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Keeping Your Personal Information Private is a Joke!

Following is a copy of a “privacy protocol” with a creditor.  The question is asked, “What does a department store do with your personal information?”  As you read this, ask yourself:
“What can be done to limit THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD from getting my Social Security number, birthdate, copy of my spending habits, income, movies I like to watch, current weight, etc.?”
Good grief! This is not only objectionable, it is down right horrible.PrivacyPolicy!
The second section of this particular privacy notice gives a phone number to call to limit what kind of information will allowed to be given out.
The next section states how they will “protect your personal information,” indicating that they will only share it with their affiliates — but their affiliates, you must assume, number into the millions.
So here’s what I think:  

  • Of those who get the notice 99% will throw it away.
  • Those who do read it will not know what to do with the information and therefore won’t do anything.
  • This creditor will then sell off your name, your address and all personal information and get 17 cents from every marketer the information goes to about 8 times a week.  Do the math and they make $17 a month profit, just for selling your valuable information.  This is so profitable that they give you “discounts” and “sales events” and “give-a-ways” to suck off all your personal information.

What Do I Do to Try to Curb this Nonsense?

  • I call right away the minute I get a notice like this to limit the sharing of my personal information.
  • I also keep track of all my junk mail, which averages  three per day.  
  • Instead of just throwing it away, which gives the sender confirmation that my address is a good one and can sell my contact information to others, I cross through my address and write “Return to Sender.”
  • I place a stamp on the letter because the U.S. Postal Service informed me they will just throw the letter away without a stamp. (How can the post office just throw this mail away? The representative I talked to said of course they didn’t used to throw it away but when the volume got so big they had to change the policy.)

Now, how much does it cost me to do this? At three junk pieces every day, times 47 cents, equals $42 per month. That’s a lot of personal expense to try to keep my information private with no guarantees it will stop anything, but to me it’s worth a try.
The next time you see one of these “privacy notices,” I suggest you make the call and limit their ability to sell your personal information right away.  Then see if unwanted mailers slow down just a little.  See if telemarketers don’t call as much.  Your private information is worth protecting.

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