Mon Dec 30 19:16:05 UTC 2002

        "Pretexting," or "pretext calling," has been around for a few years.  Commissioner Mozelle Thompson of the Federal Trade Commission described it in 1998, in testimony available at http://www.ftc.gov/os/1998/9807/pretexttes.htm:

        >>"Pretexting" is a term coined by the private investigation industry, and refers to the practice of obtaining personal information under false pretenses. For example, an investigator who obtains a bank account balance by posing as the account holder would be engaged in pretexting.<<

        For an earlier cite, here's a story about a private investigation firm, from the L.A. Times on 10/9/88:

        >>Kroll employees sometimes do not identify themselves or their purpose in telephone calls. They are called "pretext calls," and there are no written guidelines for them. Kroll investigators simply say they are working for a consulting firm or doing business research. On rare occasions, they make up names for themselves and their employers, but they are not supposed to say that they work for another real company. Or a newspaper.<<

        Pretext calling to financial institutions was outlawed in 1999 by the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (which does not use the term).  As it happens, I do quite a bit of work with the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, particularly its privacy provisions.

John Baker

-----Original Message-----
From: Erin McKean [mailto:editor at VERBATIMMAG.COM]
Sent: Monday, December 30, 2002 1:52 PM
Subject: "pretexting"

In the Chicago Trib today (sec 1 p. 8 col. 2):

(The woman mentioned, Amy Boyer, was killed by a stalker who got her
SSN and work address through Docusearch. Her parents are suing
Docusearch for invasion of privacy, negligence, etc.)

Schulman, at the hearing, argued that none of the information
Docusearch provided was private. Docusearch had hired a woman who
called Boyer and her family to get her work address without revealing
why she was calling, a technique known as "pretexting."

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