Today I spent an hour on the phone with my bank USAA. Not for any improper calculations, I was asking about legalities of what I should disclose to a potential landlord. The application form conceivably asked every personal question except, when was my last OBGYN examine and blood type. The form requested: social security number, all bank accounts and numbers, past employers and how much money I made (?) – where did I live. Had I filed bankruptcy, had I committed a felony :(, when and how long have I had my car insurance and more?
Recently, in global news we have had numerous hackers breaking big box store credit card lines; the Cloud was hacked, more recent, Heartbleed bug. Target was hacked, many of us received automative bank cards in the mail from our concerned banking institutions. USAA sent out notices online and some of us were phoned regarding purchases and the legitimacy of expenditures, followed up by a new cards FedX’d whether we had been at Target or not.
The conundrum I see here is: the person I am applying for a lease with is a stranger. By all accounts, my new landlord is calm and delightful nice man, with a deportment of integrity and a loving mellow dog, (I am a nice lady of integrity moving home to Colorado). This nice gentleman has a small apartment for rent (until I find my own home), with an area for my two Arabians and Sadë my calm dog. It is very pricey, in a nice area of Colorado called Lafayette. Nonetheless, he is asking for all the same information the hackers steal when assaulting Target and other recent institutions.
We are told to guard ~ protect even hide our information. There are for profit companies online you can pay to guard your private information, while giving them (another stranger) the very information you wish to safeguard. We write this information down everywhere to many strangers; have you ever called a pharmacy for a refill on your prescription? That pharmacy employee, a voice on the phone, another stranger, is viewing all your pertinent private parts of your life on their computer! Or have you filled out an online application (job)? Your information is in the universal ethers for everyone to see.
I had my purse stolen when walking home one evening. The Denver police (six months later) phoned me, requesting to deliver my ID in person. This is an odd request thinking to myself. I expressed to them the ID had been replaced months prior, but they insisted on visiting me.
Why? Because they were booking a prostitute for dubious errant crimes in my name. Evidently, she appeared similar to my picture. What made them question the validity of her identity was, I lived in an upscale area of Denver ~ called Cherry Creek. I said to the officers, “well that would look interesting on my resume, booked for prostitution when working at a hospital or corporation”. They were not amused, I was and still am amused at all the hoopla, and thankful the police department taking the time to come visit me, while I assured them I was not dealing in sideline affairs :~)
My quandary is, today I stopped and questioned giving a stranger all the information the IT hackers have hacked many institutions illegally. Authorities spew forth warnings on radio, TV, plastered all over the internet Warning, Warning, Warning. And yet this information, the foreboding warnings given to the public to never ever give out, is the exact information I am to hand over to a stranger, a landlord, to lease a petite apartment whom I do not know. Yes we met in person, we are both pleasant people, and that is all we know of each other.
Our world is paranoid on the left and transparent on the right; we are peculiar creatures we humans.
The hour long conversation with my USAA legal representative lead me to some interesting questions, and he agreed with me; it is a strange world we live in. Then I stated, “why don’t we just published all information on the internet, stop the hackers, and if we wish to buy or lease something, it’s already available”. And then with an afterthought I stated, “we can buy all this information on the internet now!” What are we protecting ourselves against? Our common sense? Our intuition and perception of people? Our privacy has no private parts these days.
Most children with computers disclose to everyone they know about their families and friends on Facebook, Twitter and other online networks. Why are there applications for everything, including jobs, rentals, purchases even with cash? Why are there not applications for having children? There are applications for adopting a dogs and cats!
People are videoed everywhere, cell phone cameras are more effective than most police enforcements. UTube; hasn’t everyone been streamed at this point online somewhere? Oopps, do I need to go to Victoria Secret and get new panties? They have video cameras showing the world what style I like in my lingerie; simply silk and lace!
In the end, I trust my instincts. My new landlord is a gentleman with a businessman’s good instincts. His land represents his care and diligence, the views are spectacular – He is working to assure my Arabs paddock and other areas are safe. This is priceless to me, although I was wishing to not rent a pricey amount, the close by town of Lafayette was a targeted area for me. Sade, Sammie Kewl Kat (children’s book in the making) and my two Arabs will be safe; I do need to find a place to ride my Arab endurance.
Last thought, I was brought up in the military ~ we kept secrets and the best way to keep something private, don’t ever tell someone you have a secret. More efficient, if you think you have a secret, forget the secret; this guarantees there are no secrets to be disclosed.
Post Script:The end result is I did not rent from this man. When a person asked too much information and then adds additional charges into a lease; these are RED FLAGS! In end, I sent a professional letter to my perspective landlord stating I disagree with the application after speaking to legal representatives. Also, the additional non-discussed increases of charges in the lease.
He replied with disappointment. There is disappointment on both side. One more red flag, when anyone delivers any comment that has “guilt” targeted to make you feel lesser than for your choices. Drop that person with poise! Always be grateful for extra work that person may have done; agitation does not work for either party – it is best to let go of the issue and move forward.
In our error of transparency, all must be mindful. The only places we might chose to volunteer out SS# are for banks, loans, mortgages, licenses, additional degrees in schools, IRS, otherwise this private information inclusive of releasing work and salary information WTM!! in a stranger’s hands.
Personally, my intuition was well intact. If I am experiencing a highly emotional day, I call a well trusted friend or two to review my emotions/angst and quandary over any subject. My gut being twisted for a few days was all I needed, to reach out and ask, “Is this appropriate”? And if not, maybe the laws/rules need to change.
I invite you to the Human Work Place for job information. This is a fantastic company founded by Liz Ryan http://humanworkplace.com/ on what to say in job interviews, any questions on ethics and changing the interviewing and job market.