Just the other day I found a letter from my bank regarding a new company they’ve partnered with, PrivacyGuard.
As I see it, PrivacyGuard is a prime example of the misplacement of liability when it comes to information gathered by companies that I somehow interact with. They are, for a monthly fee of Â£6.99 (I get the first month for free) selling access to my Credit Report. This Credit Report is what financial institutions use to base their decisions on, e.g. when you apply for a new credit card.
Once you know what’s on your Credit Report, PrivacyGuard(TM) keeps you in control of verifying the accuracy of your records. You could correct any discrepancies, before they prevent you from getting credit.
They are using the general fear of “identity theft” to try to sell this “service”:
Every year thousands of individuals fall prey to credit fraud, and a growing number to identity fraud.
So, to sum it up, some company is collecting this information about me. Selling it to financial institutions. Then I have to pay to get access to the information in order to verify and update it.
Should I really have to pay to increase the value of their product?
In a sane world I’d be paid to offer this service to them!
The only reason PrivacyGuard exists is because I’m the only one suffering if the data in the Credit Report is incorrect or if someone defrauds me. The company collecting the information doesn’t suffer at all, and the company that allows the fraud to occur suffers only marginally. Clearly a case of misplaced liability!