Are you following the “leads”?
Ever complete an online application to get the best rate on a loan? Or enter your email address on a website to learn more about colleges you’d like to attend? Getting products and information this way can be convenient and very fast. But the information you share may go through the hands of middlemen you may not know exist.
These companies are called “lead generators.” They collect information on people who may be interested in a given product or service. Marketers pay them for specific lists of these “leads.” Many lead generators explain clearly what they do, and you might find their services helpful – for example, they might link you with the right seller or service provider. Other lead generators might not be so forthcoming – for instance, some make attractive offers that stretch the truth. And some may not do a good job protecting your sensitive information.
Because lead generation can be a key, unseen aspect of online commerce, the FTC is interested in how these practices affect consumers. On October 30, 2015, we will host a public workshop to find out more about this industry. Stay tuned to hear more. In the meantime, learn more about how to protect yourself online.