It seems like every time you turn around a sweepstakes offer is waiting in the mail or a store is asking you to sign-up for their rewards program. Contests and offers are one of the most common ways for companies to collect your information. For example, when it comes to contests there will be far more people that will enter than who will actually win. Subsequently these companies that collect your data don’t just throw away your information after you become one of the lucky losers. They keep it for a later time and resell it to other companies.
Whether it’s offers we receive in the mail or online, there are ways that you can prevent your information from spreading further and getting into the hands of more companies, identity thieves, and other opportunists. So here are some tips and reminders to help you control your data:
1) Avoid signing up for offers, contests, and retail magazines – It’s tempting because they are free to join but one of the worst things you can do if you want to protect your privacy data. Advertisers give you the opportunity to sign up for free so they can resell your information and charge someone else for it. Beware that what you are giving away freely may end up costing you in the long run as you try to recoup damages from identity theft or some other act of crime victimization.
2) Opt-out your credit report from allowing the credit bureaus to market and sell your information – You may have received notices in the mail such as “You Are Pre-Approved” even right after you just bought a new car or house, or at least applied for some line of credit. Much of this traffic comes from the credit bureaus themselves who are allowed by law to opt-in all consumers for marketing purposes. You can call (888) 5-OPTOUT or (888) 567-8688 to opt out of pre-approved offers of credit or go online to www.optoutprescreen.com. This stops companies from accessing your credit report who don’t have your permission to access it.
3) Set your privacy settings high on all social networking accounts – Data miners are running to social networks to create lists for their own websites or to create mailing lists for marketing. Don’t become the next data mining victim and make your information available to the public through a social network. Take advantage of privacy settings on your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and any other accounts you may have online.
4) Get a Privacy for Cops Privacy Kit today. – Designed especially with law enforcement and their families in mind, The Public Safety Assistance Foundation recognized that there could be so much more done for police privacy and police safety, to protect the data of law enforcement agents who hold very public positions. Our privacy kits opt-out the information of police officers and public officials from the databases of data miners, removing their information from the internet and from the eyes of those who retaliate against law enforcement.
Protecting your privacy is an effort that we all must take control of as the harvesting of consumer data has become a permanent industry practice. No matter whether you use the internet or not does not prevent your data from being acquired so it’s not too late. You can take control of your privacy.