Several companies are creating increasingly clever ways to screen consumers buying habits. Many super markets and drug stores for instance now offer discounts on certain products to those who sign up for the stores frequent buyers cardsi. To get the cards, the customer must provide the store their names, addresses, and phone number. Then the store’s computers track the buyer’s purchasing preferences and sell the information to other marketers Besides collecting data for commercial purposes, a growing number of companies legitimates and illegitimate are in the business of selling personal information.
These data aggregators also called data brokers or information resellers sometimes collect information under false pretenses known as “pretexting” and sell it to all comers, Law enforcement agencies around America have recently tried to shut down such companies. Companies like ChoicePoint, Acxiom, and lnfoUSA assemble for resale details personal profiles form government sources including birth and death records, property records, voter registrations, and court files, publicly available information like telephone and business directions and proprietary sources such as credit files and product warranty questionnaires (Clemmitt).
“The internet and out dependence on technology to effectively and efficiently operate our financial institutions and critical infrastructures has created an environment in which criminal groups often with no affiliation to one another, are able to collaborate on levels that have rarely been seen in the law enforcement community, said assistant director of the US Secret Service Office of Investigation, Michael Meritt. An international group of hackers in 2007 were successful in stealing 45 million credit card records from the TJ Maxx retail chain, The direct losses exceeded $130 million and indirect costs may have been many times that amount (Stone), Many hackers embrace a controversial viewpoint, They show the general public how they compromised particular computer systems by posting the hacking codes.