Need to know what the tobacco industry is offering in terms of coupons, advertisements and promotional goods? Or perhaps you need an old picture or information about a particular brand of tobacco? Trinkets & Trash can provide you with that information, and it is always interesting to see how and what the tobacco industry is promoting. The latest marketing ploy is for you to make a music playlist from the Black & Mild site to play during your birthday, like the ad someone at Trinkets & Trash received. You get the “gift” of music, they get all your personal information. They can probably narrow down your race and ethnicity by what music you select and then target their advertising accordingly. What a great offer! I decided to check out their site to see what music was on the playlist.
The first page welcomed me into the site and asked me to register. Nothing unusal there. All tobacco sites will ask you to register and give a birth date before allowing you to continue into the site. So, a date was entered and I continued onto the next screen.
Normal registration information is required: name and mailing address. The birth date you put on page one is brought forward to this screen. When you click to continue, the information you just typed in is printed at the top and the registration page is expanded. Entering a phone number is optional, but why would you give out that information?
Then they ask for “your real name and current address on your driver’s license or other government-issued ID.” If the information is the same, you can click on the button “same as above.” According to the registration, “we can use information from your driver’s license or state ID to verify your age.” This is to ensure them that you are actually 21 years or older. But no place on the form does it ask for your driver’s license number, which would allow them to truly verify the information.
The one part of the registration information I was confused by and suspicious of was the request for the last four digits of your social security number. Their reasoning is to not “confuse you with another person.” I realize they aren’t asking for the entire social security number, but their reasoning is not a good enough reason for me to give out even the last four digits. In this day and age of computized fraud, you have provided a company with too much information.
The last part is your electronic signature. Not only are you telling them you are a smoker 21 years or older, but you are agreeing to receiving communication from the company that makes Black & Mild as well as its affiliates “via mail or electronically.” No place on the form did I see a spot for your email address, but I’m sure they will ask for it later. You are also agreeing that the information you just provided them will be sent to a third party “for age vertification.” Once again your information is being given to too many people.
I had no problem filling out the form until I reached the social security number entry. At that point I decided they were asking for too much information. I like music, but not enough to give someone all of my information just so I can see their playlist. This is a tobacco company, not a doctor’s office. I’ll make my own playlist from my music at home, thank you very much.