We live in an information age where we have access to endless data. Yes, the internet has provided us with access to a vast amount of information, but at a price. There are times where people lose their privacy without even knowing it. Certain details about you can be floating around the web, and you might not be aware of it. How does your information gets public and appear online? Here is how.
Under the Freedom of Information Act, certain federal records are available to the public. Such public records include birth records, death records, marriage records, divorce records, criminal records. Unless specified as confidential, there is a great chance that your personal data is available online.
Unfortunately, there are those who use the internet to steal people's personal information. Hackers and fraudsters steal information using several clever methods:
- Accessing public Wi-Fi networks
This is one of the most common reasons why your personal data may appear online. When you connect with people, either online or on apps, you are exposed. Many people freely provide photos and details about themselves, not considering who is on the receiving end. In certain cases, the personal information that you provided will end up on a public forum.
Another way your personal data gets online is through apps' Terms and Services pages. When you sign up for apps, you provide your name, phone number, email address, and additional data. Then, you scroll through the Terms and Services without reading it. That is a big mistake. In most cases, the terms include providing your data to third parties, such as Google. Then, you will begin to receive ads, phone calls, and emails from those third parties. But you are the one who agreed to it!
How to Prevent Personal Information from Getting Online
First of all, you have to be careful about what data you provide people, websites, or apps. Yes, reading Terms and Conditions can take a while, but it is worth your privacy. You can also skim read these sections and search for apps' and sites' privacy policies.
Also, you can have your personal data taken from public records sites. Most sites allow people to delete their personal data, and you can do so. In either case, you need to be critical and not volunteer your data to third parties. Be smart and protect yourself.