Consumer Alert

Who Has Your Information and Where is it Going Next?

Check Out a New FTC Video Sharing Information:  A Day In Your Life

What happens to your information – such as your whereabouts, your product preferences, and your personal information – when you shop online, access social media sites, make a purchase with a customer loyalty card, use a cell phone app, or fill a prescription?

Information obtained from these daily transactions is routinely shared and sold to third parties, making it difficult to know who has it and what they will do with it.  Watch a short video, Sharing Information:  A Day In Your Life, just released by the Federal Trade Commission, to learn more.

To protect your privacy, find out what happens to the information you provide and know if businesses or social media sites are sharing or selling your information to others.

Tips for Protecting Your Information:

  • Review the privacy settings on your social media, shopping, and other on-line accounts, and adjust them to make sure you have the strongest privacy protection that meets your needs. For example, check the privacy settings on your Facebook account. 
  • If your cell phone has a GPS feature that tracks your location, know how to disable it. While this feature can be useful to get directions or find a restaurant, it can also be used to share your location. Take control over when your location can be tracked.
  • Consider whether loyalty cards are worth having.  You often have to provide personal information to sign up for a card and your purchasing habits may be tracked.
  • If taking an online quiz or survey that asks for personal information, find out how it will be used and whether it will be shared with others.
  • When dealing with a business or service that asks for personal information, review its privacy policy:  How will your information be treated and can you choose to keep it confidential?

Resources:

Consumer Protection Unit
May 2012