After checking the privacy policies of 400 randomly selected data brokers, data privacy officer Incogni.com discovered that a third broker may hold private information about Americans’ financial circumstances. In the continued absence of congressional action on a comprehensive US federal privacy law, only five states have so far enacted their own laws to protect private data.
Data brokers are companies that may enter into mutually beneficial business relationships with third parties, usually businesses or other consumers. They know a lot about the people they collect data on: social security numbers, passwords, and even financial information. The online dissemination of their private information on a large scale increases the risk of identity theft of Internet users and even refusal of credit card or loan. Such malicious activity costs businesses and consumers billions of dollars every year.
A recent survey of American consumers by NordVPN found that more than half of Americans would not like to share their financial information with others. Despite the fact that one in three brokers hold sensitive private information, many Americans have not exercised their right to opt out. Based on the California Consumer Protection Act (CCPA), individuals can request to see and delete personal information collected about them by data brokers or request that their information not be sold. The top reason given for not exercising these rights is not knowing they have them to begin with, a recent Consumer Action and Consumer Federation of America (CFA) survey found.
“Data privacy is becoming an increasingly alarming issue, but many people are still unaware of the hidden market in which data brokers operate. As the sensitivity and scope of the data they possess expands, so does the need to be able to pull back from it. . However, based on recent studies, the actual data recovery process has proven to be extremely tedious. This requires legal knowledge and a lot of perseverance”, explains Darius Belejevas, director of Incogni.
But even knowing how to opt out doesn’t guarantee easy access to the financial data data brokers have on consumers. People may struggle to track down data brokers that have it or find the right links to opt out. Consumers are likely to face such convoluted opt-out processes that it will significantly impair their ability to exercise their rights. Some processes involve many complicated steps, including downloading third-party software or going through confusing and intimidating disclosures. These procedures can take hours, days, or even years.
Considering that one in two data brokers have financial information, keeping it safe or protecting it from online compromise can seem like an impossible task. Here are some simple steps to protect it:
– regularly check credit reports,
– use strong passwords,
– reduce paper bills and establish online statements with banks,
– shred old documents,
– use secure websites and Wi-Fi,
– do not carry sensitive documents unless necessary,
– monitor phishing emails for sensitive information,
– and beware of unknown callers.
Incogni.com is a data privacy agent that periodically sends formal data deletion requests to personal information brokers on behalf of our customers. Incogni’s team has the legal experience that clients may not have. Instead of having to read tons of legalese and remember which brokers responded to their emails, Incogni subscribers can simply watch the process through regular updates.
The list of data brokers we have checked: here
Company Name: Incognito
Contact person: Indaugas Plukys
E-mail: Send an email