You probably already know that companies like Facebook and Google track your every move online. They do this so that they can provide users with interest-based, or targeted ads.
That's why advertisements seem to follow you around the internet. If you've done some online research on a camera you're thinking of buying, you most likely will see ads for that camera appear on different sites that you visit. Now, Google is starting to track people even when they are not online.
How Google is tracking you offline
Google has started tracking purchases made by users at brick-and-mortar stores who have clicked on digital ads associated with the item. The tech giant is doing this in an effort to convince companies to buy more digital ads.
Google is able to track these purchases by partnering with companies that track data. Google has access to nearly 70 percent of all credit and debit card transactions in the U.S. through these partnerships.
When this information is matched with ad clicks, it suggests to merchants that digital ads work. So you can probably expect to see more targeted ads in the future.
What you can do to stop being tracked
This type of tracking feels like more privacy loss. Not only that, but a database of information like this could end up being targeted by hackers. Cybercriminals could get their hands on victims' payment card information, email address, passwords and more.
If the idea of being tracked, even when you're not online, frightens you, you might want to think about opting out of ad tracking. Click here to learn how to take control of Google's interest-based ads.
With all the digital threats out there it can be a scary world. It's better to be safe than sorry.