CERTEGY DATA LOSS TAKES ON WEIRD LIFE OF ITS OWN
When Certegy Check Services’ former employee William G. Sullivan decided to sell 2.3 million names he had lifted from his former company, a series of events began to take place that should have tipped off even the most inexperienced junk mail professional. A data broker by the name of Jam Marketing, located in the UK, bought the records and resold them to several junk mail companies. The data was comprised of names and addresses and bank card and credit card information. During the 35 years I was a data broker, I required absolute confirmation of the source of every name I purchased for my clients. And I cannot remember one of my clients who, if he or she did not recognize the mailing list, didn’t grill me thoroughly on where the names came from. That was standard operating procedure with me, and with most of the data brokers in the industry. In the case of the Certegy incident, safeguards seem to have completely broken down, or they were non-existent. According to junk mail publication, DMNews, neither Jam Marketing nor the junk mail companies knew what they were buying, and Certegy confirmed this when filing legal action against Sullivan. Let’s look at some of these companies who bought from Jam Marketing. Strategia Marketing, a telemarketing firm previously named Suntasia Marketing, has unsatisfactory records with the Better business Bureau in Florida (pattern of complaints from misrepresentation of sales practices to delivery issues), and the Northwest (amassing over 160 complaints). Whitehat.com Inc., a company formed by the combination of American Computer Group in Tempe, AZ, and CompuTech Direct of Chicago, both of which I know as computer processing companies for junk mailers. Quality Teleservices Management, inc. doing business as Custom Response Teleservices; the former appears to be an insurance company registered with Idaho, but located in Nebraska; the latter a telemarketing call center headquartered in Omaha, NE. Since no official explanations have been provided by the junk mail companies buying the lists, it is impossible to determine what really happened. The question is… should they have known what they were buying? In my opinion, yes, they should have.