January 28 was Data Privacy Day and one problem that plagues many internet users is spam.
“I’ve definitely gotten plenty of emails from people I’ve never even heard of,” says Tim Tucker. “Anytime I do, I say, 'take me off the list, I didn’t ask for that.' ”
You didn’t ask for it, but that doesn’t stop those pesky unwanted emails from popping up in your inbox.
“They just get your information usually from you signing up from something else,” says Tucker.
And it turns out, most times, they have every right to because you’re authorizing it by blindly signing off on the fine print.
“When you sign up for them, you allow them to use your data, either internally, or sell it to other parties,” says cybersecurity expert Kevin Hayes of Merit Network .
WXYZ spoke with Hayes about what you can do if you’re not a fan of third parties partying with your personal info.
“You can actually set different aspects, so you know who could potentially be selling your data,” he says.
Here’s how it works. The next time you sign up for a newsletter, app or website, in the section that prompts you to write your middle name, instead use the name of the company.
That way, when you start receiving spam emails from that unknown business, you’ll know exactly which site gave them the access.
Meanwhile if you have a Gmail account, then you can take advantage of another inside tool. Instead signing of up with your regular email, add a plus sign and the company name before the @ sign, and messages will still reach you, but with an added benefit.
“You use that to do all your business and if you see anyone but that one company send an email to that address, you know that its been sold or potentially compromised,” says Hayes.
Once you know, you can at least unsubscribe immediately and think twice about doing business with them in the future.