You are here

How did that company get my info?

Share this page

Are you getting calls or emails from a company you’ve never heard of? Wondering how they got your name or number — or how they know what you’re interested in? The reason might be lead generation. Here’s what you need to know.

What’s lead generation?

It’s when companies gather information that people submit, often from online forms or applications. Lead generators sell that information to other companies offering products or services those people might be interested in.

Why should you care?

It’s your information getting collected and sold, and it might pass through a lot of hands along the way.

What’s the upside?

You might find out about products or services you’re interested in, and get deals you wouldn’t have heard about otherwise.

What’s the downside?

Even if you know you’re giving information to a lead generator — like a site that matches people seeking loans with lenders — you might not realize your info could be sold and resold. If it’s sold to anyone willing to pay for it, you might be contacted by all kinds of companies you’ve never heard of.

Sometimes, lead generation also results in deception or outright scams. Last year the FTC sued a company that got people’s information from online payday loan applications, then sold it to non-lenders who raided people’s credit and bank accounts for millions. In another case, a company settled charges that it used fake job ads to get leads for colleges and career training programs.

What can you do?

Before you fill out forms or applications on a site, find out more about the company — on the site itself, and by doing an online search for the company with words like “complaint” or “review.” How will they protect your information? And think long and hard before you give out your SSN or bank or credit card information. In the wrong hands, they can lead to identity theft. If you think information you’ve already shared has been misused, tell the FTC.

Last fall, the FTC held a workshop that looked at lead generation, particularly in lending and education. Check out our new Staff Perspective to learn more about what we heard.


Sometimes you cannot get on a site without entering your email address. What do you do then?

You can either just back out and look for a more reputable site, or create a junk mail account that you can use to fill in the blank. I do either, depending on the site.

What can I do with phone calls? Or who file a complaint?

If your number is on the Do Not Call list, you can report unwanted calls to

If you get unwanted recorded calls, you can report those to

My answer to the phone number request: I have a land line I only use for data, and then my real number; my cell phone number. If a site needs a phone number I give the land line of a phony number. I have nomorobo on the land line.

What about section 8?.to fill out an application, I stopped at the credit score application it wouldn't let you go any further. So I backed out. But than I started getting text messages.

The website should have information telling you how it will use your information. If you are using a government website, you can contact the agency and ask what they will do with your information.

If it is a legitimate government site, it will always start with https: and end with .gov. It sounds like you were on a site that charges you for "filing assistance," which is free at the Housing Authority. You may want to check your credit score and make sure your identity was not stolen.

Thanks 2 All 4 Info ! bf 5

Thank you. There are two ways they could get my information. First, I went pricing for insurance and second I have been sending "prompted" (as in I give name address and phone on the form) to send letters to stop fracking, or save the grizzlies from being hunted, to stopping oil pipelines. Hope this helps. I do keep the numbers and block calls from them. I've been told to google the numbers and there's a response I can give on the page where it comes up as a scam that helps go after that kind of thing.

yes, I was wondering how, these company are imposter trying to scam people , scaring them , about arresting, a warrant for no reason, relative, friends information as well, they are good scammers.

I am constantly getting calls from company that I nothing about?

When I ask the caller if I asked him/her to call, the lie (and say yes) or they go silent. I hang up, but they call back. What now?

"I'm filet complain from 2007-2016 but still same no help don't we're going too many email recipients but still same thing now I m lose everything my daughter still in hospital she get hurt from job she work but she still don't get pay almost 2 years " I need help from who can help pleas help me " thank you

Please explain what is happening, it is unclear to me how your complaint on too many emails from 2007 -2016 has to do with your daughters hospitalization or of her employer not paying for 2 years.
If your daughter was hurt on the job and her employers Workers Comp is refusing to pay her medical bills she needs to contact a lawyer that specializes in Workers Comp/Work related issues.

Shouldn't there be laws against companies selling someones name and address without first getting permission from the address they are going to sell?
I would think there would be laws to protect a person's name and address, especially if it is an email address.

There are, but you know those terms and conditions that nobody reads but just accepts anyways? By accepting those you are giving them permission to do what they want with your data

this must be true with junk emails also I receive over 200 emails per week to buy cialis, viagra, etc


this is an educated guess. the FTC is not an individual help agency. They gather information so that the government can arrest or sue the individuals responsible. If you have been defrauded then they will either name you as one of the plaintiffs or they will provide info for you to procede with a law suit. They are a goood agency for providing information but are not a legal aide place. I am sorry for those that have experienced loss of money or heart ache from theives. If you have lots of money stolen then you might be able to get help from a victims agency.

I am elderly and disabled and have an average of 3 hours a day to be productive on the internet. That includes paying bills or figuring out how to pay bills as I live on Social Security. Doing paperwork for Federal and State forms for benefits and preparing reports for monthly expenses, etc.
I am also trying to write a book, but I never seem to be able to find enough time and energy to do anything creative. I need to be able to have a life beyond doing paperwork to stay alive.

I am also retired on Social Security Disability and 100% disabled veteran benefits. The vast majority of bills for the past decade or so have been payable electronically; from car, rent, mortgage, water, electricity, phone, cable, etc. Did I leave out any?

It's been well over 20 years since I did any of my financials on paper. All of my bills pay themselves every month.

All of my government checks are deposited electronically every month. If you haven' moved off of paper yet, I strongly suggest you do. You will save tons of time and frustration.

If you're receiving those annoying robo calls to your land line, there's a way to stop them. Go to and sign up for their service. If your provider supports it, it will take about 5 minutes of your time to sign up and activate. All scam/telemarketing robo calls will be dumped after one ring. Legit ones (from your Dr., etc.) will be recognized and allowed through. And the good news is, it's FREE! I've been using it for about 6 months, and have recommended it to everyone I know.

Thanks to all for sharing this very important security information on scams.

Why not inform folks of their individual right of action granted by the TCPA?

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) enforces the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), which also regulates telemarketing. For more information about the TCPA, contact the FCC at

I don't give out my phone number or email address anymore and life has gotten a little simpler!

I keep getting numerous unsolicited calls, texts, etc. I've been on registry since Feb 11'. Just started occurring within past year, year & a half. I Google reverse phone lookup & see it's unwanted scam, marketing calls, etc & submit # to registry but I continue to receive. I believe someone/body is filling out forms & what not giving my information or perhaps sold my information? I don't know but as far as I'm concerned it's my information therefore it's fraud & identity theft because I obviously & can't think of anyone who would willingly want this excessive amount of calls daily/weekly. How can I find out?

No comment

Why the bank dont tell about it?

i almost completed a form on line that i thought was the official passport form. i realized after i had entered most of my info that it was not the real site and deleted all the information. can my information be gathered without my submitting the form?

It's good that you deleted your information. It's still possible that someone can capture what you typed.


Someone is entering my contact information (name and email address) in 'Contact Us' forms for different entities on the internet. How do I find out who is doing this and put a stop to it? Can the IP address of the culprit be figured out? This is a form of identity theft or at the least, cyberbullying and slander. Thanks for any help you can offer.

I just found out my information was sold to a company from a realtor we didn't qualify for back in 2009. what can be done? Can i sue them for selling my information? There's no telling how much they have since i had to put ALL of my personal information down to qualify.

You could read the paperwork you signed when you worked with the realtor to see if the realtor did or did not have permission to share your information. If you think the realtor has shared information without your permission you could report it to the FTC at and to your state attorney general and to the agency that regulates realtors in your state.

Today, I started getting e-mails from AT&T on my work e-mail and I gave them it when I opened an account. But because all I know is that e-mail, I can get no other info from them. How can I find out if an account has been opened in my name?

Keeping your life private is simple. Stop using chat rooms, don't sign up for sites, don't browse unless it's for a very necessary reason. Never share phone number online, even if a site says share # in case you lose your password. Just write the info down instead. Stop searching others peoples name and info. I get about 10 phony emails a month, usually less, very few unwanted phone calls, which are usually for insurance and I feel that our insurance companies need to stop sharing private info. Your phone companies share your info, I know for a fact, everything you sign is a potential for that tiny print you never read which you agree they can share your info. Also stop calling back unknown phone calls, this just confirms you're there and will receive more, also hitting the #1 key stating you don't want them to call, also generates even more calls. Don't put your first or last name on the answering machine for incoming calls, you just give away part of what they're looking for. Never respond to emails if you don't personally know who they are, you'll never receive the money anyway. (:

It's a very simple fix, it should be against the law to sell, share or give away someone else's information. Period. It violates your constitutional right to privacy. Citizens need to sue congress for a redress to our grievances about the failure to protect our right to privacy.

I had a company here please help us to tell the company to increase the company please help us to fight for our right

My information was spread to unsavory companies through my own government! Between the business license I filed with the city, which is shared online to apparently just about anyone, and the house purchase I made which is a matter of public record, it is very difficult to remove sensitive and personal information from the internet. That is only compounded by the fact that some state DMV organizations are selling bulk data to whatever buyer comes their way - my name, address, age, etc. is out in the wild through required interactions with the government to be a person in this country. What recourse is there?

Wish I could get my own info. All to say that I tried many times to obtain my free credit reports and never got them. Now I am thinking that my verification info went to the wrong places. Still do not have my credit reports.!

Visit to get your free credit report.

I want LinkedIn to remove information/page from ten years ago, but they require me to give them more information to do so. I do not want to send them photos of my driver's license and I am trying to get off their site, not back on. They do not have accessible contact information (again, you have to sign up!)... is there anything else that I can do?

I was sent a package from a big company that I have never contacted or talked to before. How did they get my address

I went on calvets to get help with housing. They had me feel out a survey. Now I get text and calls all day up to 70 calls in one day. I have over 300 blocked numbers in my phone. Its caused me to miss calls from doctors from the VA. They just keep coming. I put myself on no call list and they just use different numbers. Its making my health worse. I shouldnt have to change my number after 20 years with the same number.

Leave a Comment