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Residents personal details sold

PERSONAL details of local residents, almost 100 percent accurate, is being sold online, bringing with it an onslaught of unwanted text messages and phone calls, a local newspaper found after several days investigation.

The "information sellers" claim they can get the most updated personal information from property management companies, banks, telecommunication companies and even shopping malls, Shanghai Morning Post reported today.

Real estate agencies, finance companies and insurance salespeople will buy such information, a seller who claims to have detailed information on 1.7 million residents told the newspaper.

The man, surnamed Zhang, showed the paper his database on his laptop yesterday. Every entry contains regular telephone numbers, cell phone numbers and addresses of home owners around the city. He sold all this information for 6,000 yuan (US$880).

Zhang said he engaged in the business only for several months but he discovered the most recent personal information. However, Zhang didn't reveal where he got the information.

He offered the list of residents of a complex in Minhang District to prove his reliability. The property management company confirmed said the information on 2,584 of the 2,600 home owners was correct.

Zhang also sold the information of 5,939 home owners in Brilliant City in Putuo District to reporters for 200 yuan. The reporters picked 20 of the names at random and confirmed details with 18 people and the other two didn't answer the phone.

A resident surnamed Ye told the newspaper she has kept receiving calls from beauty salons since May this year. They know my name and address, Ye said.
Another resident surnamed Cheng said he was often asked by real estate agencies whether he is willing to sell his house.

"To my surprise, they know the style of my apartment and its total area," he said.

Others said they received text messages offering loans. All of them said they didn't know how their personal information had been revealed, the report said.
Zhang said he earned up to 30,000 yuan a month and plans to hire someone next year to expand his business.

There's no penalty for selling information, the report said. Legal experts urged for a law to protect people's personal information.

Ding Guanghong, a member of the Standing Committee of Shanghai Party Committee, has suggested personal information protection early this year.

The investigation of the newspaper showed property management companies, real estate agencies and banks are all possible to reveal information of their clients.


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