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Verizon Smart Rewards program is just a way to get customers' personal information
Several months ago, Verizon Wireless went nationwide with their rewards program which allows customers to accumulate points and then use those points toward discounts on the purchase of various goods and services. It sounds great until you realize that Verizon Wireless is simply trying to find a new way to sell a substantial amount of personal information about their customers.
As BobSullivan.net notes, the Verizon Smart Rewards program was launched earlier this year and continues to gain little to no ground among customers due to the headaches of trying to figure how exactly the program works. Do we really know how much the points are worth? Why is their marketplace so closed off? Auctions don’t end? A recent $25 gift card went for 26,000 points, which confused everyone involved:
“I’ve got over 20,000 points, and I’ve bid on about 50 auctions and haven’t won a single thing. You have to be online, on the bidding page, at the exact time the auction ends …. to have about a 1 in 1000 chance of winning something. What a waste of time and energy!” – BobSullivan.net
So why is Verizon pushing the Smart Rewards program? When a Verizon Wireless customer clicks on the “agree” button and signs up for the rewards program, the customer is then forced to agree to the Verizon terms and conditions. Here is what Verizon will want from you:
- Addresses of websites you visit when using our wireless service. These data strings (or URLs) may include search terms you have used.
- Location of your device.
- Apps and device feature usage.
- Demographic, interest and behavior characteristics provided to us by other companies, such as gender, age range, sports fan, pet owner, shopping preferences, and ad responses.
- Demographic, interest and behavior characteristics developed by Verizon.
- Information about the quantity, type, destination, location, and amount of use of your Verizon voice services and related billing information (also known as Customer Proprietary Network Information or “CPNI”).
- Other information about your use of Verizon products and services (such as data and calling features and use, FiOS service options, equipment and device types).
Verizon is doing this because it can make them a LOT OF MONEY to sell this information. Verizon knows where you are at all times. How nice of them.
So let’s go back to the Verizon Smart Rewards program. Verizon is a telecommunications company therefore they face regulations that data-selling companies do not. Enter, Verizon Smart Rewards. Oh, that makes sense.
Let’s just hope Verizon doesn’t deem this as some sort of “enhancement” like they did when they were caught red-handed with their creepy Relevant Mobile Ad program which collected data on customers online habits on all devices even without a Verizon connection.