Yes You Have Been Sold

It should come as no surprise that your personal information is routinely sold to marketers.  33 million records — D&B confirms

“… it is of a type and in a format that we deliver to customers every day,” D&B said in a media statement.

Why is this one any different ?  The article points out —

The worrisome part is the deep bench of information that the records contain. For Wells Fargo, for example, the information is for the C-suite and 45 vice presidents, senior vice presidents, assistant vice presidents and executive vice presidents, all with names and email addresses alongside job titles.

By the way, it’s all legal.  And routine.

Why is this important to you as an individual?  The value in understanding the above, is to trust no single piece of communication as legitimate until you can verify by some other means.  If you get an email notification from Amazon (it sure looks like it came from Amazon) to re-enter your account information to release shipment of the item you just ordered, don’t.    Don’t even call the toll free number in that email — if the original email was forged, it is also trivial to add a fake phone number.   Either log in directly to your account for Amazon, your online banking site, or your bookmarked service you know is legitimate.  Call the service number on the back of your credit card, or printed on your bill.  Verify through some independent means.   Go directly to the source.

The night before closing on a home sale, do not just follow instructions by email that LOOKS like it came from the seller’s broker to deposit your money into a “change of account” without asking some questions.   Call them on the phone to verify, or you’ve just sent your deposit overseas into the account of some clever thief.

As Ronald Reagan said to Mikhail Gorbachev,  “Trust, but Verify“.   Always verify.

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