had a tag filled out with the information of a stranger. [More]
We all know (or should know) by now that there’s a whole lot of information about us floating out there on the Internet. Companies like Facebook, Twitter, Google and others are busy collecting that info from data brokers and using it in ways seen and unseen. But it’s hard to put a finger on just what about you these companies have, something a new bill called the Right to Know Act is seeking to change in California. [More]
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.”