(WXYZ) – Bringing our work and social lives online may have ticked the box for convenience, but it comes with a caveat. Our privacy has been seriously compromised.
Experts say a simple Internet search can reveal a person’s home address, phone number, and more.
In fact, according to the latest annual data breach report, the total number of data breaches last year increased by more than 68% compared to 2020.
Elizabeth Lucas, a strength coach in Michigan, can relate to the pain of watching friends suffer because of rising crime.
“It’s such a hassle. It takes years and years to go back and get a new number and a new address and switch and stop paying and stuff,” Lucas said.
Most people don’t realize they’ve been a victim of identity theft until it’s too late. To make matters worse, OneRep senior vice president Mark Kapczynski says you can find out a lot about someone online in 30 seconds these days.
“They’re called people-finding websites,” says a security expert. “They’re actually buying all of our personal information, names, addresses of birth, places of employment, everything about our children. The worst part is that they just don’t store it to sell on their site. They create pages that Google can index. , so it shows up in Google.”
It’s easy for cybercriminals to bypass two authentications on your phone. Kapczynski says one of the starting points is when shoppers sign up for a rewards program or join a store’s mailing list. That’s when they risk selling their information to matchmaking websites.
“This problem does not exist in other countries where there are companies that can literally sell personal information on the Internet. It is surprising to me that we have not put an end to this from a legislative point of view,” states Kapchynskyi. .
Lucas thinks it’s crazy that this is a US problem.
“I don’t feel safe because I don’t want to shop. I don’t want to receive my information,” Lucas said.
Kapczynski says it’s scary that there are more than 150 websites selling your information.
Changing your passwords and having an extra email and phone number are all good things to start with. However, Kapczynski says one of the most effective solutions is to subscribe to a web cleaning service, where a customer’s data is tracked and removed whenever it appears.
“First of all, we have to stop companies from selling your data,” says Kapczynski. “Don’t count on 300 million Americans having to solve this problem on their own.”
If you have plans to get into the dating world, Kapczynski advises clearing your data, as he’s seen stalkers use dating profile data to find a person’s address and show up on their doorstep.