If you surf the internet at all, information about you is being collected. Just visit any website and they will collect information like what songs you downloaded, the technical information about your computer, addresses of sites you just visited and even your email address. Website owners can view these things about you and in some cases a lot more. If you register for websites, enter a contest or share information on a social site, they are likely collecting a lot more of your personal information. People have a lot of information about you easily accessible.

Ways You Volunteer your Personal Information

You actually volunteer your own information just by being online. If you are playing games, making purchases or just surfing the net you are sharing information. Your personal data is collected when you do things online like:

  • Fill our online registration forms
  • Create a personal profile
  • Complete an online IQ test or personality test
  • Participate in surveys
  • Enter a contest
  • Register to download a program, game or plug-in
  • Send someone an e-card
  • Subscribe to an email list or newsletter
  • Get “free” stuff online
  • Take quizzes

These are all ways that you volunteer your information. The sites extend a legitimate offer and when you sign up, your information is collected. Basically you are giving them your personal information for free.

Ways Your Information is Gathered Involuntarily

There are other ways that internet sites gather your personal information without you knowing about it. Some ways are legitimate while others are dishonest and deceitful. The primary ways your information is shared without your knowledge include:

  • IP Addresses
  • Cookies
  • Spam
  • Phishing
  • Viruses or Worms

If you visit a site online cookies can collect your IP address, the unique number attached to your computer or device. Some sites will ask for your information before they give you access to the site. Others announce that they use cookies to collect your information. Digital spam can collect, use and disclose your email address whether or not you have knowledge of it or give consent. Phishing is a fraudulent activity which will send you an email and try to get you to volunteer important information like credit card numbers or passwords. Viruses and worms are very harmful to your computer system. These are messages that can embed a malicious code in your computer and hijack your internet connection. They can cause a lot of damage to your computer and ultimately your reputation.