August 24, 2019

Personal and Financial Privacy: Just How Do Businesses and Professionals You Work With Use Your Sensitive and Confidential Information?

Client Privacy.

At Fouts Financial Group, I recognize the critical importance of protecting the privacy of sensitive and confidential Client information, data, and documents.  You can read the Fouts Financial Group Client Policy here.

But just how is your sensitive and confidential information used by other businesses and professionals you work with?  You may be surprised ... And not in a good way.  Unlike Fouts Financial Group, many businesses and professionals use your sensitive and what-should-be confidential information in just about any way they want to.  And for some businesses and professionals who maintain such operations, there is no way for the consumer or client to opt out of such practices.  Practices which, in my opinion, are unethical at best, and sometimes potentially illegal.

One example - On behalf of a client, I recently read the Privacy Policy of a Walnut Creek, CA Property Management Company, which I'll leave nameless for this blog.  The Company's accounting department had broadly asked for my Clients "insurance information" before paying and invoice for professional services my Client had performed for a Homeowners Association managed by the Property Management Company.

That raised a red flag for me, given that the (1) the Property Management Company had not contractual relationship with my Client, and (2) there is absolutely no reason an accounting clerk needs someone's insurance information before paying an invoice, and (3) the Property Management Company and their accounting department had no need to know and obtain my Client's insurance information and documents.

Then I read the Property Management Company's Privacy Policy.  And was absolutely astounded, and not in a good wayThe Privacy Policy essentially stated that the Property Management Company could do, and did do, just about anything it wanted for any information it received, including using the information for promotional and marketing purposes, and combining information with "other" information received .  You can bet this unethical Property Management Company got none of my Client's insurance documents.

And to add to it, the Property Manager I communicated with called my reaction "terse" and stated I was the only "vendor" of hundreds they cut checks to each month that refused comply with this "routine" request.

Hogwash, I say!  Keep your private personal and information just that way ... private and safe.  If someone, or a business, doesn't need to know it or have it, or otherwise cannot provide absolute assurance that private and perhaps confidential information will be used only for the intended purpose, don't hand your information over.

Oh, and the Property Management Company's Yelp reviews?  The company has a paltry 2 stars (out of 5 stars) rating with 40 published reviews.  So looks like I have plenty of company giving this company a big thumbs down.   

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About Mary Rae Fouts, EA

Mary Rae Fouts, EA provides Tax Services, Insurance Consulting Services, Annuity Consulting Services, and Expert Witness Services to clients who typically have technical or complex concerns.  For more information visit

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  1. Who is the company?

    1. I am not going to disclose the name of the company at this time. If you look on Yelp you may be able to figure out who the company is yourself. mrf


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