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Who is stalking you online? A lot of people, in fact

stalking online Have you been ever wondering, if there’s someone who can watch every step you make online? Here’s the answer: yes, it is. And, in fact, it can be plenty of people. Who are they and why they’re so interested in you?

First things first. No, your internet surfing is never “private” and no, we’re not paranoid. Because this is the fact: whenever you visit a website, log in to your email, post an update on Facebook, or do any other activity online, you inevitably leave digital footprints that can be tracked and traced back to your identity.

Some people believe that if they don’t do anything wrong, they have nothing to worry about. But, unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way.

Why are you so important to them?

Those, who stalk you online, do that because it’s worth. Worth for them, of course. Because this whole “stalking-you-online” thing is not about knowing what you had for breakfast. It’s much more about knowing:
  • what payment method and email address do you use (so it’s easier to steal money from you)
  • when you’re at work or on your vacation (so it’s easier to rob your house)
  • what’s your personal data (so they can be sold to telemarketing companies)
Yes, on the internet, data has high value. It’s often stolen, sold, collected and analyzed. There are now companies known as “data brokers” that collect and maintain data on millions of people and then sell it to other companies (for reasons like targeted advertising or and direct marketing).
–> Read further: Your digital footprint will cost you time (and money, as well)

Who is (probably) stalking you online

1. Your internet provider

Even when browsing in an anonymous window, nothing can hide in front of your internet provider. In most cases, it’s nothing to worry about. However, it’s possible that a government official can invoke a court order to demand access to your browsing history. So.. just for you to know.

2. Advertisers

A lot of owners and runners of internet services, mobile apps or even internet adverts make a living of selling their client’s personal information to third parties: for example to banks or telemarketing companies. Then, for those companies, it’s really easy to call you with a “personal offer you cannot deny”. And, well, it’s no wonder, since they already know almost everything about you.

3. Cyber criminals

They can steal your money, data, bitcoins or even the whole identity. Once that happens, it becomes very easy for them to use your identity to send your money to their accounts, purchase expensive items, apply for credit cards...

4. The government

Unfortunately, it’s not a sci-fi. As the past has shown, even the government may be spying on you. They also can demand your private information from companies such as Google, Facebook, and your internet provider.

5. Your employer

No comment :-)

… so what about your privacy?

Do you want to completely avoid the Big Brother's eyes? The only thing you can do is to disconnect internet, throw you smart phone away, leave all your belongings behind and move to an island in the middle of nowhere. But, to be honest, it probably won’t work, since the civilization will always find you.

So here are just a few tips how to be a little bit safer right now:

  • Avoid filling out online forms that require personal information
  • Always read the Terms of Use before accepting them
  • Don’t overshare information about you when on Facebook and other social media
  • Protect you computer (with a good antispam software)
  • Get the spam blocker for your mobile phone
One last thing. Not all online services and apps that requires your personal data must be necessarily scam. Sometimes they need it for good reasons (for example, the Should I Answer app that protects you against all kind of spam calls needs to access your call log and contact list – so it can work properly – but it never misuse it in any way). 

The most important thing is to know what will the app or the online service do with your data. You'll always find out in the Terms of Use.