Is it Possible to Find Out How Your Data is Being Misused?

Is it Possible to Find Out How Your Data is Being Misused?

Data misuse is a big issue. There’s so much data out there, and so much of it personal, with so many people waiting to take it. And the worst is, it isn’t easy to track how someone is using your data and whether it’s misused. You can easily erase your history and aim to stop voluntarily giving companies your data, but what about the dark web and data you don’t even know where it is anymore?

Read on to find out more.

What’s Data Misuse?

Do you know what data misuse is? It’s basically someone using your data without permission. Statistica released information that said 353 million individuals were affected by data misuse in 2023.

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Here are the main acts of data misuse:

  • Commingling: Marketing emails you don’t remember agreeing to and wonder how this company got your information. They’re switching it with another. That’s commingling. It happens more than you’d think, especially when companies have access to endless personal data and want money.
  • Ambiguity: Do you even understand the terms and conditions of data collection? You’re not alone. Some companies play it vague on purpose. They have options to use your data in ways you might not have agreed to, and they can make lots of money from it. Even now, a lot of people don’t realise that it is possible – and not all that hard – to remove content from google and stop brokers from storing it and selling it onto third-parties, and a lot of sites are passively benefitting from it.

But do you know who has permission to use your data and if it’s possible? There are telltale signs.

Can You Find Out How Your Data is Being Misused?

You can do almost everything online, including detecting if someone is misusing your data. Here are some of the easiest ways to find out.

Account Activity Monitoring

How often do you monitor your accounts? If the answer is not often, then you’re probably leaving yourself vulnerable to data exposure. Yet, it’s the first thing you can do to detect if something’s wrong.

How can you monitor your activity? Regularly check your login history (your phone won’t always alert you), review account activity alerts, and stay alert to unauthorized access or transactions.

Utilizing Data Breach Notification Services

Subscribing to data breach notification services isn’t essential, but it can help you. These services track your data and, believe it or not, alert you to breaches. It’s just another layer of protection and another way of understanding what’s happening with your data.

It’s a proactive approach you could benefit from doing if you’ve had data stolen previously. But make sure you pick a reputable company. There are plenty of services online like this with reviews.

Privacy Settings and Permissions

How often do you check your privacy settings and permissions? The answer is probably not often. Interestingly, one study found that 25% of American adults agree to a privacy policy almost daily, and only 22% read through the policy before agreeing. Guilty? You’re opening yourself up to vulnerabilities.

By checking these, you’re giving yourself an understanding of your data and permissions and controlling who has access to it. You could easily prevent unauthorized use or misuse here.

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Digital Identity Protection Tools

Have you used digital identity protection tools? They’re a great way to monitor your personal information on the internet. These tools even monitor your information on the dark web – where data goes up for sale. These tools scan for your data in places you can’t access easily and tell you when your data is traded or misused. It’s intelligent technology, but not everyone knows about it.

So, it is possible to find out if your data is being misused, but it’s not straightforward. And most of the time, people simply forget to do it. But the financial consequences of data misuse can be massive, so perhaps we should all be a little more vigilant.