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How Data Brokers Manipulate You

Last Modified Date: Nov 17, 2022
Lawrence Gentilello, CEO and Founder of Optery, and Heather Smith, Data Broker Operations Manager at Optery, discuss some of the techniques Data Brokers and People Search Sites use to manipulate you into buying background checks.

For Sale – Your Personal Information

The scariest type of brokers are the ones where you can just type in somebody’s name and find out where they are, is an example. You can find out where somebody’s house actually is. They have a map on the profile page.

Along with the other data brokers who as they’re searching for the person that you’re looking for or maybe yourself, they will come up with these screengrabs saying things like, “Are you sure you want to continue?” “The information you’re about to find might be disturbing.” Or, “We have found photos of John Doe that you’re looking for” or, “Criminal records and legal action information is popping up on our site. Are you sure you want to proceed?”

How People Search Sites Hack our Brains

What People Search Sites are really good at is stoking people’s psychology. They have all of these devices that have been built up over decades through trial and error that are are designed to get people to take the next step, to garner more curiosity, to get them to complete a form or to get them to hand over their credit card. They do all of these things to generate more intrigue or curiosity or fear. They’ll often do things like, “You’re not going to believe what you’re going to see next!” And they often intentionally have these long, slow loading processes just to get you into this state of eagerness and desire. It’s all based to hack the human brain to make you more likely to purchase these background checks, to take that next step and to hand over your money, to get them to reveal to you these deep, dark secrets of somebody else or sometimes of yourself. So that you will say, “Oh, my goodness, what do these people have on me?” They’re experts in that psychological gaming.

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