I was surprised last week to discover an email in my inbox from one Donald J Trump, subject heading 'Heard you're on the team?', and inviting me (by name) to take a survey. Since I am not, never have been and never will be among the bigoted ranks of 'Team Trump' I was perplexed (and not a little revolted!) but decided to click the survey link and give the toxic manbaby a piece of my mind. This I was unable to do, however, as it asked me to choose where I lived from the dropdown menu and, unsurprisingly, my UK hometown was not included.
Oh well, I thought, the screenshots of the email might make an amusing social media post, although his saying he wanted to 'reach out to me personally' caused a shudder.
I thought no more about it - until this morning I received a second email, from DonaldJTrump.com, with the subject heading 'Account Completion: 3/3 [Final Step!]. Not having taken steps 1 or 2, I was disturbed, and opened the email to see if I could establish why on earth anyone would think I had. It left me none the wiser, although apparently as a 'new member' of Team Trump I am entitled to 20% off the official 'iconic' symbol of 'the world's greatest movement' - the Make America great Again baseball cap. Imagine my unbridled delight.
Often seemingly random emails can be explained by scrolling to the bottom where you will see the message 'you are receiving this email because...' but there was nothing of the kind. There was, however, a link that said Update Profile.
Update what profile? I haven't got a 'profile' - I clicked on it and guess what? Apparently I have...
'Welcome to your subscriber profile page. You may use this page at any time to change or update the information you have provided us.' it said. But here's the thing - I haven't 'provided' them with ANY information.
The URL for the page i landed on was click.campaigns.rnchq.com/profile_center. So I tried rnchq.com to find who the people were that thought I'd joined their merry band of bigots. And got this.
Following Google's suggested alternative, I tried rnchq.org, and was not entirely surprised when it took me to the home page of the Republican National Committee...
The site has no contact form, so I was unable to ask why they were sending me emails. So I tried the link for the 20% hat discount - which took me to shop.donaldjtrump.com where the apparently coveted caps are a snip at just $25.00! This site also lacks a contact form.
Although the emails DID contain an 'Unsubscribe' link, I don't think that is actually the point. My question is, exactly HOW did these people get hold of my contact information in the first place? In light of recent data-related events, I'm far from comfortable that anyone, and particularly anyone Trump-related, should be able to access my personal information, or that of any other foreign nationals, with apparent ease.
Lacking any further alternatives, I have replied to both emails asking how they acquired my data and why they state that I have 'provided' it when this is untrue, and demanding that they delete any and all information they hold about me.
I would be interested to hear from anyone who has received similar emails without being aware of any reason they should be contacted.