You may be surprised at the amount of your personal financial information that is out there on the internet.
Your credit and debit card details and information on any loans and insurance you may have – are all up for grabs from data brokers.
It’s unfortunate that selling your data is a legal practice, but there are certain ways to make data brokers’ lives harder.
This post will look at 4 of these ways. But first…
What is a financial data broker?
Data brokers collect and sell personal information. This starts with your name and address and covers everything from your address history to your social activities, from your family’s birthdays to the latest purchase you made.
When a data broker is searching for finances, they find and sell any details they discover regarding your credit score, current and past loans, insurance details, credit and debit cards, frequency and type of products you purchase.
Money is made when a data broker ‘sells’ this information. It is not technically sold in the traditional sense, but leased instead to multiple third parties. This is done through subscription contracts, leading to a constant ‘harvesting’ of data by the brokers, to keep up with expectations.
So, what can you do to thwart the plans of financial data brokers?
- Limit when you pay with credit or debit card
Data brokers use your card payment information to judge your financial status. So, it could look like you’re struggling financially, if you use your card for frequent small amounts. You could end up being targeted by dodgy financial services, such as payday loan companies.
Use cash for small purchases when possible, or consider an anonymous, payment method, for example, Cash App.
- Self-opt out
Not always effective and quite time-consuming, opting out from individual broker lists is an option open to you. But it requires patience and it needs to be carried out on a regular basis to ensure you aren’t put back on lists.
Self-opting out can be frustrating as it is the process of tracking and removing your information from their lists — the exact opposite of what the data brokers have been doing.
- Remove personal information from Google
Pay special attention to any personal information appearing on Google. It won’t be so convenient when you end up targeted by loan and credit card companies, promising the answer to all your financial worries.
Requesting that Google removes personal information is just that – a request. Therefore, keep in mind that they will evaluate before deciding whether they will or not, so you could end up disappointed.
- Use a company to opt out for you
If you’re unsure or don’t like the idea of turning detective and hunting down your information, you can enlist a company to do it for you.
The automated process means that removal will happen regularly, so you won’t have to worry about your information making its way back onto a financial data broker’s list.