Your digital footprint is a record of your online activities, showing where you've been on the internet and the data you’ve left behind. Your footprint grows when you deliberately share something online or when sites and apps track your activity with or without your permission. When your data falls into the wrong hands, you could be at risk of identity theft.

Imagine you’re walking on the beach. Each step you take leaves behind an impression. Do this every day, and your footprints start adding up. They don’t just show where you've been; they indicate where you’re heading.

Your digital footprint is like that beach: A record of your online activities showing the sites you’ve visited, accounts you’ve created, and companies collecting your data. Whenever you sign up, log in, or hit send, you’re leaving an impression behind.

Sadly, these types of footprints aren’t washed away by the tide.

What makes up your digital footprint: Your active and passive digital footprints 

Your digital footprint grows every day you’re online in active and passive ways.

Your active digital footprint contains information shared by choice like posting on social media, signing up for a newsletter, or leaving an online review.

Adversely, your passive digital footprint is also made up of information collected without your consent like an app collecting your data without your knowledge or permission a website tracking your activity by installing cookies on your device, or an organization selling or sharing your data with outside parties.

It’s not uncommon for a person to have hundreds of items appear in their digital footprint given the amount of online touchpoints everyone uses daily from taking a morning run to scrolling social in bed.


  • Making purchases online 

  • Signing up for coupons or creating an account 

  • Registering for newsletters 

  • Downloading and using shopping apps 


  • Opening a credit card account 

  • Using a mobile banking app 

  • Buying or selling stocks 

  • Subscribing to financial publications and blogs 

Health and fitness 

  • Registering your email address with a gym 

  • Subscribing to a health and fitness blog 

  • Receiving health care 

  • Using apps to track your activities and workouts 

Reading and news 

  • Subscribing to an online news source 

  • Viewing articles on a news app 

  • Signing up for a publication’s newsletter 

  • Reposting articles and information you read 


  • Using social media on your computer or devices 

  • Logging into sites with your social media credentials 

  • Connecting with friends 

  • Sharing information, data, and photos with your connections 

  • Joining a dating site or app 

Checking your digital footprint 

If your personal information falls into the wrong hands, it can be used to commit identity theft and fraud. And the more information that exists about you online, the bigger your digital footprint — which can put you at greater risk of identity theft.

Because everyone spends so much time online, it can be challenging to find every trace left behind.

You can start by searching your full name, email address, and other personal information on a search engine; this will give you an idea of what information is shared about you online. Additionally, you can set up Google Alerts to notify you of any changes or new information about you online.

If you’re an Allstate Identity Protection member, be sure to connect your email address to the Allstate Digital Footprint®,  to see the online accounts associated with your email address and send privacy requests to companies.

For more tips on minimizing where your data lives online, check out our article on how to protect and reduce your digital footprint.