I got this “IMPORTANT BUSINESS CREDIT NOTIFICATION” envelope in the mail yesterday from Dun & Bradstreet:
They come every few months. I also get the occasional phone call from D&B asking me for details about my company, Hollow Tree Software. The letter said:
Another company has requested your credit file and we wanted to review your file with you.
I used to reply to these letters, and when someone called I told them the same thing: Hollow Tree Software has been out of business for 25 years. You can search various business sites and learn that:
- Hollow Tree Software was started in 2010 (it was actually ~1985)
- It had an estimated revenue of $92,000 in 2011 (it was $0).
- It is a software company (Hollow Tree manufactured computer cables and never sold software)
- It employs 2 people (it never had any employees)
I’ve called D&B and written them multiple times. They just keep sending letters and calling. It’s just marketing to them, and it’s just marketing to pretty much everyone in the public records business.
One might wonder just how this spurious record comes to exist, and I am fairly certain that I know that answer. Way back when I applied to the State of South Carolina for a retail license for that company, I also bought a business membership in Sam’s Club. That name is still on my Sam’s account along with my current address, and that is the only place in the world where I put Hollow Tree Software and my address together. Sam’s provided the data that has caused the annoyance. I’m guessing that they got 2 employees from the two Sam’s cards I have (me and Ms. Conspiracy), but the estimated revenue figure seems to have been pulled out of the air. Needless to say, I’m dropping my Sam’s Club membership.
I wrote about the fallacy of blindly trusting “system” outputs in my 2012 article, “The F.L.A.W.”