In Your Corner: Personal Information For Sale

By Ryan Elijah

February 18, 2011 Updated Feb 18, 2011 at 8:05 AM EST

Each day it seems a new website is popping up offering more personal information, while some are free, make no mistake the marketing of personal information is a very lucrative and growing business.

"marketing databases are all the rage now", said Eric Rupp, Owner of Summit Data Protection.

Rupp says many sites sell the information they've pulled from various places. It seems simple but you need to know how your personal information is being used before giving it out, behind that simple offer that requires an email or other info is likely a marketer that has a bigger picture in mind.

"really what they're doing is selling their information to marketers to glean even more information", said Rupp.

A high profile murder in 1989 raised the awareness of protecting personal information. 21-year-old actress Rebecca Shaeffer was murdered by a stalker who found her address through California's Department of Motor vehicles. The Driver's Protection Act was created, recently an amendment was made to that act that further limits BMV practices of distributing personal information for other uses including direct marketing.

Indiana's BMV says it has been following more strict rules for over 2 years, according to state officials there are 7 personal information items that they consider private.

Those include your name, social security number, drivers id number, photo, address, phone number and any medical disability that might be listed in your BMV file. A file that has plenty of valuable personal information. John Kaufeld is an online marketing specialist at IPFW and says something as simple as registering a domain name can reveal your personal information to sites. He says the laws haven't caught up with sites that collect and sell personal information.

"they're treading to the edge of what's legal, our laws were not designed for the internet.", said Kaufeld.

Now more than ever, you need to police your information and opt out of sites that share your information. The Federal Trade Commission also offers information to help you cut down on the unsolicited use of your valuable personal information.




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