Calling Verizon’s Bluff

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
To put it another way, that translates to what packages you have, who you call (and who calls you), how long you talk to them, where you call (or where your caller is from), and the nature of the session (was it voice?  Text message?  Picture messaging?).  At least, that’s how I see it, and RCR Wireless — the leading trade publication for the wireless industry — seems to agree with me.


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.

One thought on “Calling Verizon’s Bluff”

  1. I have never used Verizon Wireless, but I have heard horror stories about their customer service/shady practices. That is why I have always steered far and wide from them. Besides my company has discounts with AT&T

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