How Did They Get My Name?
This question is frequently asked by consumers. The answer is often, "from a database." A database is a computerized collection of information that is organized and processed according to a specific set of procedures. Information from several different database sources is often used to create a personal "database profile," which describes a persons interests and summarizes financial and other records. Many of these databases are prepared using "secondary-use data".
Secondary-use means that the collected information is used differently than originally intended. For example, a credit card or mail order company might buy an organizations mailing membership list in order to send them product advertisements. This would be a secondary use.
A database profile compiled by one organization can be-and frequently is-shared with other organizations. Todays computer systems enable government agencies and companies to easily share information. Databases can be compared, merged and purged to create new databases for a specific purpose. Development and sale or rental of potential customers lists has become a big business in inself.