When you buy a new toaster, it's easy to get burned long before the bread pops up. The source? The warranty card included in the packaging.
"Warranty cards are primarily used by the product's manufacturer to profile you," explains California identity theft attorney Mari Frank. "They will then sell that information to others, who in turn send you mailings for their own products and services. That's why warranty cards so often ask you for your household income, how many kids you have, what your hobbies and interests are."
How to Protect Yourself
Provided you keep the receipt, a product is under warranty for the designated period whether you return the warranty card or not. If you unwisely choose to "register" your purchase with the manufacturer, submit the warranty card bearing nothing more than your name, address and date of purchase. (If required, enclose a copy of your receipt.) In the same mailing, specify that your personal information is not to be distributed to others.