This is a list of companies that have let my email address fall into the hands of spammers. How much of my personal information is safe? Credit card numbers? SSN? Street address? If they’re willing to sell my email address to unscrupulous marketers (or let it be stolen by not properly securing their servers and online databases), can I really trust them? Can you?

Jenny Craig

OK, I’ll admit I’ve struggled with my weight. But that’s not the point. This supposedly reputable company let my precious email address fall into the hands of scammers. Do I truly think SIR THOMAS BAILEY is the financial controller of RIX Petroleum Scotland Ltd. UK who wants to transfer US$27,300,000.00 into my account? No one with any sense does. It’s a 419 scam. But thanks to Jenny Craig, I’m now receiving this “offer” and others like it.

Home Depot

Believe it or not, Home Depot is one of the culprits. I started getting spam about, get this, privacy and security products created by a supposedly reputable company called Abine, at the email address I made for my business with Home Depot. How disappointing. Shame, Home Depot. SHAME!

Buydig

This site sells electronics and apparently my email address. I started getting porn spam at the email address I made specifically for conducting my business at buydig. That’s just rude. No, ladies, I don’t want to see your naked pu**y. And no, buydig, I won’t be buying or digging ANYTHING from you ever again.

Gamespy

This now-defunct company claimed to be our source for PC gaming intelligence and so on. They shut their doors in 2013, but guess what happened to my email address. Yep! It found its way into the hands of scammers trying to entice me into a work-from-home scam. Yeah, right. Too bad there’s nothing I can do about it now besides shut down that email address, since Gamespy no longer exists.

Oberon Design

This company makes beautiful leather covers for things like e-readers, tablets, cell phones, checkbooks, and the like. But I’m guessing they got hacked, because now I get email in Russian from someone completely unrelated.

Know Brainer

Mostly, they sell headsets, digital recorders, and other gear to support Dragon Naturally Speaking. I got an amazing headset from them. But then, a few years later, I started receiving spam from some laptop seller called M-Tech in Michigan using the unique email address I created for Know Brainer. So not only do I have to warn against buying from Know Brainer, I have to add Spammy McSpammerton (aka M-Tech Laptops) to the list too.

Update: Lunis Orcutt at Know Brainer responded right away to my admonition about the sharing of my email address. Here’s what he had to say:

“M-Tech and our company are not officially tied together but we have been helping each other out for several years. I like the company because they work a lot like our company in that they are very hands-on and are the only US company that manufactures notebook computers. I thought we might be a good fit and no one has ever approached me about the spam before but I will discontinue this practice because I respect you and probably should’ve thought of that in the 1st place. If it helps, M-Tech is the only company that we have shared your email with but I will be contacting them today to discontinue this practice.

Just so you know, we have never sold or shared your phone number or your email address or any other information like most other companies do. We generally consider the practice to be unethical and I agree with you and should’ve considered your feelings earlier. Our company will never share this information again and I apologize profusely.”

They went on to give me a free software upgrade for my headset as an apologetic gesture.

M-Tech Laptops

I’ve never done business with them, and now I never will. See the Know Brainer entry above regarding their spam.

Adobe online PDF creator

If you’ve ever needed to create a PDF document but didn’t have the software installed to do it, you might have gone to the online PDF creator at acrobat.com and used the free tool there. And then you might have started receiving photos from Ukrainian women who wanted to be friends with you. That’s what happened to me in spite of their promise to protect my personal information.

Zappos.com

They sell shoes and handbags, and they have a great selection and wonderful service. But… you knew this was coming. They let my email address find its way into the hands of a spammer who tried to infect my computer with a virus. Not cool, Zappos. When I let them know, this was their response: “I do apologize for the inconvenience of the email that you received. I know at Zappos, we take our customers information very seriously. I hope that you will come back to see us here at Zappos, but understand how you feel.” In other words, I shouldn’t let the door hit me in the ass on my way out. Classy.

Newport News

I’ve been shopping at this women’s clothing store for decades, but not anymore. I’ve received spam at my newportnews-specific email address from all kinds of scammers, mostly from Russia.

Nutrisystem

Maybe some celebrities are willing to back this product on TV, but if you give them your email address for more information, like I did, you might end up getting spam email like I do. This spam is like “test” spam — random words in “sentences” just to see if the email bounces. I’m sure that’s just the beginning. Bottom line: Nutrisystem was careless with my email address.

AsSeenOnTV.com

I don’t even remember what I bought there, but I’ve since started getting spam at the unique email address made just for this business. The nature of the spam: singles ads. Somehow I don’t think this spam is from a subsidiary company, unless they also own meet-singles-now.com.

Art.com

I’ve been buying artwork from art.com and was generally happy with my purchases. No more! I started getting emails from some motorcycle dealership at the email address I created and used only for my art.com purchases, despite their privacy policy that says:

“Under no circumstances do we rent, trade or share your e-mail address with any other company for their marketing purposes without your consent.”

Edmunds

Yep, I mean the car site where you can read & post reviews of cars. You have to register first, and after you do, watch your inbox for incoming spam on how to improve your love life.

Equifax

Yes, you read that right. Equifax, one of the largest credit-reporting agencies in the USA has let my email address fall into the hands of spammers. At the unique address I made specifically for requesting my credit report through Equifax, I began receiving emails for products such as Rolex watches, penis enlargement, and Viagra. I’ve received no response from Equifax regarding their sale of my email address to spam marketers.

Aluron

I bought a case for one of my hand-held devices from aluron.com and sure enough, spam email started rolling in afterward.

Curse Gaming Forums

Spammers can harvest email addresses from public forums, which is probably what they did here.

Lifelock

Yes, the company that claims to keep your identity safe from thieves sold (or gave) my email address to spammers. I wonder what other personal information they gave out.

South Beach Diet

You’ve heard of it. Now you know — they sold or gave my email address to spammers.

WebWire

Ever submit a press release to webwire.com? I did, and then I started getting spam at the email address I created just for them. No wonder the service is free.

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