April 5, 2008

Magstripe Bandits

Jack Dunning says the mail-order companies are really in the business of selling your personal information. Their partners in crime are credit agencies, and with the power of a card swipe they tie it all into a neat little package to be sold at a high markup:

She even gives a blueprint of how to pull off the caper. You lift the information from the magnetic strip on the back of the card, which normally includes the card holder’s name and address. Then, proceed to the third party data service -- which Experian provides -- to append the extra juicy stuff like your age, income, occupation, education, home value, and the list goes on and on. They even know if you gamble, drink, smoke and have your medical ailments and prescriptions taken.

The first rule of personal privacy: use cash. The second rule of personal privacy: USE CASH.

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