What Personal Information Should You Give to Merchants?

Fact Sheet 15What Personal Information Should You Give to Merchants?

Merchants generally want as much information as possible about their customers so they can more precisely target offers to them. But in our information-centric society, where billions of bits of information can easily be collated and distributed, it’s not necessarily in consumers’ interest to have a lot of their personal data accessible. Seemingly innocuous customer information obtained from consumers at the cash register or online can be combined with data from other sources to obtain a surprisingly detailed portrait of an individual customer. 

Is it possible that in the not-too-distant future an insurance company could check the choices you make at the grocery store and penalize you if you bought, say, cigarettes or high-fat foods? Or, could law-enforcement officials scan store records to see if you acquired materials that could have been used in a crime?

The answer to the second question is “yes”.

State Merchant Laws

Fact Sheet 15 AddendumState Merchant Laws

Employment Background Checks: A Jobseeker's Guide

Fact Sheet 16Employment Background Checks:
A Jobseeker's Guide

Background reports can range from a verification of an applicant's Social Security number to a detailed account of the potential employee's history and acquaintances. There is even some evidence that employers are now searching popular social networking Web sites such as MySpace and Facebook for the profiles of applicants. This guide explains the why and how of background checks. It also tells you what can be covered in a background report, your rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, and what you can do to prepare.

Employment Background Checks in California: A Focus on Accuracy

Fact Sheet 16aEmployment Background Checks in California:
A Focus on Accuracy

Small Business Owner Background Check Guide

Fact Sheet 16bSmall Business Owner Background Check Guide

Small business owners and large corporations alike know the value of good employees. But unlike large corporations, small business owners are often unable to absorb the risks and liability that may come from bad hiring decisions. This guide is intended to acquaint small business owners with basic information about screening applicants and current employees.

FAQ on Employment Background Checks

Fact Sheet 16cFAQ on Employment Background Checks

Will my old conviction, probation or arrest show up on a background check? Will a criminal record automatically disqualify me from ever getting a job?  I am a long-term employee - can an employer now do a background check on me?

The Privacy Rights Clearinghouse receives many questions from consumers about the employment background checking process. In this publication, we've compiled a list of the questions we hear most frequently from consumers about this issue. Read our guide to find out how backgound checks work, what rights you have when undergoing a background check and what to do when your rights are violated. 

Volunteer Background Checks: Giving Back Without Giving Up on Privacy

Fact Sheet 16dVolunteer Background Checks:
Giving Back Without Giving Up on Privacy

Every day, millions of volunteers donate countless hours to good causes. Volunteers mentor to young people, read to toddlers, coach youth sports, tutor in basic math and language skills, change bedpans, prepare and deliver meals, fight fires, provide disaster assistance, and much more. Volunteers can and do perform many of the same duties as paid workers. But, instead of a regular paycheck volunteers do what they do out of a desire to give back to their community.

In today’s queasy, security-conscious climate, organizations are faced with a growing challenge — how to accomplish their mission while protecting the vulnerable population served. At the same time, organizations that rely on volunteers must perform a delicate balancing act — how to properly screen out bad actors without alienating dedicated, privacy-conscious volunteers.

This guide seeks to explore the expanding world of volunteer screening, identify relevant laws as well as fundamental privacy protections, and offer suggestions for organizations and volunteers. References and additional resources are included at the end of this guide.

Coping with Identity Theft: Reducing the Risk of Fraud

Fact Sheet 17Coping with Identity Theft:
Reducing the Risk of Fraud

Identity Theft: What to Do if It Happens to You

Fact Sheet 17aIdentity Theft:
What to Do if It Happens to You

How to Deal with a Security Breach

Fact Sheet 17bHow to Deal with a Security Breach

Have you received a letter or an e-mail informing you that your personal information may have gotten into the wrong hands?   Or perhaps a media report alerted you to a security breach at a company you do business with.

It is increasingly common for companies, educational institutions, and government agencies -- whether or not their state has a breach notice law -- to notify individuals when computer files containing personal information have been hacked, stolen, or lost. If the file includes Social Security numbers, financial account numbers, driver's license numbers -- in short, data that would be useful to identity thieves -- there are steps you can take to reduce your risk of fraud. So, what should you do  if you suspect that your personal information has been compromised? First, don't panic. A security breach does not necessarily mean that you will become a victim of identity theft.

This guide provides instructions on ways to reduce your risk of identity theft. And if the worst happens and you do become a victim of fraud, this guide points you to other sources of information about identity theft.

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