The FTC’s Data Broker Report: What does it mean for you?

The data broker industry has been on the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse’s (PRC) radar for over a decade, and we continue to receive questions and complaints about data brokers almost every day. Lawmakers, regulators, and media have focused more attention on the industry in recent years, but it is still difficult for individuals to understand what is going on and why they are unable to exercise any meaningful control over their information.

On May 27, 2014, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) released a report titled “Data Brokers: A Call for Transparency and Accountability.”  The report is the result of an FTC study of nine data brokers offering people-search, marketing, and/or risk mitigation products.  It explains how particular data brokers operate, lays out risks and benefits they pose to individuals, and asks Congress to consider legislative solutions. 

So you have a privacy question or complaint—now what?

Submit your privacy questions and complaints to us through our Online Complaint Center (OCC). Privacy Rights Clearinghouse’s dedicated Consumer Advisor responds to everyone, and we work very hard to stay up-to-date on a wide range of privacy issues

Here are some common questions we receive about the OCC.

PRC Celebrates National Consumer Protection Week

Privacy Rights Clearinghouse is celebrating National Consumer Protection Week March 1-7, 2015. Visit ncpw.gov to find out more and get involved! Make sure to check out our daily tips March 1st through the 7th on our front page. We will provide you some simple tips to keep your “privacy health" in check! 

Saturday Tip:

Tax ID Fraud is on the rise, make sure to file early and do not re-use passwords, make them unique if you file online! https://www.privacyrights.org/frequently-asked-questions-about-identity-theft

 


Friday Tip:

Use multifactor authentication for your online accounts when you can. Learn more: https://www.privacyrights.org/content/passwords-arent-enough-why-you-should-consider-using-two-factor-authentication #security #NCPW2015

Thursday Tip:

When signing up for a social network, don’t share your complete date of birth, age, or place of birth. This information could be useful to identity thieves and to data mining companies.  https://www.privacyrights.org/social-networking-privacy-how-be-safe-secure-and-social#tips

Wednesday Tip:

Understand the value of identity theft monitoring services and free or at low cost alternatives.  Read our guide at https://www.privacyrights.org/identity-theft-monitoring-services

Tuesday Tip:

Are you making sure to protect your privacy before you dispose of or donate your old smartphone? Here are some tips on what to do before it is too late http://www.cnet.com/news/what-to-do-before-selling-or-donating-your-phone/.  Check out our checklist of responsible information-handling practices https://www.privacyrights.org/checklist-responsible-information-handling-practices

Monday Tip:

Why you should protect your smartphone/tablet just like you would your computer http://www.cnet.com/videos/keep-your-android-device-safe-from-malware/. Understand privacy in the age of the smartphone/tablet https://www.privacyrights.org/smartphone-cell%20phone-privacy

Sunday Tip

Don’t pay with a debit card. Learn why at https://www.privacyrights.org/merchant-retail-payment-methods-credit-card-vs-debit-card#2.

Identity Theft Tops FTC’s Consumer Complaint Categories

For the 15th consecutive year, identity theft has topped the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) national ranking of consumer complaints.  Identity theft represented 13% of all complaints in 2014 according to the FTC's 2014 Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book.  Identity theft has held the FTC’s No. 1 spot for 15 years.  The FTC’s Consumer Sentinel database provides law enforcement officials across the country with access to consumer complaints in their jurisdictions.

According to Javelin Strategy & Research’s March 2015 Identity Fraud Study, fraudsters stole $16 billion from 12.7 million U.S. consumers last year.  The study found that two-thirds of identity fraud victims in 2014 had previously received a data breach notification in the same year.

Federal Data Breach Legislation – A Step Backward for Consumers

Data breaches make the news almost daily, and it is highly likely you have been the victim of one or more.  In 2015, both the White House and Congress have responded to the attention surrounding data breaches.  The most recent effort is a draft bill in the House of Representatives by Rep. Blackburn (R-TN) and Rep. Welch (D-VT) called the “Data Security and Breach Notification Act of 2015.”  While all this attention sounds promising, the bill as written would reduce the protections most consumers already receive.

California Student Records to be Disclosed in Ongoing Lawsuit

SAN DIEGO, Calif. – February 11, 2016 – The Identity Theft Resource Center and Privacy Rights Clearinghouse want to alert all parents of school-aged children throughout California about a pending deadline to Opt-Out on the release of their child’s sensitive personal identifying information.  The deadline for parents and adult students to object to the disclosure of personal information and records is April 1, 2016. 

Tax Season Fraud Prevention Tips

Tax season is here, and with it come scammers and identity thieves hoping to profit.  Here are Privacy Rights Clearinghouse’s (PRC) top tips and resources to help you protect your privacy, your money, and your identity.  

Reduce the risk of your mail falling into the wrong hands. You should take steps to protect sensitive information year round, but during tax season you will likely receive a number of “information returns” containing sensitive information such as your Social Security number.

Organized Sports and Privacy

Organized sports are a great way to keep kids engaged, teach them new skills, and provide them with an opportunity to socialize with other kids.  Privacy isn’t likely to be top of mind when you enroll your kids in sports, but it is important to note that leagues often gather a tremendous amount of personal and potentially sensitive information pertaining to your child and even you.  If it isn’t handled properly, there is an increased risk that the information could be compromised and even lead to identity theft or financial fraud.

Giving Tuesday

giving tues logo

Privacy Rights Clearinghouse appreciates your ongoing support and generosity. Each donation to our organization, however small, contributes directly to our growing privacy education resources and helps us to broaden the community we serve.

This year, on Tuesday, December 1st, Privacy Rights Clearinghouse will be participating in Giving Tuesday, a global day dedicated to giving. Giving Tuesday is a worldwide movement and an opportunity for everyone to give back to their community by showing support for the nonprofit organizations they care about.

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