CR Quick Take

Consumer Reports

October 2006

CR INVESTIGATES: Your privacy for sale.; CR Quick Take

SECTION: Pg. 41 Vol. 71 No. 10

LENGTH: 121 words

Large data brokers have your numbers – Social Security, phone, and credit cards. They might also know about the drugs you take, what you buy, your political party, and your sexual orientation. When we investigated this secretive industry, we discovered:

  • Data brokers are willing to sell even your most sensitive information to paying customers, some of them crooks.
  • When CR staffers asked to see their own files, they received scant information. One report contained 31 errors.
  • The federal government is a steady customer of the data collectors, but there’s no way to know what it collects or exactly how much it pays.
  • Pretexters, who lie to get information about you and sell it to anybody, operate largely free of regulation.

LOAD-DATE: October 2, 2006