5 tips to protect your personal data

4 quick tips to lower the shutters against datapeepers

  1. Get a VPN to surf anonymously. A VPN costs only a few euros a month.
  2. No VPN? Then turn on your ‘private mode’: it blocks web pages’ attempts to track and remember browsing behavior. With Microsoft and Firefox, you turn on private mode via the key combination Ctrl + Shift + P; in Chrome and Opera with Ctrl + Shift + N. In Safari, press Cmd + Shift + N. You can also delete your browser history in all browsers when you close.
  3. Also choose your browser carefully: Google, Facebook and Microsoft can only make their look when you search the internet with your browser. Microsoft’s Edge Web Browser is packed with spyware. Google’s Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and its sister Opera are not averse to looking either, but they can be quite close to snoopers. The non-commercial browser Brave currently offers the most shielding options.
  4. Always change your passwords from time to time and do not use a single password for all your accounts. Learn how to create a strong password here.
  5. Always update and secure your modem or router! Here’s how you do it.

Your profile

One tenth of a cent, that’s the price advertisers are willing to pay for a zip code. At first glance, the market value of the internet bar is disappointing. For combined information on age, zip code and gender, data retailers no longer pay much: a maximum of five tenths of a penny. Remember that these amounts can not only be sold once, but indefinitely.

Pieces of an identity can be bought for almost nothing. Even a complete package with dozens of data on the internet provides barely a euro. Income, occupation, number of children, hobbies; all that knowledge is packed in such a package, also known as your profile. All the tenths of a cent seem like crumbs, but globally they constitute a thriving advertising industry. Facebook earns around 6 euros when this company sells its profile to its advertisers. Google knows more and even has 18 euros left over from trade data, reports the British trade magazine Wired.

The more confidential, the more expensive

The more accurate and therefore also the more confidential information, the deeper the advertisers are willing to dig into their pockets. Are you looking for a car? Then a profile becomes much more popular and the market value increases by another two tenths of a penny. That price doubles to almost half a cent as soon as someone searches the internet for vacations or mortgages, the British Financial Times found out.

People who are sick also become an eager target. Think of people suffering from depression, diabetes or cancer. The pharmaceutical industry charges a quarter per. person for their data.

Do you earn it yourself?

You can also earn your own personal data. Some online stores offer a 10 percent discount to customers in exchange for their email and mobile number or a ‘registration’. Dutch data collector Dataisme.com reimburses a few euros for a ten a month to individuals who provide private data for marketing purposes. At the American company Datacoup.com, a complete consumption pattern gives one dollar a week.

Yes, these side revenues are a lot lower than the amounts some consumers dream of. Western Digital recently researched what people think they’re worth to advertisers. On average, consumers put a price tag of 4500 euros on themselves. The reality is different: it is more against one euro.

How do they know so much?

Data collectors often receive this information about us for free. We are only too happy to visit websites that are ‘free’, but which then ask us for all sorts of personal things, in return for a price or a discount. This way you leave a data trace yourself.


But even if you avoid questionnaires and contests, websites collect information unnoticed. They place (invisible) cookies on your PC: data files that a website instantly recognizes previous visitors on a next visit. At each visit, the data collectors gather the old preferences together. They see what clothes you are looking at online, what kind of mortgage you are looking for and what destinations you would like to know more about. A purchase with a credit card enriches this profile.

Name is not even necessary

Data hunters often do not even need a name. This is nothing new. Maybe a letter from a local car dealer has fallen on the mat, with a swap offer on your old car. Your name was not on the envelope, but the license plate was. Tosse? No, the combination number plate plus postcode is only for sale. So the car dealer knows enough: what car you are driving, how old is that car and what your address is.


This goes even further online. Information about the internet address of your PC and the unique serial number of your mobile phone is also for sale. This way, you can be reached with advertising without the advertisers knowing your name. They only know a unique number on your phone and PC. Officially because they know a lot of other things. And therein lies a risk. Researchers at Harvard University in the United States, for example, managed to flawlessly identify 87 percent of Internet visitors using smart software, based solely on their zip code, age, and gender. In England, the National Health Insurance Fund was thus able to recognize insured persons with heart disease at an early stage. The idea of ​​raising their premiums has since been shelved, according to some rumors in the British press.

A little is a secret

The Internet is therefore teeming with data collectors who create profiles of all households in our country. Little remains a secret: zip code, age, gender, going out. Sometimes such a profile contains 70 characteristics: children yes or no, mortgages, jobs, education, professions, hobbies. Notices are then handed out to advertisers with, for example, ‘well-off elderly people without children’ or ‘car owners with caravans’, who are approached in this way.

Who collects our data?

Who are these data collectors? Not just obscure companies: the giants include Google and Facebook. For example, they store our search history. Anyone looking for health insurance should not be surprised that Google then presents us with ads for insurance companies in the search results. Custom search results are also becoming more common. For example, two people with the same keyword may get different results, depending on their preferences and browsing behavior.

exchange of data

In addition, there are many more data hunters who gather data together. For example, some apps on your smartphone slurp the contact information of all your friends from your smartphone’s phonebook and resell that information. The small print in the terms of use simply indicates that you have given permission for this. Some free games are also happy with data. Then you can only continue if your friends on Facebook ask for help and a playmaker immediately knows who your friends are. And there is much more: Some news sites fish for our preferences, WhatsApp registers a profile, and Ziggo remembers which TV shows we watch via its online service.


An email with bad or sloppy language is suspicious. Real companies and banks generally send correctly worded emails. Cybercriminals use translation machines. Online translation machines cause sentences that do not flow correctly, incorrect translations, capital letters in strange places or combinations of Dutch and English.

Have you received a strange email? Delete it and report it to Fraud Helpdesk.

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