Wall Street Journal Offers Confidential Info on Its Subscribers to Everyone

I was absolutely amazed at what I discovered when I called 1-800-Journal with an inquiry about my subscription.

I had been a subscriber to the Wall Street Journal for years.  I am convinced that it is the best financial journalism, if fact the best journalism altogether.  Nevertheless, this recent interaction caused me to cancel my subscription.

I had an inquiry and before my inquiry could be addressed, they asked what state my paper is delivered to, and then they asked for my name.  In order to confirm that they were speaking to the right person, they then proceeded to read off my home address, my phone number and my email address.  I couldn't believe that they were so freely giving this information out.  I did a double-take, then called again and the same thing happened.  After realizing that I wasn't imagining the entire thing, I called to see if they were so free-wheeling with information from more well-known people.  Through their subscription department, I managed to get the home addresses, phone numbers and email addresses of several very well-known and illustriuous investors, CNBC personalities, members of Obama's economic team and heads of investment banks.  I finally called to speak with a supervisor who explained that this is their practice because it is too time consuming to make the caller prove their identity. 

I have recently opened several online investment accounts and savings accounts.  The security and privacy that financial institutions offer is second to none.

I now pick up the paper at the newstand.  It costs a little more there, but it is well worth it to pay a little more.  I'll subscribe again when they follow the lead of financial institutions, or even just of the Financial Times, and put some very simple safeguards in place.

Jason Rodgers
Jason Rodgers: Jason Rodgers was an experienced research analyst for a major bank prior to retiring to run his own investment consultancy in beautiful Lihue, Hawaii. Jason contributed articles to BestCashCow from 2008 to 2014.

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  • Jenny

    December 07, 2008

    John Hilsenrath is a stud, but I don't care for the paper or rest of the writers.

  • StupidOne

    December 07, 2008

    Wow! That is enough information for would be identity thieves. Thanks for the information.

  • Overreaction?

    December 08, 2008

    Whenever I find myself getting worked up about something like this, I ask myself one simple questions: "So what?"

    Your home address, email address, and phone number are generally public information that anyone could find out rather easily regardless of the WSJ. So so what if WSJ is another source for it?

    And even if WSJ's policy lets someone uncover a home address or email, so what? It's not particularly useful to an identity thief. And if you have stalkers hunting you down, then the availability of your home address is the least of your worries.

  • StupidOne

    December 10, 2008

    The last time I checked, your place of employment, home address, e-mail address and telephone number is enough to fill out a lot of credit applications. The mother's maiden name part, if it is a high profile person, you may be able to find that quite easily (think articles, biographies or autobiographies. I have to agree with your point about stalking though, there are some nuts out there. However, identity theft is way more common than you think, I am sure everyone knows at least one person who has been a victim of some type of identity theft. I think the point of JRodger's piece is not to be alarmist but to stress that caution can prevent a larger problem down the road.

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    September 07, 2009

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    October 22, 2009

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