What Data Brokers Know About You

Data brokers collect massive amounts of data on you and make predictions about a wide range of your personal traits, some of what they collect is listed below.


Category Data
Identifying data Name, previously used names, address, address history, longitude and latitude, phone numbers, email address
Sensitive identifying data Social Security number, driver’s license number, birthdate, birthdate of family members in household
Demographic data Age, height, weight, gender, race/ethnicity, country of origin, religion (by surname at household level), language, marital status, presence of elderly parent, presence of children in household, education level, occupation, family ties, demographic characteristics of family members in household, number of surnames in household, veteran in household, grandparent in house, Spanish speaker, foreign language household, households with a householder who is Hispanic origin or Latino, employed (white or blue collar occupation), work at home, length of residence, household size, congressional district, single parent with children, ethnic and religious affiliations
Court and public record data Bankruptcies, criminal offenses and convictions, judgments, liens, marriage licenses, state licenses and registrations, voting registration and party identification
General interest data Apparel preferences, attendance at sporting events, charitable giving, gambling (casinos or state lotteries), thrifty elders, life events (e.g., retirement, newlywed, expectant parent), magazine and catalog subscriptions, media channels used, participation in outdoor activities (e.g., golf, motorcycling, skiing, camping), participation in sweepstakes or contests, pets, dog owner, political leanings, assimilation code, preferred celebrities, preferred movie genres, preferred music genres, reading and listening preferences, donor (e.g., religious, political, health causes), financial newsletter subscriber, upscale retail card holder, affluent baby boomer, working-class moms, working woman, African-American professional, biker/Hell’s Angels, Bible lifestyle, New Age/organic lifestyle
Social media data Electronics purchases, friend connections, internet connection type, internet provider, level of usage, heavy Facebook user, heavy Twitter user, Twitter user with 250+ friends, is a member of more than 5 social networks, online influence, operating system, software purchases, type of media posted, uploaded pictures, use of long-distance calling services, presence of computer owner, use of mobile devices, social media and internet accounts (e.g., on LinkedIn, Amazon, Flickr, NBA.com)
Home and neighborhood data Census tract data, address coded as public/government housing, dwelling type, heating and cooling, home equity, home loan amount and interest rate, home size, lender type, length of residence, listing price, market value, move date, neighborhood criminal/demographic/business data, number of baths, number of rooms, number of units, presence of fireplace, presence of garage, presence of home pool, rent price, type of owner, type of roof, year built

CC-BY-ND Source: FTC



Image: “Data Security and Privacy” by Dominic Smith is licensed under CC BY 2.0