Everything you need to Know about Data Brokers
What are data brokers exactly? Well, as the name implies, they are large organized database companies who harvest data from a great many sources and then sell it to the highest bidder. Sometimes the data is exclusive and can only be sold once, and other times the data is general and can be sold many times to many people and many companies. On a smaller scale, Facebook is a data broker, Twitter is a data broker, LinkedIn is a data broker. But there are larger than that data brokers out there who are hired by Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and others to get information that they are missing. These are very powerful companies in that they are considered the most reliable sources of all the information held about each of us in secret online.
TransUnion is a data broker, so is Epsilon and DSA Direct LLC, also Oracle; these companies are all large scale data brokers. Data brokers gather accurate and inaccurate dossiers on thousands, sometimes millions of individuals and sell that information to whoever’s asking. Sometimes that’s Facebook, sometimes it’s AARP, or AAA or Johnson & Johnson or Dell, or Proctor & Gamble. The big problem with these companies is that your own information can’t be corrected, or deleted without a fight. A lot of what they gather comes from loyalty programs, social media websites, and forms we fill out online. Yes, they are tracking your grocery shopping when you are using your loyalty card number which saves stores and transmits data to data brokers. If you use a credit or debit card in a retail store, that data is also sent to data brokers. They know you stopped there. This data is compiled into a comprehensive document that lists all the things you supposedly like, use, do want and see. However, this data is often completely wrong. In some cases it seems they are just filling in blank information with made up facts.
Data brokers are notoriously hard to get in touch with. Their names are not publicly announced, there is no warning or notice saying they have all this information about you in their database, yet they do, and when you request a file of what they are holding on you they make it very difficult to get. Some companies will flatly refuse or deny that they have any information about you anywhere. Others will require you to send a copy of your state issued ID card and or your social security card before they will release your data to you. They have little regard for security and do not go to great lengths to avoid hackers getting into their systems an accessing our data, that we’re not supposed to know they have. Even with all the data inaccuracies, data brokers are selling our sensitive information like hot cakes. It seems that marketing companies and Facebook don’t really care if the data is mostly correct, they just want the data fields because someone will buy it anyway.
This information can be sold to any company interested in knowing about your shopping and living habits. If you want to know what data brokers are holding on you or if you don’t want data brokers to store information about you it will be a hard road getting them to relent and delete your information. If you want help getting this information and in some cases getting the information removed, then get in touch with Wiperts. They have expertise dealing with data brokers and they can help you get a handle on the various companies storing information about you and your family.