Yesterday, an Active Rain realtor discovered her passwords stored by online sites - horrific! Other members jumped in with preventative measures, I forwarded them to our MLS Board of Directors.
Here are the Take-Aways:
Personal Responsibility of the Individual
The solutions presented by Active Rain members had one common standout feature. They focused on what YOU, the individual, must do to take back control of your data and identity. Prevention requires the individual to take personal, proactive action as the owner of your information.
Action Steps - Start Here:
1. Remove yourself and your business from privacy violating sites:
Spokeo, Mylife, Radaris, Whitepages, Intelius, BeenVerified, Acxiom, Infotracer, Lexis Nexis, TruePeopleSearch.
2. Remove personal information from the internet:
"Hiding from the Internet" by Michael Bazzell
3. Sites that Farm your Personal Identity (deeds, divorce, more) and Sell your Email:
Life.com. People-finder, People-search, Whitepages, Spokeo, MyLife, PeopleSmart, US Search, Intelius, Radaris...
- You have the right to opt out or request to take it down.
- Use junk email account for such sites.
- Copy the URL storing your name, claim it. In the small print, complete the opt-out. Follow up with a hand-written letter.
- Post lots of positive, NON-specific information about yourself online. Active Rain is an excellent site to do this.
4. External Services - Useful but Insufficient Protection
Relying on external services may create a false sense of security. They are limited in scope. They put external entities in possession of your data. They do not preserve nor adequately protect your identity. They do not remove your information from sites syndicating your vitals to anyone of nefarious interest. Services such as:
credit and identity protections programs
5. For Realtors and Professional Associations:
- Ask your State Association to disseminate Action Steps statewide in context of your state laws.
- Post Action Steps on Facebook and other social media.
- Send Action Steps as MLS blast or email to membership.
Personal prevention cannot be underestimated. Everyone, especially online business professionals, should remove critical data and identity from the web. No one can protect your personal and business information as well as you.
- Prevent business disruption and identity theft.
- Prevent becoming a target for intrusion.
- Provide personal online protection.
- Maintain a vibrant business web presence.
Have you found other solutions and preventions or targeting, profiling and tech intrusion? Post them below.
Update: Realtor Privacy in the Digital Age by Ryan Huggins