It is no longer surprising why and how businesses and other organizations know your personal data.
According to some sellers and financiers in China, personal data is easily acquired through buying and selling. This practice is mostly done by banks, insurance companies, loans sharks as well as scammers.
Insurance firms frequently procure vast amounts of consumer or Internet user’s personal data from shady online data resellers. These people have illegitimately obtained the information to sell and earn for personal interests leaving poor consumers with no idea that their confidential information has been sold already.
Other firms illicitly purchase personal data from the motor vehicles department, car sellers, vehicle licensing authorities, or from police stations themselves.
The car owner, William Zhang’ car insurance was about to expire. It is just logical that he has communication with his initial car insurer which is Ping An Insurance Group. However, he kept receiving calls from different car insurance companies offering him their products and services. He now wonders how those companies knew of his information and that his car insurance nears its expiration date.
According to King & Wood Mallesons law firm partner Susan Ning that personal data breaches are fraught with danger since it can promote other violations.
What information sellers do is to advertise the illegally-acquired personal data in the online groups and bargain with prospective buyers using private messaging apps such as QQ or WeChat.
Reuters discovered that upon typing the words “personal data” or “cellphone data” in Chinese, there are 30 online groups online that are created just to buy and sell consumer information on QQ which is Tencent’s messaging service and Tieba which is Baidu Inc’s forum site. In fact, five sellers have offered the news organization some lists from financial establishments of people who need loans, insurance, and Shanghai men ranging from 30 to 50 years old. Such information found on the list includes dates of birth, the status of the car and home ownership as well as mortgage information aside from names and telephone directories.
Bank employees were often the ones who sell the personal data of their customers to loan agents who in turn sell mortgages for major Chinese lending companies. There are internet companies that provide entry to confidential information in exchange for a service fee.
The Wuhan-based firm, Duoku Technology manages a personal data search platform. It recovers the ID picture of any Chinese citizen of which the name and ID number are given for a 5 yuan fee. A person can retrieve data regarding cellphone’s usage for 3 yuan. The company said that a majority of the information was purchased from online sellers and in turn sold to financial institutions mainly banks and insurance companies.