Companies participating in data mining practices to sell you more

Someone is collecting your data to use in ways you never imagined. And the worst part, there is little you can do about it (KTRK)
May 14, 2014 3:28:56 AM PDT
Every time you order a pizza, log onto social media or read an email, someone is collecting your data to use in ways you never imagined. And the worst part, there is little you can do about it.

Data mining is happening to all of us and almost no one knows about it or how to stop it.

Kendra Mahone is like most of us, she'd prefer her private life stay that way.

"No I don't want everything to be out there, said Mahone.

But like it or not, Mahone's every move could be subject to scrutiny. Data mining is when companies collect all sorts of information about out from the foods you buy to the movies you like all in an effort to sell.

"The problem is, we don't know what they are really capturing," said Houston risk management specialist Bruce Brenner.

He adds apps and websites track consumers' every move adding if you've been online, a corporation somewhere knows.

"And once they have captured that data, it can be stored, sold, bought, transmitted, many times, hundreds of thousands of times and it's out of your control," said Brenner.

The data can be used to figure out how much you pay for things, like insurance rates. The problem is consumers often don't know it's happening and have no way to correct errors that could cost them money.

While some companies let you opt out of the practice, not all of them give you the option.

"So there is really no way to really completely opt out of everything. When you think about how much information is already out there about all of us," said Brenner.

He adds there's nothing you can do about the information already out there, that doesn't sit well with the target of the snooping.

"I feel like it is wrong, they should definitely know what's going on," said Mahone.

There are some tips for keeping your data private:

  • Create a fake email address and profile and use that when asked for such information
  • Opt out of data mining when you get the chance
  • Check your credit reports to see if any errors appear
Check out your opt-out options and the companies that collect the data here.