Last Update: April 26, 2012
Watchdog is committed to protecting the personal information of investors and advisors. We store information provided by investors and advisors on our secure servers and credit card information provided to a third-party provider for processing the payment of advertising fees is encrypted using SSL technology. Credit card data is not stored on our servers. It resides at the third party processor.
Watchdog’s internal site is password protected and available to investors who establish user accounts, advisors who advertise in the Directory, and advisors who submit data to Watchdog. Investors and advisors should not share their passwords with anyone. Watchdog will never ask investors or advisors for their passwords in an unsolicited phone call or email. If investors or advisors use a computer, which is accessible to others, they should remember to log out and close their browser window when leaving the Watchdog website.
Watchdog takes the issue of safeguarding privacy and confidentiality seriously for visitors, investors, or advisors. Watchdog exercises great care to ensure that the personally identifiable information you may provide to us for the purposes set forth below is kept confidential and secure. Watchdog’s policy is to collect the minimum amount of information Watchdog needs to provide services to investors and advisors. In addition, Watchdog collects IP addresses for our site’s security and to provide us with information regarding the users of the site to help us improve the sites’ performance and services. We collect the following types of personally identifiable information: Name, e-mail, and telephone number. We use a device known as a “cookie.” A cookie is a piece of data stored on the user’s hard drive that contains information about a user. There are two types of cookies persistent cookies and session cookies. Persistent cookies get written to a file called a “cookie jar” on the user’s hard drive and are retrieved every time a site is accessed. Session cookies are similar to persistent cookies except that the information does not get written to the hard drive and disappears when users close their browser. Watchdog does not link the information we store in cookies to any personally identifiable information that you submit while on our site. Watchdog’s website uses session cookies. If users do not accept cookies, they may still use our website’s information and functions on the external site; however, investors and advisors will not be able to use the internal, password protected service sections. These sections require a cookie that is set to identify a particular computer to Watchdog’s web servers. This cookie is called a Session ID and consists of a 32-digit sequence of random numbers and letters generated by Watchdog’s web servers each time our site is called up. This is necessary so our computers can match logged-in users with their user account information. This cookie will be deleted when users log out or close their browsers. In addition to cookies, Watchdog’s website may also use tiny electronic images (”single-pixel GIFs” or “Web beacons”), which allow Watchdog to count users who have visited specific pages or access certain cookies. Watchdog may use single-pixel GIFs in the following ways: (I) to count and recognize users; (ii) to conduct research on behalf of some partners on their websites and for auditing purposes; (iii) to determine aggregate information about users, including demographic and usage information. In general, any electronic image viewed as part of a web page, including an ad banner, can act as a web beacon. Watchdog does not link the information it stores in cookies to any personally identifiable information you submit while you are on Watchdog’s website.
We use third parties to provide Web Hosting, Web Development, and Search Engine Optimization services on Watchdog’s website. When you submit your data to us for processing, we will share your data, as necessary with the designated third parties so they can provide their specific services. These third parties are prohibited from using your personally identifiable information for any other purpose.
Watchdog collects personal information to provide investors and advisors with specialized services that contain relevant content. In addition, Watchdog conducts research on investor and advisor demographics, interests, and behavior based on information that is voluntarily provided to Watchdog. This information is compiled and analyzed on a generalized basis and is not investor or advisor specific. We do not share, sell, trade, or rent your personal information to third parties for unknown reasons. Watchdog may also use your email to conduct surveys and send you free special research reports and newsletters that provide current information about financial advisors and related commentary. There is an opt-out function on each of the surveys, research reports, and newsletters.
Watchdog will send you strictly service-related announcements on rare occasions when it is necessary to do so. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance, we might send you an email. Generally, you may not opt-out of these communications, which are usually not promotional in nature. If you do not wish to receive them, you have the option of deactivating your user account. To deactivate your account, you must notify us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at 916.253.3334.
If you choose to use our referral service to tell a friend about our site, we will ask you for your friend’s name and email address. We will automatically send your friend a one-time email inviting him or her to visit the site. Watchdog stores this information for the purpose of sending this one-time email and free, informative research reports. Your friend may contact us at email@example.com to request that we remove his or her information from our database or use the opt-out function on the research report.
Financial advisors advertise their services in the Watchdog Directory of Financial Professionals. Advisors also submit data that Watchdog uses to prepare reports that are uploaded to the user accounts of investors. Advisors can request Watchdog delete their data at any time by notifying Watchdog. Watchdog maintains a record of the data that was provided by advisor in the event the advisor wants to be reactivated in the Watchdog Directory.
If investors or advisors want to update personal information, they should login to the internal website and click on the function that enables them to make changes. Investors and advisors are able to change User IDs (email addresses), update passwords, select Watchdog tools, input the names of advisors, view reports, change advertisement service levels, and update professional profiles.
Watchdog may provide the names, email addresses and telephone numbers of advisors who want to advertise their services on Watchdog Directory to a third party that produces referrals for financial advisors.
Watchdog may provide the names, email addresses and telephone numbers of investors who use our web-based services to a third party that has a contractual relationship with Watchdog’s in the event Watchdog does not provide some or all of the services that investors are seeking.
Watchdog’s website is not intended for use by minors under the age of 18. The site is operated in compliance with the Children’s Online Privacy Act and will not knowingly collect or use personally identifiable information from anyone under the age of 18.