REALITY CHECK: How to avoid being a victim of identity theft


The Privacy Rights Clearinghouse is a consumer group that's been taking a close look at the data broker industry. These are the links to just some of the websites that may have detailed information about you.

Pam Dixon/Executive Director/World Privacy Forum "Identity building blocks are your social security number, your home address, your exact date of birth, certain demographic information like your employment history. That is an identity theft dream if you're a criminal."

And then there's the issue of online security. Equifax, the big credit reporting service, was hacked. The massive breach exposed sensitive data on nearly 146 million consumers. So, if hackers could breach Equifaxwhat about lesser known data broker sites?

Security researcher Alex Haynes found vulnerabilities in a number of U.S. data broker websites. He wrote about it in a trade journal. He talked to us about the security risks to you.

So how do you take control of your online information?

Opt out of the biggest data broker websites. We have a link to the World Privacy Forum that allows you to do that.

Avoid taking online surveys, or posting home addresses or health information online.

Consider making your social media accounts private.

You also might consider subscribing to identity theft protection.

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