- 
Listen To The Story
Marketplace

It's hard not to feel insecure about the economy these days, but at least your identity's safe, right? That's what host Tess Vigeland thought. She's the type who shreds documents, and only pays online at accredited websites.

But recently someone with the online security firm Safe Shepherd sent her a dossier with a close-up look at all the stuff people can find out about Tess. She was shocked.

The info found: Tess' married and maiden names (she uses her maiden name on-air, a delibrate choice), her current address, previous addresses and more. And that was from the most simple search available.

So Tess asked Robert Leshner of SafeShepherd.com to come in and talk about how much of our data is up for grabs and who's wanting it.

Most of the information online about you has always been publicly available. It's just with all public information moving online, it's much easier for data brokers to find and aggregate that information.

"Any of the pieces of information on their own are somewhat harmless," Robert Leshner said. "But the picture that can be built about somebody when all of these pieces of information come together -- such as where you live and how much money you make and your political views and your interests and who your family members are and your cell phone number, even if it's not published -- when all of this comes together, it makes it very easy for anybody with the wrong intent to cause trouble."

Listen to the audio above to learn who's looking for this information and potential ways you can protect yourself.

“I think the best compliment I can give is not to say how much your programs have taught me (a ton), but how much Marketplace has motivated me to go out and teach myself.” – Michael in Arlington, VA

As a nonprofit news organization, what matters to us is the same thing that matters to you: being a source for trustworthy, independent news that makes people smarter about business and the economy. So if Marketplace has helped you understand the economy better, make more informed financial decisions or just encouraged you to think differently, we’re asking you to give a little something back.

Become a Marketplace Investor today – in whatever amount is right for you – and keep public service journalism strong. We’re grateful for your support.

Follow Tess Vigeland at @tessvigeland