Most people expect that when they upload a picture to Facebook, just their friends and family will see it. Oftentimes, people upload several pictures at a time, not thinking about each individual one. But somewhere, deep in an album of hundreds of pictures, one stands out… to insurance companies.
Insurance companies are more often than not using data mining these days, and most of the time it is against you. They are utilizing your social media profiles to classify and rate you and develop your policies. In some cases, they will use it to detect fraud. While we choose to put this information out there, how far is too far? It’s been reported that some insurers will go to someone’s Facebook page, see that they “like” a fast food restaurant or have a picture of them rock climbing, and up goes that premium. Unhealthy eating habits and participation in dangerous activities aren’t appealing to insurance companies. Some have gone so far as to see how often you use your bank’s ATM, as it has been determined that people who pay with cash supposedly live longer than those who use credit cards or write checks.
It’s scary enough that this information is out there, but it gets scarier. It’s getting easier and cheaper for insurers to find, categorize and analyze this information with the development of new data mining software that does it all automatically as well as the purchase of it from marketing firms that aggregate data.
What does a quick Internet search say about you? Probably more than you ever expected. Google yourself and see what surprises you may find.