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Protect Your Data: Don't Share It

According to a recent survey of over 1,000 individuals conducted by TheBestVPN, a large number of people are willing to sell their personal data.

For example, 61 percent said they would sell a month of purchasing history; 59 percent, their email address; 56 percent, their birthday; 52 percent, a month of location history; 46 percent, a year of search history; 42 percent, their IP address; and 33 percent would sell a year of texts or emails.

Even more disturbingly, 36 percent said they would sell their credit report; 32 percent, their medical records; 31 percent, their credit card activity; 29 percent, their cloud files; 27 percent, their driver's license; 24 percent, their fingerprints; and 22 percent would sell their Social Security number.

Those in their 20s were more likely to say they would sell their data than Baby Boomers. Respondents thought the going rate for a Social Security number would be around $10,000. In actuality, cybercriminals sell stolen SSNs for around $2 each.

"Putting a Price on Privacy" also found that 94 percent of respondents said they do protect their data, although most of those simply use passwords. Only 48 percent of respondents use two-factor authentication, and only 18 percent use encrypted messaging services. Tristan Greene "Survey: People in their 20s are more likely to sell their data" thenextweb.com (Dec. 05, 2019).

Commentary


When biometric data like your fingerprint is compromised, you can't change it. It is compromised forever, meaning a hacker can break into any account that uses your biometric data for the remainder of your life.

Think twice before sharing personal information, even your email address. Always check privacy settings to limit who can see your data. Ask yourself if you really need an update, newsletter, or to create an account before providing your information.  

Cybercriminals often use fear or excitement (i.e., telling you that your account is in jeopardy, or that you could be arrested if you don't reply, or that you have won a large sum of money and must claim it) to get you to share personal data. Do not trust any message that plays on your emotions and tells you that you must respond immediately with your personal data.

Even if the email claims to come from a person you know or a legitimate organization, the best practice is to never share personal data in response to an email request.

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