I wasn’t going to say anything about this Equifax thing since so many others are but something that My Money Wizard said made me want to.
The majority of companies don’t care about you or your data.
Doesn’t Everyone Secure Their Data?
As you may know, I am a software developer and in my seven years of writing jibberish, I’ve seen some things at companies one would call …lax. My first job was at a major insurance company. I worked on software that managed the information of your insurance agents (you know those people you buy insurance from if you don’t have a computer).
Besides adding new features and fixing bugs I would do reports on the data. Faceless people would put in requests for data, I would run queries on the database and send them it in an unsecured excel spreadsheet. That may not be troubling until I tell you it generally included: Name, address, phone numbers, social security numbers, and birth dates.
I questioned these reports every time I got a request for one and would be told by multiple managers to stop questioning them and go back to work. The data wasn’t secured in any way. No passwords, encryption, or lock of any kind. Imagine if that information got into the wrong hands of one of its own employees. The chaos that would ensue is unimaginable.
(Do you have warm fuzzies?)
I don’t bring this up to cripple you with fear but I want to scare you. Every time you provide any piece of information to any company, rest assured they are not doing their due diligence to protect it.
My Company Cares For Me
This reminds me of a weird paradigm I have noticed with the older generations. Corporate loyalty. Remember the good old days where your first company was generally the one you would retire from? Yeah, I don’t either. Maybe I am just a pessimist (read: realist) but when was the last time any company ever had anyone’s best interest in mind other than their top-level staff and shareholders? I’ll admit I’m sure there may be one or two out there, but not enough to tip the scales in favor of those doing all of the actual work.
Younger generations have been given flack for being job jumpers but a lot of that has to do with lack of loyalty from the companies we work for. Rarely do you see someone getting a pension? Most companies average a 3% raise which is only to keep up with inflation. The job jumps can net me 7-10% increases. What incentive do we have to stay for companies that don’t reward good work? Or, even companies that don’t provide decent benefits to begin with? Maybe the younger generation has a higher self-worth and knows that they should be equally compensated for the skill set that they provide a company.
I Buy Brand X Because They Care
Which brings me to the last form of loyalty, brand loyalty. Much to the same effect, the corporation that makes or sells <insert product here> disregards your privacy and data security. Not that far back Target decided to ignore countless warnings from a security program and lost a boatload of payment information. I being one of those at risk. That did not stop me from going back there and shopping though. To me Target still has the most reasonably priced essential grocery items and a good selection of other good in my driveable area. As soon as that changes “Bye, bye bullseye.”
People often also forget about the quality aspect of buying stuff. I bought a Samsung computer monitor because it had the best quality for my price point and left the Samsung phone on the shelf because despite what some say Samsung can’t write a line of Android code to save their life. (got a little geeky there sorry about that)
Worry About Yourself
Let me boil it down to what an actually helpful appliance salesperson once said, “You don’t buy all of the same brand for your kitchen because one brand is better at one appliance than the other. Buy the best (for your price range).”
Corporations have no problem leaving you out to dry as long as they can turn a profit. That is true if you work for them or are a consumer with them. Just be smart about who you shop with or work for and always remember to stop and ask why? If you are ever unsure.