See Everything Your Friends And Neighbors Have Ever Bought At Sears

Want to see all the major appliances and repair services that your friends and neighbors… (and anyone else who you can look up in the phone book) have ever purchased at Sears?

Want to know what your mom might have purchased for your birthday? Want to know which houses in your neighborhood have really nice expensive TVs?

Sears provides a website, where anyone can look up anyone elses’ entire purchase history at Sears—using only their name and address. This is especially convenient because these strange men keep dropping off huge lists of names and addresses on our door every year (we think they’re called “phone books”) and we never really knew what to do with them.

Apparently, all you need to do is create an account at, click “Find Sears Products” and enter a name, address and phone number.

From the CA Security Advisor Research Blog:

With their consent we have tested this technique with other individuals and have received reliable results every time. If they’d had major dealings with Sears, that information is now available to the public, from a television bought in 1978 to a stove which was purchased elsewhere but had been repaired by a Sears technician.

Says Kurt, the reader who sent this tip in: “I was able to look up my entire family’s purchases. This is a scary one.”

Is Sears evil or what?

UPDATE: Rumor has it that all you really need is someone’s name and phone number.


Edit Your Comment

  1. emona says:

    Wow. Very, very, very bad idea.
    Is there a way to opt-out? Please tell me there’s a way to opt-out.

  2. Electroqueen says:

    Indeed they are evil. First that spyware, now this. What the hell are they doing?

  3. unklegwar says:

    Good thing they don’t have a Craftsman line of adult items. How embarrassing.

    Tho, if they did, would they carry lifetime replacement?

  4. Murph1908 says:

    Where do I sign up for the class action?

  5. kilrathi says:

    I attempted to reproduce this, and am unable to. I followed the linked blog’s instructions to no avail. Anyone else have any luck?

  6. Charles256 says:

    I don’t think this is a thing of being evil. Sounds like an oversight to me. It was a well intentioned device that they simply did not think through. I’d be surprised to see it up in a month. (If it is up in a month I retract my not evil comment )

  7. SVreader says:

    Wow. What a bad, bad idea. Beacon levels of badness, maybe more.

  8. snoop-blog says:

    i would just not give them my address or name. then what? i’ve bought things from their before, and never ended up in their list. i think its because i paid cash and don’t give any personal information to a cashier.

  9. tankitore says:

    I am a bit confused. Can you view other people’s purchases even if they haven’t signed up? I wonder because, reading the privacy policy, you agree to share your personal information. Check it out.

  10. homerjay says:

    @quarterly: There’s an option to opt-out. Don’t shop at Sears. Or at least falsify the info you give them.

  11. Hoss says:

    clearly the programmers didn’t think this through. but really, you’d need a strange mind and lots of free time to start researching people’s name, address, phone number, etc., all required fields — to get to know what the neighbor paid for the new snow blower.

  12. snoop-blog says:

    one MORE reason to never shop at sears.

  13. snoop-blog says:

    @homerjay: beat me to it!

  14. Bay State Darren says:

    As a career burglar, this looks very useful to me. For instance: I onw know that Mr. Benjamin Popken of [ADDRESS REDACTED -editors] has purchased all of the latest in home appliances. I certainly intend to make effective use of this information. Thanks, Sears!

  15. vliam says:

    @Bay State Darren: I had the same thought. Why take chances selected a house that may not contain anything of value?

    This is one of the worst ideas ever.

  16. SVreader says:

    @Hossofcourse: “you’d need a strange mind and lots of free time to start researching people’s name, address, phone number, etc., all required fields”

    And that’s why this site unsettles people.

  17. jamesdenver says:

    yeah for expensive home theatre stuff that is a potential burglar.

    But unless you’re having it delivered – why would anyone (at least us) volunteer their home address?

  18. MercuryPDX says:

    I signed up just to see what’s in there, and the site is painfully slow. I wonder if it’s being DoS’d or if it’s an intentional part of the Sears Customer Service Experience.

  19. snoop-blog says:

    so since sears owns k-mart, i wonder if they’ll be next, or if their information is already on there.

  20. SadSam says:


    I don’t think you have to volunteer your address, if you pay by debit or credit card they’ve got your address.

  21. What The Geek says:

    being able to process returns w/ a name and phone number – good idea

    being able to look at strangers’ shopping habbits w/ a name and phone number – bad idea.

  22. What The Geek says:

    @snoop-blog: I worked at sears for a while, and it was my understanding that Kmart had been switched over to Sear’s POS system (for the most part) so it would be fair to say that there’s a fair chance that this applies to Kmart as well.

  23. ClayS says:

    @Bay State Darren:

    I’m a professional burglar as well, and I use the database to look up potential targets. But I try to avoid those households with a lot of Sears products. I prefer to go after higher-end type household goods.

    Will I see you at the next National Convention of Theft Professionals?

  24. starrion says:

    Apparently my parents have purchased many many things at Sears.

    This is very bad.

  25. savvy999 says:

    Anyone who wants to look up my info, break into my house, and take my Kenmore dishwasher can have it.

    The original article brings up an excellent point, that knowing such details about a particular model or brand of appliance inside a home would automatically lower an owners’ guard and the potential for a social engineering scam is great.

    “surely if they know what oven I have, this *must* be Sears on the phone asking for my credit card!”

  26. Wrathos says:

    This is horrible. Is it CEO eblast time?

  27. pepe the king prawn says:

    i recently bought a garage door opener at sears (it was on sale). i was asked for my name, address, and phone number for the “warranty purposes.” i told the cashier that the receipt was good enough to prove i bought it there. she said “no it isn’t.”

    so, calmly, i gave her:
    herman munster
    1313 mockingbird ln
    mockingbird heights, in 66600

  28. snoop-blog says:

    @pepe the king prawn: let me guess, she was too young to know anything about the munsters.

  29. misteral says:

    @Hossofcourse: Don’t blame the programmers – quite frequently they are “just following the rules”, you’d be surprised how many times management shrugs their shoulders at any problems a lowly programmer bring up, only to blame them when something like this gets out.

    (don’t mind me while i sit here patting my 4 years of email archives for that very reason…)

  30. rbb says:

    So, who’s found the purchases of the rich and famous? 1600 Pennsylvania Ave turns up zip.

  31. starrion says:

    This will be fun once it hits TV News.

  32. What The Geek says:

    see… this is what happens when a good idea goes bad. I love… LOVE. that I can go into sears to return something, and if I’ve lost my receipt (often) I can five them my name, addy, and phone number, and BAM – they’ve got it all on file.

    This right here is just stupid. It’s asking for trouble, and I have a very hard time believing this actually slipped through the cracks and into the wild.

  33. SpenceMan01 says:

    Wow. I just got the word ‘sex’ for the word verification on the search. They’re really going all out for this one, aren’t they!

  34. beavis88 says:

    @savvy999: Bingo. These types only need the tiniest crack to get in the door.

    @misteral: Damn right. What’s even scarier is when stuff like this has been through the goddamn legal department and it *still* takes a programmer working on final implementation to see a problem.

  35. jferg says:

    Looking at the site now, it looks like they’ve taken that feature off the site – it’s certainly not appearing to me as described in the writeup at CA.

  36. caederus says:

    I can’t find the feature. Did they pull it allready?

  37. What The Geek says:

    @caederus: looks like it – I was looking up my friends and relatives when the site logged me out – when I logged back in it was gone

  38. ssaoi says:

    service is now unavailable. viva la revolution!

  39. SAGA says:

    ok, never shopping at sears ever.

  40. Fist-o™ says:

    I am trying it and I do not see that option. We probably got it shut down ALREADY!

  41. Imaginary_Friend says:

    I saw this posted on arstechnica yesterday morning by the same person and nothing was done. Today, one little blurb from The Consumerist and its removed withing minutes. Impressive! Consumerist, FTW.

  42. Tankueray says:

    It ate my post.

  43. Tankueray says:

    How do I find the search page for Manage My Home online manuals?

    I am trying to find a manual for a lawn tractor but cannot seem to find “find products” in the home section of Manage My Home. How do I get to the search page?
    Expert Answer

    I am sorry if you had trouble, some Internet issues were recently resolved that may have caused your problems. The direct link to the search page is:


    It looks like they are just letting you search for your manuals now.

  44. MPHinPgh says:

    @pepe the king prawn:
    so, calmly, i gave her:
    herman munster
    1313 mockingbird ln
    mockingbird heights, in 66600

    Did she go for it? Anyone under the age of 30 might not have ever seen the show…

  45. clank-o-tron says:

    @snoop-blog: You’re never too young to know about the Munsters or the Addams Family. The value of eccentricity should be taught early.

  46. ivealwaysgotmail10 says:

    WOW….. …. WOW… simply crazy… good think sears doesnt really sell many controversial items or more people would be thinking of filing lawsuits.

  47. girly says:

    @ivealwaysgotmail10: ha, also it’s just for appliances and such.

    I did sweat a little when I read the article title that said “everything”

    I go to sears essentials for sundries–nothing scandalous, but still I was worried about seeing a nice list of personal items and such

    when I checked the site was kind of finicky and I had to put in an old area code to get it to work for my parent’s home, but nobody in my family had any items listed older than 12 years

  48. Bay State Darren says:

    Thank god Sears doesn’t have a pharmacy section.

  49. Clarkins says:

    Just tried creating an account so I can look at other folks and it stalled. I couldn’t get one created.

  50. unclescrooge says:

    I always give them the name of my imaginary childhood friend, the address of the central police station and the phone number for the theft department.

  51. krom says:

    This would have actually been sort of useful. I might have found out what model of Sears programmable thermostat is in my rental home.

  52. scoosdad says:

    @pepe the king prawn: So can we all now look up Herman Munster’s Sears purchases on this website? Can anyone check that out? I didn’t register just to go look.

  53. hurrdurr says:

    This is either no longer happening or the whole story is viral marketing by Sears to get people to sign up at this stupid website. I registered and I see no such thing. It also sounds simply too outrageous to be true. So now the only thing I’ve gotten is a new membership to this website that I will never use.

    Suspicious, isn’t it?

  54. PalmBayChuck says:

    Wow, here’s more good stuff re: Sears…


    Their application is full spyware.

  55. d_lay123 says:

    I wonder… since Sears & Big K are the same company…does the home invader that looked up my home address know that at the top of the stairs awaits my brand new Mossberg 10Ga?

  56. bombaxstar says:

    @pepe the king prawn: Sorry, but good luck getting shit done in the store if you lose your reciept.

  57. kostia says:


    It’s been turned off.

  58. point says:

    After looking at it, appears to be a site where you go and enter in all your information including all the appliances you own so you can look up manuals, order parts and service etc.

    The information comes from you. It’s not mined from credit cards or receipts. If you didn’t sign up for it then the information isn’t there.

    I love all the FUD.

    Just like the spyware; Shopping doesn’t install squat on your machine. I tried it. Nothing. The Spyware thingy is buried on some page for some option (join the community) that noone has any compelling reason to go to or install.

    Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of other reasons to not shop Sears. No reason to spin obscure technical issues to justify it.

  59. Leah says:

    Not quite as scary but odd . . .

    Sears also cross-indexes purchases. I bought a shopvac online for my dad’s birthday, and I used my parents’ address (sadly, despite the fact that I moved out two years ago, their address is still my address for my credit card and bank cards and such). Sears send me stupid online updates all the time.

    The other week, I got an email reminding me to change the filter in my fridge. Wha? I open it, and it turns out they are reminding me to change the filter in my parents’ fridge. I assume the email was b/c we live at the same address, but I still find it odd.

  60. girly says:

    @point: Yesterday I was able to use the site as people are saying (to look up purchases of any household given name, address, and phone number).

    It does look like it was taken down sometime later that day, although their help section still had mention of it. I don’t know about today.

    I didn’t input those purchases, they were there for the viewing based on warranty data, it seems. There were a dozen appliance/electronic purchases listed for one of my family members, two for me, and a handful for my parents. Some of the purchases dated back to the mid ’90s.

    It did happen, and it was a very bad idea. Good think they stopped it.

  61. girly says:

    And by the way, I input several different addresses and was able to view them all.

  62. therealbithead says:

    I attempted to replicate this and failed. I created an account, and there was no “find sears product” search link or button I could find on the site. I tried the general search (I made a recent large purchase, so I used my info) and the search yielded no results. I have to question the veracity of the consumerists claims. (I have had interactions with network architects at sears, so the claims in this article don’t surprise me).

  63. girly says:

    Search the site for “sears purchase history” and you will see two questions from their “expert help” that reference the now-missing feature.

    Here’s the text of one of them

    “How to bring up a list of my laundry appliances that I purchased at Sears?

    Please list my laundry equipment purchases and explain how I can call up a list of my Sears purchases.
    Expert Answer
    Once you have registered and logged in. Place the cursor over MY HOME and click on Getting started. Click on VIEW MY PURCHASE HISTORY.

    If you need assistance with bringing up you purchase history. Click on Contact Us at the top of the page, or email at”

    When I searched my parent’s home, it didn’t come up with anything at first. I had to put their area code from 20 years ago to get results (same home–the area code has changed twice). Of course I don’t think the feature is available anymore.

  64. parabola101 says:

    I attempted to “test” this but was unable to do so! In any case it’s still a bad idea to let a RETAIL store have access to all of your home & home furnishings inventory, contractors you’ve used, photographs of you’re stuff ect. Sears IT and greedy business teams need to go back to the “drawing room” . . .

    PS their website is not secured…

  65. girly says:

    Yeah, I thought it seemed pretty dumb to put up a picture of your house, etc…

    I’m not going to forget what my house looks like!

    I can see it now:

    phone rings

    Hello, this is sears, we noticed your siding could use an update. We called your contractor and he can offer you a great deal on installing our siding.