Database firms selling name lists

  • Nation
  • Wednesday, 10 Aug 2005

PETALING JAYA: Some computer database companies are selling master lists containing confidential particulars supplied by their clients to property agents, salesmen and telemarketers. 

According to a senior executive with a developer’s firm here, most developers engaged database companies to draw up master lists of their buyers. 

“These companies openly sell the master lists to property agents at prices starting from RM8,000. A complete list of buyers for a luxury housing scheme in Damansara or Subang can easily fetch up to RM13,000. 

“The value of a master list will cost less when passed on to second, third and subsequent hands but can still be sold for a couple of thousand ringgit,” she said. 

A few developers, she added, were also directly involved in selling master lists of their buyers to real estate agents. 

“Some of the developers work hand in hand with the agents once the project is about 80% complete,” she said. 

The executive added that developers would often write down the names and contact numbers of their clients on pieces of paper instead of passing over the list printed from the computer.  

“This is done to avoid detection in case the list falls into the wrong hands,” she said. 

The Star reported yesterday that people employed by developers, banks, telecommunication firms, utility companies and car distributors were selling database containing personal particulars of their clients to third parties such property agents, salesmen and contractors.  

As a result, many of those on the lists had been contacted by the third parties. 

A former employee of a real estate agent, who only wants to be known as Kay, called The Star to say staff members of a utility company used to help him obtain the list of residents in a particular housing estate. 

“I used to buy master list of houseowners from meter readers, who would sell the complete list at between RM500 and RM1,000 a copy,” he said.  

Kay added that real estate agents would often exchange master lists so that they would have a larger pool of potential customers. 

However, a property agent identified only as Tan said he could not understand the fuss over the sale of such data. 

“We are not breaking any law as we are just buying information. Actually we are doing our prospective clients a favour as very often people do not have time to source for agents to help them buy, sell or rent properties,” he said. 

Celcom vice-president (corporate communications) Norliza Kamaruddin said the company did not divulge any information about its customers to third parties. 

“It is definitely not coming from us,” she said. 

Tenaga Nasional Bhd senior manager (media relations) Syed Hidzam Osman also said the company did not pass on its clients’ particulars. 

“Our customer database is strictly private and confidential,” he said. 

Sustainable Development Network Malaysia president Bishan Singh felt that cases involving the sale of such details should be referred to the Commercial Crimes Department. 

“Selling of confidential information should not be tolerated as it is causing a great nuisance to the public and would become worse if not checked,” he said. 


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