I bet you a million bucks you can't go the rest of my life without contacting me again.
September 7, 2010 2:13 PM   Subscribe

How can I find out which entity sold (at least) my name and address to the sleazebags at Betus.com when the latter company is unresponsive and apparently staffed by the proverbial 100 monkeys with typewriters?

I've managed to stay off the junk mail radar for a long time and I like it that way. For the third time in as many years, I've received a mailing from Betus right before my birthday offering new and apparently attractive ways to get ripped off. I don't gamble and I don't post my personal information online.

I fit Betus' demographic (young and male), so I believe it's likely that they purchased my name as part of a list selected for those criteria. But, apart from my bank, my wireless provider, two universities, several medical institutions, and Netflix, I don't think I've ever paired my name and this address in a commercial transaction.

How do I find out how I arrived on this list and who sells it? How do I get off it if (as usual) the shady folks behind it waste my time rather than giving me a straight answer?

Thanks, Hivemind!
posted by Inspector.Gadget to Human Relations (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I'm confused, did they send a physical flier to your address, or did they send you a spam email?

If the former, I would bet money that they're working off a list of voter registrations.
posted by ErikaB at 2:37 PM on September 7, 2010

Change your name with different services, one variant per potentially reselling service. I'm guessing it's either the wireless provider or Netflix, and while they wouldn't care who was paying as long as the bills were paid, you probably don't want to change your last name on those services.

Or you can follow the steps laid out by Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, which involves mailing and calling a bunch of organizations to get off of their lists. This isn't addressing the who or how of why you're getting junk mail, but it'll possibly put a stop to it.

At least your junkmail fits your age bracket. I've gotten mail from AARP-type groups celebrating my upcoming birthday. It seems I was 29 going on 50.
posted by filthy light thief at 2:44 PM on September 7, 2010

When I moved a few years ago, the very first piece of mail I got at my new address was from "my" local State Farm agent, written entirely in Korean, (which is hilarious because I'm super Whitey McWhiteperson) because my last name happens to be Lee.

The ONLY place that had my new address was the post office, as I had just submitted my official change of address online. I hadn't yet changed my address with any of my utilities companies, library, voter registration, etc, etc. I really hope the USPS doesn't sell the info, but the mailer you get when you change your address comes with so many coupons and offers, who knows who gets it.
posted by phunniemee at 3:02 PM on September 7, 2010

I really hope the USPS doesn't sell the info

They do. Commercial mail list processors can purchase licenses to the USPS change-of-address database. It's not cheap.
posted by RichardP at 3:30 PM on September 7, 2010

They do.

You'll all be happy to know that I did not retain Ms. Tracy Kwon's services.
posted by phunniemee at 3:35 PM on September 7, 2010

I used an alternative address exactly once, on one of those airplane customs declarations, and I got junk mail from that.
posted by StickyCarpet at 3:36 PM on September 7, 2010 [1 favorite]

Wait...you get 1 spam from them a year, that you know is spam and can easily dispose of, and that rises to the level of give-a-shit? Wow.

If you exist, and conduct commerce anywhere, at some point, someone is going to try and sell you something or rip you off. Until marketers are hunted for sport, that's not going to change. Let it go.
posted by kjs3 at 4:06 PM on September 7, 2010

Response by poster: and that rises to the level of give-a-shit?

The problem is less that I get one now and more that customer information sales ensure I will get more if I stay on this list.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 4:14 PM on September 7, 2010

Yeah, USPS is shameless. I don't file change of addressee with them for this reason, and just contact the notify individuals and companies directly.

Notify USPS and I bet your new address will be linked to your old on zabasearch.
posted by zippy at 8:36 PM on September 7, 2010

My understanding is that USPS only sells info on the permanent change of address records. So when you move, do a temporary forwarding instead, and they won't sell that information. It doesn't last as long, but it gives you time to contact people directly to notify them of your new address.
posted by ambrosia at 11:26 PM on September 7, 2010

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