In his book, Permission Marketing, Seth Godin, former vice president of direct marketing at Yahoo, talks about how large companies exchange your information. I thought this quote would be relevant for readers of identity theft secrets.
From Permission Marketing (1999) Page 131 and 132 “In traditional marketing, it is totally okay to rent or sell or transfer data. It gets done, secretly, every single day. In fact, it’s a multibillion dollar industry. It’s scary, but it’s true: you can rent the name and address of every one in New York City who has a permit to carry a gun. Then you can filter this data further to produce a list of those women who have a child in private school. Or who live in the building with a high likelihood of tenants who stay in first-class hotels when they travel. Want a list of dental floss users? Not a problem. You can even buy them by brand!”
“Perhaps the most amazing personal data available comes from the supermarket. If you carry a savings or bonus card, a computer somewhere knows exactly which groceries you buy. Last year more than 1.2 trillion worth of goods and services were sold by direct mail. More than half of that was sold directly to consumers. So the information stakes are high.
Direct-mail marketers have discovered that the way to combat their arch enemy — the cost of stamps and printing — is to buy the very best mailing list they can find. They test and refine and research and cross-reference, in all in search of increasing the response rates to their mailings by a 10th of a point.”
What’s interesting about this point, is that if the information is available to marketers, it’s also available to identity thieves posing as marketers, and foreign governments posing as marketers (or simply hacking in). Even though Seth Godin’s Permission Marketing was published in 1999, the implications of this, and the potential for abuse of the system, are huge.
Of course, we all know that our information is bought and sold. I think you’re delusional or misinformed if you don’t understand what’s happening with your information. However, I’ve never seen it stated in such a clear way as Seth Godin did here in his book, which shows what a danger and a threat this is to us, with identity thieves becoming more and more sophisticated all the time.
If anyone has any suggestions for ways to get your name and info out of these databases, please post them using the comments field below.