What is information trading


4. Information brokers botch your data

Anyone who requests a background check or credit check on you - or provides it to others - instantly has a lot of sensitive information about you. Potential recipients include government agencies, courts, credit bureaus, banks, insurance companies, telecommunications companies and employers. The problem: The data received do not have to be a) necessarily correct, b) they can go far beyond what you want to reveal about yourself and c) they can hardly be corrected.

Information dealers have turned into "data mining shops" that sell everything there is for sale - from creditworthiness information to police investigation files. A study by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group from 2004 shows that 80 percent of all American credit check results are incorrect. A quarter of these mistakes are so blatant that they can have negative consequences - such as the denial of a loan or a job.

What can you do? The best thing to do is to find out what data about you is on the market. Obtaining a (chargeable) self-assessment from Schufa is always worthwhile in Germany, for example - if you can use it to uncover and improve incorrect information about yourself, all the more. Since this year, you can also take out a kind of subscription via the new Schufa online portal and access your data at any time for a year, which is regularly updated once a quarter. However, if you are on a "blacklist" of e-commerce providers - bad luck.

Bottom line: you should know what data is floating around about you. So keep your friends close - but your informants even closer.

Points on the paranoia scale: 3