Data brokers are companies that collect, aggregate, analyze, and sell your personal data to third parties. They use websites you visit, services you use, and public sources among other means to gather your personal information.
The global data broker market value is expected to reach US$345.153 billion in 2026. It does help to understand how valuable your personal information is to the data brokers. For anyone to get the most out of marketing, targeting specific types of people with ads looks very appealing.
There are six main types of data brokers: marketing brokers, recruitment data brokers, risk mitigation brokers, people search brokers, financial information brokers, and health information data brokers.
Collect and sell information about your browsing habits, past purchases, and interests. They are responsible for “personalized marketing” as well as most of the surprisingly relevant online ads you see.
Compile and use personal information to offer background screening services to HR officers.
Risk mitigation brokers
Collect and sell a variety of background, criminal, property, and other information to provide assessment reports to various investment and business companies.
People search brokers
Almost an open book/resource, usually available for free to find extensive profiles, contact details, and background information about anyone.
Financial information brokers
Collect various personal finance and background information for credit companies or banks to build your credit score which may even influence your eligibility to get a loan.
Health information brokers
Collect information about your general health and sell it to companies in the healthcare field. This information can be used to target you with health product ads and even set your insurance rates.
Depending on the data broker type, the personal data that data brokers collect may include:
- Full name;
- Email address;
- Home address (current and previous addresses);
- Date of birth;
- Phone number;
- Family status;
- IP information;
- Social Security Number;
- Employment history;
- Shopping habits.
Such information allows data brokers to create a wide profile of you and can be used for the personalized ads you see on Google, Facebook, Instagram, websites, emails, short messages (SMS), or influencer videos.
How to make data brokers stop collecting or selling your data?
Well, it’s not that easy. The main privacy and security laws are the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). Most of the time, you can write an email to the data broker and ask them to delete your personal data or opt out of data collection based on these laws.
However, companies might try to avoid complying with your data removal requests and ask you to fill in multiple forms or even provide more information about yourself (for example, a copy of your passport or driver’s license). In such cases, you can file a complaint to the relevant government agency in your country.
Additionally, you can start protecting your privacy online with the following steps:
- Get to know what data privacy policies apply in your country or state and know your rights.
- Refrain from posting your personal information on social media, as well as make your social media accounts private (available only for friends and family).
- Be skeptical about online quizzes or sweepstakes. They often sell and trade mailing lists.
- The fewer online accounts you have - the better.
- Refrain from opening unknown emails.
- Make sure to download apps from a trustworthy source and consider removing the apps you are not using anymore.
- Use an ad-blocker on your browser or a Virtual Private Network (VPN) on your device.
- Always remember, if something is free - you’re the product.
If you’d like to remove your personal data from data brokers with a few clicks - let Incogni do the work for you. Incogni contacts data brokers on your behalf and requests the deletion of any of your personal data they have.
First, you'll need to create an Incogni account and purchase a monthly or annual Incogni subscription. You can sign up for Incogni directly on our website here.
If you have any additional questions, please get in touch with our Customer Support team which will get back to you within 24 hours via email at email@example.com.
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