WTFS Tampa Bay by Adam Walser
July 11, 2019
LAKELAND, Fla. — A local woman is blaming the state government for an onslaught of robocalls and direct mail offers – accusations that come as the I-Team uncovered the DMV makes millions by selling Florida drivers personal information to outside companies, including marketing firms.
I-Team Investigator Adam Walser obtained records showing the state sold information on Florida drivers and ID cardholders to more than 30 private companies, including marketing firms, bill collectors, insurance companies and data brokers in the business of reselling information.
The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles raked in more than $77 million for driver and ID cardholder information sales in fiscal 2017.
The I-Team wanted to know how much of that money came from marketing firms, but the agency in charge of driver information estimated it would take 154 hours of research and cost nearly $3,000 for the state to give taxpayers an answer.
A Lakeland woman and her sister told the I-Team they blame DMV sales for an onslaught of recent robocalls and direct mail offers.
Tonia Batson moved from Idaho to Florida last year to live with her twin sister Sonia Arvin, who is now her legal guardian because Batson has an intellectual disability.
“We take her to get an ID because she’s a Medicaid patient,” said Arvin.
Days later, Arvin said Batson started receiving direct mail offers for lawn service, credit cards, cell phones and insurance. She also now receives constant robocalls and salespeople have even started showing up at her door.