Consumer Alert: ‘Opting-out’ of online databases

Posted: Updated:

From personal info being harvested on social media to data breaches, many cybersecurity experts say that our privacy is at risk online.

Pam Dixon with World Privacy Forum says that for things like telemarketer phone calls, the government’s “Do Not Call” registry is still one of the best ways to keep from getting those calls.

Dixon says that it is also possible to opt out of receiving pre-approved financial offers in the mail. These types of forms make it easy for thieves to steal identities. Anyone who wishes to opt out of these mailers can do so online or by phone.

“You can actually prevent your credit information from being sold to marketers,” Dixon says.

It is also important to check out what type of information is being given out on social media. Facebook users should check their privacy settings. Google users can also choose what ads they see and whether or not their search history is saved.

Dixon also recommends checking your privacy settings on sites like Twitter, Amazon, YouTube and eBay.

“It will give you a little more control about some of the information flowing about you,” she says.

It is also possible to control the information given out by some data brokers. Companies like Acxiom, Intellius and US Search allow people to limit the amount of information that's made publicly available.

More information about how to opt out of these programs can be found at the World Privacy Forum’s website.

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