Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson

Totally Free Flatscreen TV/LCD Monitor!
ABSOLUTELY FREE GIFT CARDS!
Caribbean Vacation - All Expenses Paid!!!

You can have it all for nothing! And it’s so easy! All you have to do is complete an online survey. Or sign up for a trial subscription for some service. Or spam a few friends … oops, we mean make a few “referrals.”

But did you ever think about what happens with all the information you send over the Internet? Chances are it’s being dumped into a marketing database to be sold over and over again.

And what do you get in return? Telemarketing callsJunk mail! Spam! All totally free! Forever.

Oh, and that must-have thing you coveted? Well, good luck. Hope you read the fine print.

The above remarks are a rerun of a post from last June. But with our recent settlement with SubscriberBASE Holdings, Inc., of Columbia, S.C., and SubscriberBASE, Inc., it seems that a reminder may be appropriate. The online companies promised consumers “free” big-ticket items but required them to pay for trial offers and subscriptions. In fact, we alleged that their real ploy was to collect and sell consumers’ personal information to marketers. 

Back in June, we settled a suit with some freebie promoters who sold personal information of thousands of Washington residents and tucked charges on their phone bills for services they didn’t want. Only one Washington consumer received the advertised “free” item.

Your personal information is a commodity now. How much is your privacy worth to you?

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