Data Brokers: Who Are They and Why Are They a Threat to Your Privacy?

Your personal information is being used to fuel a much larger profile. Companies exist solely to sell this information to other organizations and know a staggering amount of personal details about you.

If you’ve ever Googled yourself, you know that images and content shared on social platforms can be linked to your online identity. But did you know that your personal information is being used to fuel a much larger profile and that companies exist solely to sell this information to other organizations and groups? These data brokers, as they are called, have been spying on all of your online activities for years and know a staggering amount of personal details about you as a result.

What’s even more concerning is what they do with this information, they package it up and sell it to companies, government agencies, and individuals without your explicit permission.

As the world grows increasingly digital and people conduct even more activities online, data brokers will have access to greater amounts of information. That’s why now is the time to learn more about them, and what you need to do to limit their access to your personal data. Here, we’ll shed light on the murky data broker industry and what you can do to address this growing privacy threat.

What Information Do Data Brokers Collect?

One data broker claims to have files on 10% of the world’s population with up to 1,500 pieces of information on any single person. This data can be culled from public records and private sources such as government records, census forms, online and offline purchase history, and Web browsing behavior. From these and other sources, data brokers can easily put together a profile that includes income, education, occupation and real estate transactions, in addition to demographic data and contact information.

The Threat to Your Personal Privacy

In addition, publicly accessible data broker sites such as Spokeo or Whitepages can be used by individuals to obtain your private information. To get an idea of how extensive this detail can be, do a Web search of your name and see what pops up. There are numerous implications for how this information can be used against you, ranging from lost job opportunities due to an embarrassing arrest record through to extortion and online bullying.

How Can You Stay Safe?

One of the most challenging things about data collection is that changes to your personal behavior can only do so much. It’s important to read all privacy policies carefully before you provide consent but, even then, data brokers still have a wealth of your personal information from other sources. New data is generated about you every time you purchase from a new retailer, move to a new address, change jobs, or just open your web browser to begin a new search.

IDShield can help you fight back against data brokers by getting your personal information deleted from their databases. In addition, by continually monitoring these sites, our team ensures that any new information is removed as soon as it surfaces.

IDShield Protection Features Include

  • Dark web surveillance
  • Unlimited consulting with fraud experts
  • 24/7 access for emergency support
  • Monthly credit score tracker
  • Support with credit report disputes
  • Scan your social media for unwanted images and posts
  • Watch your financial accounts for unwanted activity

Blogs, Articles and Other Related Links

How to Stop Data Brokers Profiting from Your Information
How to Stop Data Brokers Profiting from Your Information

These are just a few examples of the types of information that data brokers are continually collecting about you, and the size and scale of this industry is staggering. One data broker claims to have files on 10% of the world's population with up to 1,5000 pieces of information on any single person.

Data Brokers: What They Know and how They Collect Your Data
Data Brokers: What They Know and how They Collect Your Data

The answer is hard to nail down. The impact on your life is also challenging to measure without a full picture of the issue, and you’ll have to dig deep to uncover and limit what’s shared about you.