What Do Data Brokers Know About You?
October 14, 2020
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The prevelance of reverse phone number lookups, people search engines, data brokers, social media conglomerates, and other gigantic publishers that post personally identifying information about you are very concerning to many. Key details such as your phone number are of course one of the biggest concerns because spammers can use it to spam you, identity thieves can use it to take over your Multi-Factor Authentication On Your Bank and other services among many other problems. And of course identity thieves are always after the holy grail of information, your Social Security Number. But there's many more facts and details about your life that these data brokers can figure out, publish, and guess with some degree of confidence. Here are just some of the details that they can potentially figure out about you through social media, data crawls, public records, and more.
Personally Identifying Data: Name, address, birth date, phone numbers, email address, social security number, driver’s license number.
Financial data: Annual income, credit score, credit card info, ownership of stocks or bonds, recent mortgage borrower, life insurance, loans, Bitcoin or other digital currency ownership, businesses owned or worked for.
Demographic data: Age, gender, sexual preference, height, weight, marital status, country of origin, education level, occupation
Purchase behaviour: Amount spent on goods, buying activity, number of orders, buying channel preference, types of purchases, type of food purchased, type of entertainment purchased
Health data: Exercise habits and schedule. Injuries, Illnesses, and prescriptions, allergies suffered, health insurance plan, weight loss and supplements, disability insurance, purchase history in health topics, smoker in the household
More: Courtroom records and criminal public record data, social media and technology data, general interest data, home and neighborhood data, message board comments, political opinions, vehicle data, IP addresses, web search history, travel data and vacation schedule, where you lived through your life, previous sexual partners, and other biographical facts
Inferences and Algorithms. Besides objective facts that are garnered from various data sources, various machine machine learning algorithms can use the collected data about you to draw unique inferences and make frighteningly unique connections. Facebook can use different information they gain about you to find out that you're probably pregnant before you even know based on mass population trends about what you like and search for. They can even figure out when you're likely in the bathroom with a frightening degree of confidence.
It's important to know what's at stake and why following safest privacy practices is so important. The best case scenario from your personal data being out there is that you'll be subjected to lots of annoying and intrusive-feeling ads. The worst case scenario from your personal information being out there is identity theft, home invasion and robbery, and more. This is why a privacy enhancement service is so important in this current time period that doesn't yet have full data collection and publishing laws that completely protect individual rights.
We hope you enjoyed reading this guide and learned something new! Check out our Learning Center to learn more about online privacy and security or consider subscribing to our Online Privacy Service to remove your phone number, name, and address from Google, Bing, Yahoo, and DuckDuckGo search results and hundreds of data broker sites.