Blog,  Digital Privacy

Becoming Anonymous Online – How it Started

One night, while putting off a particular product purchase for months, I decide to do some research. This particular product was a holster for my gun. I wanted something on my chest for when I walk the dog in the woods.

A few short clicks and quick search brought me to Galco Gun Leather. I had never heard of them before, or been to their website. I saw what looked like nice stuff, but they did not have the product I needed – did not have a holster that would fit my gun.

Oh well… I left to continue my search and ask some friends for their suggestions.

Being lazy, I just grabbed my wife’s computer, not my normal one to do all this. A short 10 minutes later, an email showed up in my gmail asking if I wanted 10% off.

Not just any email, but an email from the company I have never heard of, never been there before, and never signed up.

I am not an easy person to freak out and knew there was a simple explanation for it, but this started me down a rabbit hole, I would quickly find myself falling down, not crawling.

Oh, and Galco, if you’re reading this… I will NEVER buy from you just because you did this. Pity too… Looked like good stuff for my other guns. But I digress.

Just looking around – Little did I know where it would send me

So How Did That Happen?

I looked at the email and it wasn’t from their domain, it was from a company called SafeOpt.

Oddly named since they Opted Me In without my asking. I looked them up next.

Capture more visitors?

It is an interesting concept and it is spelled out clearly

They know who you are will will find out

It is honestly a fair concept on trying to retain customers but the actual exercise of sending unsolicited emails to someone that never signed up crosses that line of good taste and steps well over it into something that should be considered creepy.

So of course they used my information collected at some other website, cross checked it with my IP, location, computer, etc and decided it was me and sent the email.

To be somewhat fair, it does say that you need to sign up and everything is “anonymous”. All I know is that someone has my email and that I never signed up.

Ok? Now what?

Now it was time to disappear. What could I actively do to make sure that wouldn’t happen again? How much would it cost, what would I need to do and/or give up, and would it really even be feasible?

I decided I wanted to try. Down the rabbit hole we go….

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