A new trend is to use personal information to make money online.
It could mean people will sell your information to the highest bidder, or to marketers, or a social media network that wants to target their audience.
Here’s how to avoid it.
Read moreThe new trend has been noticed by consumer group Choice and Consumer Action, who are calling for greater protection for privacy and the right to privacy.
The two groups have written to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) seeking an urgent review of privacy laws and policies that can help prevent the sharing of personally identifiable information online.
In a statement to ABC News, Choice’s executive director of communications, Chris Ragan, said the company was concerned about the potential misuse of personal information online by social media companies and businesses.
“While Choice has no evidence that individuals have been targeted, we do want to ensure that consumers have access to and control over their personal information,” he said.
“Privacy is a fundamental human right, and Choice will continue to advocate for the implementation of privacy and data protection legislation.”
The groups said the information sharing should be limited to the individuals who request it and be “limited to that person’s individual circumstances”.
The groups also called for a mandatory data retention policy to protect privacy and personal information.
“We also want to see more safeguards to ensure consumers can access and control the personal information they share online,” they said.
Choice’s director of consumer affairs, Chris Gurney, said Choice had been “encouraged” by the recent trend to share personal information on social media.
“These concerns are based on the findings of a recent study commissioned by Choice,” he told ABC News.
“The research also shows that while some consumers share information about their personal details on social networks, most don’t.”
In fact, a significant number of consumers don’t share personal details with social media, and this may reflect a reluctance to share sensitive personal information with others,” he added.
Mr Gurne said it was important to be clear about what information is and is not personal and that people needed to be able to understand what information was being shared.”
What consumers should know is that information about themselves, about their friends and family, about other people, and about other online services is all being shared with other people,” he explained.”
And people should be able understand that information in a way that allows them to decide whether they want to share that information with their friends, family and other online users.