Since around 2000, I’ve owned my own domain and pretty much had my email on it since then. When you own your own domain, one thing you get control over is the email that is sent to it. So pretty early on I made a decision that whenever I did business with a company that requested my email address, they would get an email address of companyname at my domain. By doing this I can keep track of what happens to my email address, and who really keeps up with their privacy policies.
Suprisingly, for the most part very few companies sell my email address. Sure, there’s the various contest or two, or sometimes spammers pick it up from mailing lists or web sites, but it’s been a pretty good ride. Up until recently there was only one company that every surprised me, and this week I’ve now added a second one to that list. They are:
- Bank of America
Yes. Two financial institutions which I trust (or trusted) my personal financial details to both sold my address off. The first one – Ameritrade – is a known issue. Feel free to search around and see for yourself. I get hundreds of spams a day for that email, and pretty much any email to it goes to the trash (since I stopped doing business with them a long time ago).
The second – Bank of America – was a little more surprising. I’ve banked with them for years now, and never had a problem. However, about two weeks ago we closed on our house with our mortgage through – yep – Bank of America. Since then I’ve started receiving spam to that email address. My only guess is that they sold my information for the stupid “Get Mortgage Life Insurance now!” junk mail I get through the post office, and my email address was attached to that.
Note that neither of these email addresses are receiving scam spam – meaning they aren’t phishing attacks, just POS (plain ol’ spam).
The sad part is that while I will call the bank and complain (as I did with Ameritrade) – my email address is out there, and there is nothing that can be done to stop that. Time to change my email address and blacklist the old one.