PII everywhere

I just called to make a reservation for dinner tonight at a nice Italian restaurant. Kyra’s birthday is coming up, and she really likes a place in Denver. The hostess asked me for a name and I said “Kyra”, and she asked if that was her last name. Nope. “I need a last name.” I said “Can’t you just put ‘Kyra’?” but she was insistent that it’s simply not possible to hold a reservation without a first and last name. Sigh.

Just a few minutes later I logged into my T-Mobile account so I could download my latest bill. I was informed that my profile was incomplete, and I needed to provide a first and last name. Heaven forbid I look at my T-Mobile account without providing my name!

I get increasingly frustrated by all of the companies who demand personally-identifiable information for every transaction. I’m supposed to give my phone number to get “rewards”, my ZIP code to receive “targeted offers”, my email to “link to my account”, and on and on. Of course I’m not ignorant: I’m well aware that my digital footprint is substantial, and all kinds of marketing companies and web providers know a ton of stuff about me (and share it amongst themselves). Still, I feel like I need to take little steps whenever I can to protect that information and avoid the all-too-common problem of identity theft these days.

So, T-Mobile, you may now refer to me as Mr. Grey.