Online privacy is becoming a growing concern as data becomes accessible

(WXYZ) – Transitioning our work and social lives online may have ticked the convenience box, but it comes with a caveat. Our privacy is highly compromised.

Experts say a simple Internet search can reveal an individual’s home address, phone number, and more.

In fact, according to the latest annual data breach report, the total number of data breaches last year increased by more than 68% compared to 2020.

Elizabeth Lucas, a Michigan-based strength trainer, can understand the pain of watching friends suffer because of this rising crime.

“It’s so complicated. It takes years and years to come back, get a new number, get a new address and change positions, and stop getting billed and stuff like that,” Lucas said.

Most people don’t realize they’ve been a victim of identity theft until it’s too late. To make matters worse, OneRep Senior Vice President Mark Kapczynski claims that these days you can find out a lot about someone on the internet in 30 seconds.

“They’re called people search sites,” the security expert explains. “They basically buy all of our personal information, our addresses, our date of birth, our place of work, everything related to our children. The worst part is that they don’t store it to sell on their site. They create pages that can be indexed by google. , which is why it appears on Google.”

For cybercriminals, it is easy to bypass both of the authentication on your phone. Kapczynski says a starting point is when shoppers sign up for a rewards program or join a store’s mailing list. This is when they risk having their information sold to people search websites.

“You don’t have this problem in other countries, where you have companies that can literally sell personal information on the internet. To me, it’s remarkable that we don’t have, from a legislative point of view, put an end to that,” says Kapczynski. .

Lucas thinks it’s crazy that this is an American problem.

“I don’t feel safe because I don’t want to go shopping. I don’t want my information out there,” Lucas said.

Kapczynski says it’s scary that there are over 150 websites selling your information.

Changing passwords and having a secondary email and phone number are all good starting points. Still, Kapczynski says one of the most effective solutions is to sign up for a web cleaning service, where a customer’s data is monitored and deleted each time it appears.

“We need to stop companies from selling your data in the first place,” Kapczynski says. “Don’t count on 300 million Americans having to solve this problem on their own.”

If you’re planning on getting into the dating world, Kapczynski’s advice is to have your data wiped, as he’s seen cases of stalkers using dating profile information to locate a girl’s address. person and show up at his door.