RadioShack died this year but its icy hand still holds the social security numbers of millions of customers—information they promised to keep to themselves. Noble! Also hollow and meaningless!
Via the Guardian, the ‘Shack’s attorneys are reportedly looking to sell everything not nailed down in the wake of the company’s bankruptcy filings—including your name, contact information, social security number and anything else you were dumb enough to give them in exchange for a tiny warranty.
The highly sensitive information (SSNs and the like) is retained at stores for two years and then purged. Less sensitive purchase records were expunged after three years in some cases, but RadioShack kept them “indefinitely” if customers bought a warranty, so if you bought insurance on your television in 1998, RadioShack remembers.
Now the company is trying to determine how much it will be able to legally sell in an effort to keep creditors at bay. It has decided emails and addresses are probably what it wants to sell, specifically “67 million customer name and physical mailing address files together with any associated transaction data collected by the Debtors within the five (5) year period prior” to its bankruptcy, according to a recommendation by the company’s attorney, Elise Frejka.
This is all exactly why I don’t ever give any business anything I can find a way to avoid giving them. I pay cash whenever possible, do not fill out warranty or product registration cards, and never, never, never buy the extended warranty. Once you give a business your personal information, you’ve lost control over it, forever.