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Updated: 1:39 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 5, 2013 | Posted: 6:00 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 5, 2013

See what marketers know about you

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By Clark Howard

ClarkHoward.com


Marketing organizations that have been super secretive are now facing scrutiny in the aftermath of continuing revelations about government spying.

One called Acxiom that I've talked about in the past reportedly has massive documentation on who you are, what activities you like, what cars you own, what your mortgage is, what kind of ailments you have, etc.

This data can be continually crunched and packaged for sale thanks to the miracle of parallel computing technology. But now for the first time, you can get a peek at what's in your Acxiom file.

Just go to AboutTheData.com and you can answer a series of questions to fully verify that you are who you say you are. Then you can see the info they have on you that they believe is fact -- but may actually be fiction.

Out of a sample group of 4 people on my show staff, two were able to see their records and two weren't. The two of us who couldn't probably couldn't because we've frozen our credit.

My executive producer Christa was able to see her file. It contained incorrect info including the wrong age of her kids, the wrong number of children, and the wrong income. My associate producer Joel's file was even more radically wrong. It listed him as a blue collar craftsman who completed high school, but had no college education. Joel is, in fact, a graduate of Kennesaw State University and not a craftsman -- unless you count drinking craft beer as a qualifier!

So these data brokers are out marketing what they claim is a precisely fine-tuned dossier they have on you. And it many cases it's kerflooey! "All the inaccurate data, all the time." How's that for an advertising slogan, Acxiom?!

Fortunately, you have the option to go to AboutTheData.com and opt out so they can stop compiling data on you!

One caveat, though: There's been a lot of widespread suspicion that the opt out form may be a backdoor kind of way for Acxiom to collect further data on you. The company denies it, but that hasn't quelled the skeptics. Use your own best discretion before taking the leap.

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