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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Posts
    2

    Default Private Cell Phone Number Obtained, Supposedly from Public Records

    Hello guys,
    First of all thank you for your time and attention - I appreciate all answers that help me navigate the situation! Hoping I used the right section to post.

    My significant other (not married legally yet) received a text on his phone from a realtor about our house. Well, home is in my name alone and has been since 2015. We are in Texas btw. Recently our family had some major medical issues/expenses and had to work with my mortgage on loan modification which resulted in a public info released on county website about potential foreclosure. It had my name, ppty address and date notice has been filed. Of course I have no intent to sell or foreclose and I worked with my mortgage company and we worked out an agreement to modify the loan. All that wrapped up in the beginning of July 2018. Nowhere in any paperwork was my partners phone number - only mine. Also my phone number has not been publicly shared from the public record I pulled up on county web site.

    So, my partner gets a text with details on how the foreclosure does not need to happen and that this person can help - long text from a real estate professional last week (mid July). Of course he was aware of our situation - I was not hiding this from him (there is no way to keep something like this a secret). When I text the realtor back and I ask why she texted someone who is not a homeowner she apologized and said she d remove his phone number from her list. But I was curious where she got his number from. She at first claimed that she got it on county website. When I sent her a screen shot of the record which had no phone number, then she changed her story and said she got it somewhere else but could not reveal her source.

    I told her both of our numbers are on govt do not call list. And I still wanted to know how did she make the link of his number to the home ownership and where she got it from. My name is on appraisal district site as homeowner. But my number is not. My partner pays electric bill, I pay water and utilities - as far as utility payments go. So his phone number might be on our electric bill.

    It is my understanding that my private cellphone or my partner's are not public information that is posted all over the place. What if this was a rental property and she texted my renter? There is absolutely no need to be texting a non homeowner with financial details about the loan. She might as well text my neighbour too...

    I wanted to provide all these details about the situation first. Now the question - is this legal for realtor or any company to obtain non-public info such as private cell phone (which has been on DNC list) of anyone associated with a property (even via simply paying a bill) and contact them with solicitation by also disclosing sensitive info which is available via public record but not necessarily known by someone (example - renter).

    And I d like to know if I can take any action to stop this practice. Because I am sure she does this to many others and it is just not okay to do this - feels awfully like invasion of privacy. If our electric company sells our info - can I stop this practice? Most important question - is it legal for realtor to do what she did - obtained non public info and used it to solicit someone.

    Thank you very much.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    California
    Posts
    20,319

    Default Re: Private Cell Phone Number Obtained, Supposedly from Public Records

    Names, numbers and addresses are found in all manner of places. When you sign up for store discount cards, giveaways, etc., you often agree that the holder of this data can use it how they see fit. They sell these lists. It then becomes a matter of searching databases to find names and numbers.

    They can also be in certain public records, online, and there are even places you can pay for access to this information - that's often how the police do it, we pay certain providers for the data.

    Your cell number is not a secret. If you want anonymity, buy a so-called burner phone.
    **********
    Retired Cal Cop Sergeant & Teacher

    Seek justice,
    Love mercy,
    Walk humbly with your God

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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    16,953

    Default Re: Private Cell Phone Number Obtained, Supposedly from Public Records

    Quote Quoting amarille
    View Post
    Hello guys, I told her both of our numbers are on govt do not call list.
    The do not call list is a joke. The government long ago admitted that there was no way to enforce it.
    Quote Quoting amarille
    View Post
    Now the question - is this legal for realtor or any company to obtain non-public info such as private cell phone (which has been on DNC list) of anyone associated with a property (even via simply paying a bill) and contact them with solicitation by also disclosing sensitive info which is available via public record but not necessarily known by someone (example - renter).
    Yes, all of that is legal.
    Quote Quoting amarille
    View Post
    And I d like to know if I can take any action to stop this practice.
    No.
    Quote Quoting amarille
    View Post
    Because I am sure she does this to many others and it is just not okay to do this - feels awfully like invasion of privacy.
    She does.
    It's not OK, but not illegal.
    It is an invasion of privacy but, reality check, there is no privacy anymore.
    Quote Quoting amarille
    View Post
    If our electric company sells our info - can I stop this practice?
    No.

    You can try to avoid giving out your phone number but that only works for a little while and a lot of places where you WANT the service will require your phone number or not provide the service. Once the phone number is out there it's only a matter of time until it is all over the place.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: Private Cell Phone Number Obtained, Supposedly from Public Records

    Thank you guys!!! I have been trying to find more details but it is all so vague - really appreciate all the information!!

    Unfortunately my minor son is now being called too. The two places he had his phone number were the school and the company he ordered something from online. This tells me either someone can purchase a record of a minor that trickled down from their school which creeps me the hell out.... or postal service or the company he made a purchase from sold his info. Either way it is a breeze to find a number of a child apparently... by just knowing where they live. And contact them with solicitations... and that is legal .

    I understand that there is no privacy anymore. I guess I have been stuck in the belief that my cell phone is private information. Apparently not and anyone can be solicited anything via cell phone... ehh... even a child...

    I was thinking there is a chance this is all legal but was hoping to be wrong... The idea of police pulling this kind of info seems perfectly okay to me because this is law enforcement - when there is a crime or an investigation involved this info is needed and justified. Just feels wrong for non law enforcement people to pull personal info other than address for the purposes of solicitation. But I definitely noticed it was there - while researching this I ve come across many search results to help me "find anyone" and all their info for a price...

    Thank you again for answers!!!!

    Have a wonderful evening!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Posts
    1,121

    Default Re: Private Cell Phone Number Obtained, Supposedly from Public Records

    unless your child's cell phone is in an account under his specific name, there is an adult attached to that cell phone number also (either you or the other parent). Yes, it is a bit creepy on how information can be found. And yes, pretty much anything can be found for a price. And yes, if you search someone, you can often find who they are related to.

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