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A cautionary/informative story.

Recently I started receiving catalogs/junk mail from outdoor/fitness equipment suppliers - organizations I had never done business with. There are several steps one can take to protect their personal information (i.e. name, address, phone number, etc.) and I usually take all of them. For the past couple of years, I had not received a single piece of junk mail addressed to me specifically from a company I hadn't done business with before -- until now.

After some thought as to who the [email protected]#! these guys could have gotten my personal information from, I remembered that when I first bought from Performance and Nashbar online, they had a disclaimer that they would share my personal information with their "partners" unless I specifically requested they not do this. Note that they do not give you the ability to opt out when you create your account online; you have to go out of your way to call customer service to make sure they remove your info from the lists they sell/rent.

After placing my orders, I had made a note to myself to call the c.s. departments of these two, but evidently it got covered up or misplaced and I forgot to do it. Since all this new junk mail was from outdoor/fitness companies, and I don't do business with other organizations that sell/rent my information, Performance and/or Nashabr had to be the culprits.

I called both of their c.s. departments, and as expected, this selling of personal information was standard fare, and while I think they will honor my request for them to stop doing this with my information, I'm annoyed that they don't think this is a big deal at all. A few years ago, this was not a big deal. Now, if you buy online from places like JensonUSA (I have had great customer service from them, like so many others) their default stance is to never sell/rent your personal information to anyone. That is the way it should be.

So, if you have bought from Performance, Nashbar or Supergo, you may want to call their customer service departments and make sure you get your personal information removed from the customer data they sell/rent to others.

Lastly, if you are about to throw up a response post containing any of:
"Who cares?"
"This goes on all the time, you're so naive..."
"I like the junk mail from all the 'partner' companies..."

and so on, please don't bother. I didn't write this for you -- I wrote it for people who prefer to maintain tighter control over their personal information.
 

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So, I guess you only want responses that agree with you. If so, why did you write this blurb. You knew what their policy was and even made a note to call them and forgot. Who's fault is that? Most people know that online stores have policies regarding sharing of info. You don't like Performance/Nashbars policies. Just don't shop there. Thanks for the warning.
 

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Never give out valid information about yourself to anybody. Poison their data with outrageous lies. Use a different bogus name for each company you deal with. Examples: Marzocchi USA, your name is Mark Zokey; eBay, your name is Eby Oldman, etc. Not only do you screw up their information gathering machine, you can use the name to easily tell who is spamming you.

Never pay with credit card. In fact don't even have a credit card. Next to the IRS, this is the biggest data farming operation on Earth. Total up what you pay these people per year in fees and interest, then ask yourself "for what?". Pay with cash, or money order instead. Set up a legal trust to handle your basic living expenses. Never give out your social security number to anybody for any reason. In fact, never get a social security number. It's only used to steal you blind.

And forget all those attractive offers for free stuff. Nothing is free, Bunky. Take responsibility for your own security.

Of course your post could be just venting a little temporary frustration, in which case to hell with you. Get spammed. You deserve it.

UPDATE-- I was feeling kind of crusty when I wrote that, and thought maybe I shouldn't have been quite so harsh. Then I saw this article from Information Week. Don't go crying "unfair" to the state and federal governments, they're the ones making the most money from selling your info!
 

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Performance isn't the only one who does it. Your insurance company does it, your bank does it. When you get privacy notices in the mail, take a moment to actually read them. Most people think those statements are telling you how that business is going to protect your information, but they are really telling you how/where they're going to sell your information...unless you let them know in WRITING.

To totally keep your personal info safe you'd have to withdraw from society and the marketplace.
 
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