If you are sick and tired of having your data collected and sold to third parties – a practice that goes on continuously, both with and without your knowledge – then read on. There are a few simple but effective strategies you can use, going forward, to keep your sensitive information well-protected from data brokers.
What is a data broker?
A data broker is anyone that gathers, assesses, and distributes your data for their own gain. Unfortunately, there are many of them about, working in a variety of different fields – from healthcare to recruitment, and marketing. They purchase your data from the websites you frequently use, such as social media sites, or trade data with other brokers; this information is then sold on to other unknown businesses without your consent.
Secure your privacy settings
When did you last check the privacy settings on your devices and social media accounts?
If you’re concerned about keeping your sensitive data as private as possible, adjusting your privacy settings is crucial. Social media sites allow you to control who can view your profile and contact details, and your activity logs can also be deleted if you would prefer. You should also be careful when using these sites, steering clear of unfamiliar or suspicious profiles and being cautious about how much information you share.
Use the opt-out option
You may not realise it but there are a number of people-search sites which collect information gathered from resources such as subscription sites and social media platforms. These search sites then publish this information, so it can be used by everyone from potential employers to estranged relatives who want to catch up for old times’ sake.
It’s highly possible that at least one of these sites has already published your details, but, before you panic, check if the site has an opt-out policy. If so, then make sure you sign up, and your data is removed.
Invest in a data removal service
In the wake of the data brokers’ surge out there, companies such as Incogni provide an automated data removal service.
By subscribing to their services, users can avoid the hassle of manually opting out from data brokers’ databases – a process that typically takes hundreds of hours. Instead, the data removal company will contact the brokers and take care of the opting-out process on your behalf.
As a result, this will reduce the likelihood of falling victim to phishing, identity theft, shadow profiles, and hackers.
Take care when opening emails and apps
Hackers trying to gain access to people’s sensitive data have come up with a variety of cunning ways to do so. These include sending emails or creating apps, which catch people’s attention and leave their devices open to infiltration. To avoid this, delete any suspicious emails you receive without opening them, and only download and use verified apps created by trusted developers.
By following these simple steps, you should be able to keep your data protected – not only from data brokers but from hackers too.