Data aggregation, personal data, personal information

The Snowball Effect of Putting Personal Information on the Internet

How many times have you put your personal information on the internet? What sites are now displaying your info for everyone to see?

The most common culprits are social media platforms.

Any time you put personal information on the internet, the effect can snowball quickly, creating a risky situation that includes a high chance your identity will be stolen.

What is Data Aggregation?

The reason your information is unsafe on social media—and nearly any other platform on the web—is most often due to data aggregation sites such as MyLife or PeopleSearch.

As data mining systems, data aggregators spend their time scraping the internet for your personal information. Once collected, they turn around and sell that info with other sites—those that then feature that data in search results.

When you post or share your information online, it becomes fair game to hundreds of data aggregation sites, most of which you have never visited.

Fraudsters

Another problem with sharing personal info is that it may one day become available to fraudsters.

When identity thieves gain access to your basic personal info, your credit, finances and even your family’s safety could be under serious threat. Personal data that criminals commonly find on the web include your:

  • Bank account information
  • Credit card information
  • Social security number
  • Driving records
  • Insurance info
  • Tax information
  • Medical information
  • Past addresses and phone numbers
  • And more!

The Snowball Effect

If you’re like most people, that snowball of information—names, addresses, phone numbers, emails, birthdates and more—likely started small.

Soon, however, it snowballed out of control—making you and your family vulnerable, and threatening to run you over at any moment.

Stolen identities can ruin lives and put your loved ones at risk.

If your personal information is leaving you exposed, your first instinct (and rightfully so) may be to remove it. It’s at this point you’ll likely encounter a few issues, including:

  • Widespread accessibility of your data on hundreds of sites across the web, making removal a considerable, time-consuming challenge.
  • Unresponsiveness and delay, as some may take months to process your removal request, while others will refuse outright.
  • Potentially high legal costs that come with fighting such sites in court.
  • The ongoing spread of your info to new sites throughout the web, turning your efforts into a never-ending battle.

What to Do

Now that you understand how personal info can snowball, it is time to act. Start a plan to remove your information from the web today. Every day you delay is a day that you are vulnerable to identity theft.

Begin by:

  1. Assessing the damage

Take time to explore every result with your name on Google, Bing and other search engines. Assess your vulnerability and note every link that displays your information.

  1. Mitigating the problem

Increase your privacy settings across all social media and networking sites so only you can see your personal information. Leaving it visible, even to loved ones, puts you at risk.

Delete any account information you have immediate access to as soon as possible.

  1. Delegating to a Pro

Find a trained team to help remove your personal information from the internet. Delegating your response to professionals provides the best opportunity to halt the snowball effect as quickly as possible.

If your personal information is online, don’t wait another second. Contact Reputation Sciences today for a complimentary consultation.

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