In today’s Patriot News, a story was published about telemarketers selling your personal information. This story contains a quote from Howard Waterman, a spokesman for Verizon Wireless: “It’s a scam to get your cell number. Do not call this number.” Mr. Waterman goes on to state that this is an urban legend and is simply not true.
Mr. Waterman is wrong.
Take a look at Verizon’s own legal notice, found here:
The article is “sorta kinda” correct in that Verizon Wireless is not selling your cell phone number. However, what they’re actually doing is far worse. They’re selling what they call your “customer proprietary network information”, or “CPNI”. This is the “marketing-friendly” term for:
- …the type services you purchase
- …the “destination” (number called) of said services
- …the “amount of use” of said services
- …the “location” of said services
- …and the “technical configuration” of said services
In order to guard your information, Verizon Wireless will “…share this information among our affiliates, agents and parent companies (including Vodafone) and their subsidiaries.” That’s right; they’re guarding your information by sharing it with their “affiliates” and “agents”.
I can’t fault the Patriot News for missing an opportunity to report on this further. The question, presumably “Is Verizon Wireless going to sell my cell phone number unless I call a special 800 number?”, was very narrow, and the Verizon Wireless spokesman technically did provide a correct answer. However, had the Patriot reporter asked “Is Verizon Wireless going to sell my information unless I call a special 800 number?”, the answer would have been completely different.
What bothers me is that the Verizon Wireless spokesman doesn’t address this issue, and even goes so far as to call the whole thing a hoax.
And that’s why I no longer use Verizon Wireless.