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What Kind Of Private Data Do Large Real Estate Portals Keep And How Do They Use It?

When you are using the internet your data is constantly being taken and used by websites, companies, and marketers. Individuals who’re searching for properties online tend to have their data taken more frequently than average consumers. The reason data is taken from people interested in buying houses is that house purchases involve huge amounts of money. If marketers can get people’s data then they can try and advertise properties to them for their clients, forcing sales through.

People who want to buy houses tend to sign up for real estate platforms; some real estate platforms are more careful with user data than others. Since your data is sensitive information, likely, you don’t want it to be leaked. Because of this, you need to find a platform that has strict data privacy policies in place designed to protect people’s data and prevent it from falling into the wrong hands. This post will explore this topic in more detail, telling you what kind of data marketers want most and how you can keep yourself safe when you are using the internet to find a property.

What Data Do Realty Portals Collect?

Before you can keep yourself safe online you need to know what kind of data companies are collecting. It’s important to note that when searching for Tennessee real estate and in other states you can find small platforms that don’t collect any of your data. Most experts agree that it’s better to use these platforms over larger ones. Studies seem to suggest that large platforms are a lot more frivolous with user data. If your data falls into the wrong hands your identity could get stolen or you could be targeted by marketers.

1.    Personal data

Your personal data is the most desirable type. Marketers will pay a fortune for it. Personal data includes your name, age, gender, and job. Sometimes people’s financial data is lumped in with their personal data. Individuals who do not want marketers and thieves to get hold of their data can avoid being targeted by using pseudonyms when they sign up for things online. Another way of avoiding having your data stolen or sold is opting out of marketing and reading each website’s terms and conditions before signing up. You will usually find out how websites process your data in their terms and conditions section.

Why should you worry about your data being sold? The reason you should worry is that if it falls into the wrong hands it can be used to target and harass you. Something else to note is that criminals make concerted efforts to collect people’s financial information so they can commit acts of fraud. Armed with your financial data criminals can impersonate you online and sell your data to criminal gangs on the dark web. The sale of stolen data is big business in criminal circles.

2.    Usage data

Your usage data is also something that’s collected. If you are unfamiliar with the term ‘usage data’ then it refers to data that are collected that analyses how often you use your computer or mobile device and what specific times you use them. Your ISP will track your usage data as well as the sites you are using. Usage data can be used to target you with advertisements online. It can also be used to get a better idea of how often you visit certain sites and what sort of times, so a study of your general behavior can be created.

If you do not want your usage data being recorded then you can use a virtual private network or a VPN. A VPN is a program that can conceal your IP address, preventing marketers and criminals from being able to track your online movements. If such parties are unable to see what you are doing online then they cannot create profiles for you which makes targeting you impossible. Most virtual private networks are free to use although it’s possible to buy paid subscriptions that give you access to better servers (as well as lots of different locations).

3.    Behavioural data

Behavioral data is very valuable. It is the type besides personal data that’s most sought-after by marketers. A person’s behavioral data can tell a lot about them including what their interests are and even how much money they have. Your behavioral data is what most marketing companies will be looking for as it helps them to get a clear picture of what you do when you use the internet and what sites you visit the most. When marketers build a profile of you they can then target you more effectively, sending you emails and messages that are guaranteed to elicit responses and yield results.

Again you can prevent people from tracking and recording your behavioral data by using a VPN. Another way of doing this is by using pseudonyms when you sign up for different websites. Bear in mind however, if realty platforms are unable to collect your behavioral data then they will not be able to show you matches they think will be relevant to your searches. Because of this, you might want to reconsider your decision not to allow people to track your behavioral data online. If you do not get properties sent to you that match your searches you might struggle to find a house that’s right for you.

4.    Attitudinal data

Attitudinal data is the hardest type for marketing companies and websites to collect. It’s a type that is wholly irrelevant to criminal gangs and is only used by businesses. Attitudinal data is just data collected on your thoughts and feelings about specific products. Sometimes this data is collected directly i.e., through surveys and questionnaires, and other times this type of data is collected indirectly, by recording your interactions with chatbots or monitoring responses and posts on forums and in chatrooms.

Attitudinal data helps businesses to make more effective internal changes and improve their product offerings. It specifically helps realty platforms to get an idea of how desirable certain towns and cities are to live in. With this data realty platforms and independent realtors can then advise sellers on how much they should be selling property for in certain areas. As this is the hardest type of data to collect (because it cannot be collected by monitoring people’s IP addresses or online activity) it is a type that you do not need to necessarily worry about. Nobody is going to monitor you without your permission and collect attitudinal data.

Keeping yourself safe

Keeping yourself safe online should be one of your main priorities. Unfortunately, cybercrime is more common than ever. The main reason it’s so prevalent is that people are using the internet to shop and buy things more than they used to.

With so many people using the internet for commercial purposes and lots of new e-commerce stores popping up, criminals are being given more opportunities to steal than they ever have before. You can keep yourself and your data safe by following the steps outlined below.

Using VPNs

VPNs or virtual private networks as mentioned previously are programs that safeguard people’s identities by concealing their IP addresses. IP addresses can be used by hackers to track people’s movements and even figure out what their home address is or the location where they are using the internet from. While it is true that you can change your IP address, once a hacker has it they can do some very nasty things to you.

VPNs are widely available and can even be used to bypass internet restrictions and access geo-restricted content. Again, as mentioned earlier, many experts believe it’s better to buy subscriptions for VPNs over getting free ones. With a paid subscription you get to choose from more servers and don’t have to worry about slow speeds. Slow server speeds are pretty common on free VPN servers. Slow speeds will hinder your internet freedom and interrupt your activities.

Activating firewalls

Firewalls can be used to keep yourself safe when you’re browsing the internet. Hackers and marketers are not the only people that you need to worry about. Another big threat is accidental virus downloads. A virus is a program that’s specially designed to destroy people’s computers and even steal their personal information.

As most people have no idea what they are (or know very little about them even if they have heard of them before) it’s common for people to unintentionally download them or let them onto their computers.

Activating and using a firewall will help you to keep viruses off of your devices. Bear in mind that if you do not have a firewall downloaded viruses could easily set themselves up on your computer. If you do not employ safe Internet practices then even with a firewall you could end up unintentionally downloading a virus so keep yourself safe and use the internet responsibly.

Understanding risks

You won’t be able to keep yourself safe online if you do not understand the threats waiting for you there. The internet isn’t safe by any means. In fact, leading members of the European Union’s security council have compared the internet to the Wild West. Crime is rampant online mainly because it is hard to catch criminals.

Many cybercriminals are very good at covering their tracks. By hiding signs and evidence of their crimes they can totally avoid prosecution. It’s also worth noting that it is very easy for thieves to make money disappear online. It is very common for criminals to steal money from people’s accounts or through identity theft then buy cryptocurrency, transfer it to different accounts, sell it, and repeat the process several times over.

If the police are unable to find stolen money then they naturally cannot find the people who stole it, to begin with. If you are planning on using the internet to search for houses then do everything you can to protect yourself. It is especially important to protect yourself if you are going to be buying houses online. Buying houses online can be extremely dangerous as there is a lot of money involved in most house purchases.

Online research

In terms of actually finding a realty platform to use, you need to find one that has built up a positive reputation for itself. Unfortunately, some of the web’s most popular platforms have in recent years been caught selling people’s data to marketing companies without their permission or by deceiving them.

If you are somebody who cares about data security and doesn’t want to be bombarded with spam calls and messages then find a reliable platform. Finding a reliable platform is easier said than done, however. To do it you need to conduct extensive research and read as many guides as you can. Internet guides can help you to find platforms that are trustworthy and genuine.

Sadly a lot of people completely neglect them and choose to rely on instinct. Instinct isn’t sufficient for determining whether a platform’s worth using or not.

Reading reviews

Once you have found a site that you want to use make sure that you go ahead and read its reviews. Today a lot of people overlook and neglect reviews. A site’s reviews can tell you a lot about it and its ethics. Unethical practices are some of the first things people write about when they leave reviews.

It does need to be noted that not all websites do have reviews. Some realty platforms have no reviews whatsoever and you might be surprised to learn that that is actually a good sign. An absence of reviews just means that consumers have nothing negative to say about a website.

People rarely leave positive reviews. The only times people do leave positive reviews is if they have been asked to or if they have had a fantastic experience (which is something that reality platforms can’t offer since they are just middlemen).

If you are interested in buying a house then you need to think about data security first. Until you do everything you can to protect yourself you are at risk of being defrauded or having your money stolen. Protecting yourself online isn’t as hard as many people make it out to be. All you need to do to keep yourself safe is follow this post’s guidance.

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We are Karolina, Patryk, and Mia, the lazy traveling family. After spending 5 years as digital nomads, and living in many countries in the world, we decided to make Poland our base.

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