You may share too much personal information online. Your insurance records, credit records, driving records, employment records and purchasing records also are collected, saved and sold regularly.

In today’s high tech, up-to-the-minute and impulsive environment, in which you respond to a message or search on a random topic on a whim, you need to consider the consequences.

While you may think you have control of your personal privacy, you don’t – and you can’t.

Your may share too much personal information online. But personal privacy is not so private anymore. And your willingness to share personal information on social media makes your information more and more immediately available – and more and more vulnerable.

It’s not just on you. Your home and auto insurance, health-care insurance, dental insurance and life insurance information is collected, saved and sold on a regular basis. Your credit bureau record, driving record, employment record, property record and criminal record also is collected, saved and sold regularly.

To top it off, your purchasing record, ranging from cable TV, pay-per-view TV, electronic and printed books, prescription drugs, smartphones and Google searches are collected, saved and sold regularly.

It is very difficult to secure and ensure your privacy when “Big Data” — large data-mining and marketing companies such as Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, LexisNexis, Acxiom, Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax — collect and sell billions of pieces of our most personal information every day. What’s more, all of the companies mentioned above have experienced one or more data breach events over the past few years. How’s that working for your personal privacy?

Examples of how our personal and private information is used every day includes law enforcement (surveillance), marketing and sales (data mining), criminals (identity theft), and public information (marriage, divorce, criminal and property records).

Here’s what every individual should remember about personal privacy:

• Social media. Understand privacy policies before sharing personal information.

• Search engines. Be aware that they are tracking and recording your every search.

• Work e-mail and texts. Understand that your employers may be reading your e-mails and texts.

• Personal e-mail and texts. They are vulnerable to both physical and virtual eavesdropping.

• Digital books. Reader privacy should be a concern

In the end, your expectation of privacy and minimizing your risk of ID theft is limited to your participation on social media and search engine searches, as your information is constantly being collected, analyzed and viewed by others.

Mark’s Most Important: You need to read and understand the privacy policies of every organization you have a relationship with to know how your information is protected, saved, analyzed, sold and/or disclosed.

Mark Pribish is vice president and ID-theft practice leader at Merchants Information Solutions Inc., a national ID-theft and background-screening provider based in Phoenix. Contact him at

This article was originally published on and republished with the author’s permission.