Privacy and trust are rare commodities in today’s digital world. Data collection happens around the clock; every time you open a website, scroll through social media, or Google something that’s on your mind, your personal information is tracked. It happens so often that it has become commonplace in modern life. Roughly 6 in 10 Americans believe they simply cannot go through daily life without having data collected about them by companies or the government.
This extends to the information provided when applying for a job, opening a line of credit, or submitting a rental application. It has become the social norm and almost second nature for consumers to willfully hand over their personally identifiable information, no questions asked, for the sake of getting a new job or credit card. Even in situations that do not necessarily require Social Security numbers, it is often requested in applications to aid in identity verification.
Does all this risk really equal reward?
Companies often outsource background and credit checks to third parties, so when you submit your Social Security number and other sensitive information, it’s sent off to an independent third party somewhere and left vulnerable to hacks and data leaks.
In addition, you’re left out of the process and unaware of what details and information show up in your background check. This leaves consumers with no opportunity to identify or correct any misinformation that appears in their background checks, and no knowledge of where exactly their personal information has been sent or stored.
Seventy-nine percent of Americans say they are not confident that companies would admit to mistakes and take responsibility if they misuse or compromise personal information. This concern has been reinforced by companies in the past that have kept quiet about data leaks and did not immediately inform customers when their personal data was compromised.
In a world of 24/7 connectivity, it’s time for consumers to really think about how they’re putting themselves at risk by allowing their sensitive data to float around the digital space, and the lasting effects of the consequences. When your personal information gets into the wrong hands, it can be detrimental to your finances, career and reputation.
Although we cannot undo what is already out there in terms of our publicly available data, we can begin to take control of how our personally identifiable information is being shared. This will give us greater control over who sees this information and how it’s used.
We need to flip the entire background verification process on its head with a trust exchange network that’s purpose-built for consumers to take ownership and protect their data. Imagine being able to verify your identity, background, education and experience, all without having to give your Social Security number or other sensitive information to employers.
This will significantly change the way we prove trustworthiness in person-to-person transactions, and eliminate the need for archaic background checks that put consumer data at risk. As a collective, we can take back control of our data and create a shift in the digital trust space. Follow along to see this new trust exchange network come to life.