When someone Googles your name, there’s a whole host of information about you they might find. Sometimes this is good, like finding links to your personal website or Twitter account. But sometimes there is information that you don’t want to share online, like your home address or phone number. So your online privacy would be an important matter for you to be protected against cyber attacks. Therefore it is essential here to remove your personal data from the internet. You can read our article to see who is looking for you online.
Directory listing websites can hold a lot of your personal information. But fortunately there is a way to get this information taken down. In this article, we’ll show you how to take control of your data and remove your details and personal data from these websites.
You might be shocked by how many websites list information about you. Sites like online directories, address listing sites, and background check websites are common. You’ll find sites like Whitepages.com, which lists personal information on many people in the U.S. (In the U.K., 192.com does the same thing.)
Often these sites have some information available publicly. Then they charge people to access more information such as full addresses.
The idea is that these sites can offer useful information for potential employers, skip tracers, or journalists. But this data can very easily be misused. And you never know who is looking at your personal information.
How to Remove Your Personal Information from the Internet?
If you’ve ever searched for someone on the web, what you usually end up finding is data gleaned from publicly accessible information. Websites that have this data, like phone numbers, addresses, land records, marriage records, death records, criminal history, etc., have collected and consolidated it from dozens of different places and put it in one convenient hub.
While this information is available online for public access, it’s the consolidation of this information in one place that can make people uncomfortable. The most popular people search websites simply use information that’s a matter of public record, however, this data used to be somewhat obscured by how difficult it would be for someone to compile this amount of information on someone.
The following websites are not doing anything illegal. This is all public information. Sites that collate this type of data function as search engines for public data. We all scatter small bits of our personal information all over the place in real life and online, but since it’s spread out and requires effort to access, this affords us a certain level of privacy. Aggregating all this information into one place and making it so easily accessible can bring up serious privacy concerns.
Below, we’ll look at how you can opt out of several of the most popular background check and people search websites. You do not need to pay in order to remove your personal data.
What Information About You Is Available Online?
These sites can gather a lot of information about you, including:
- Your name
- Your current home address
- Other addresses where you have previously lived
- Your email address
- Your mobile and home phone numbers
- Date of birth
- Names of your relatives
- Details of any criminal convictions
- Details of arrests that did not lead to a conviction
- Names of your friends, business partners, or housemates
- Whether you are married or divorced and the name of your spouse
- Your education
- Your employer
- Assets, such as whether you own a house
Some sites may even have access to much more sensitive personal data such as your social security number.
What’s Wrong With Personal Info Being Available?
When you see it listed out like that, it’s pretty scary how much information about you can be obtained. Especially as all it takes to find is a quick Google search. If you’re concerned about privacy, you should get this information taken down. This is particularly important if you want to avoid being stalked or harassed.
But there’s another reason to be concerned about the availability of this data too. Having this information easily available makes you vulnerable to identify theft, spear phishing, SIM swaps, and other cyber attacks. The more people who can access your personal details, the easier it is for someone to pretend to be you or to target you in an attack.
Simply: anyone can steal your identity.
Where Do These Websites Get Their Data?
Although these sites may be annoying and intrusive, they are not illegal. Even though you didn’t give you information to the sites personally, they merely collate information which is already publicly available.
Often these sites source data from public government databases. These include the electoral roll, census records, criminal conviction databases, marriage certificate records, land use records, and more.
While you have to accept that some information about you will be publicly available, it’s quite a different story to have all this data available on one website. It’s also concerning that this information is accessible through a simple Google search.
Another source of information that many sites use is your social media profiles. If you have publicly accessible personal information available on your Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter account, it will likely end up on a directory site.
How to Remove Your Information From Public Sites
It used to be that listings websites would make it very difficult for you to remove your data. Often they would request annoying things like printing and posting a paper form, or even requiring you to send a fax.
But now, thanks in part to new EU data control laws, the sites must give you a reasonable way to remove your details. Even if you live outside the EU, if the site operates within Europe then it must allow you to remove your information.
Unfortunately there is no way to opt out of all these sites at once. You will have to submit a request for your data to be removed from each site individually. But it shouldn’t take too long. Usually you just need to fill out an online form and the site will take down your details within a few days.
A word of warning though: sometimes sites will ask for more of your details in the removal form. You should only ever give the details that the site already has. For example, maybe a site lists your name and address but not your phone number. When you fill out the removal form you should only put in your name and address.
If the site asks for a phone number or email address, use a fake one. Don’t give any more information to these sites than they already have.
Where to Go to Remove Your Information
Here is a list of some of the most common data collection websites with links to their respective opt out pages:
You can find a longer list of personal data websites with instructions on how to remove your details from each at wiki.onerep.com.
The best way to check which sites you need to remove your personal data from is by running a search on yourself. Enter your name into Google and see what comes up. If you have a common name, add your state or zip code to the search query to filter out irrelevant results.
How to Remove Personal Data From Radaris
To remove your personal data from Radaris, find yourself in their public records and then verify that you are who you say you are. So that you can delete your data from their website.
- Visit the Radaris homepage.
- Search for yourself using the text boxes.
- On the result that pertains to you, click Full Profile.
- On the profile page, next to the Background Check & Contact Info button, use the small arrow to select Control Info.
- Click Control Info on the following page.
- Log in to finish removing your personal data. You can make a new account right now using the form on the page, or log in with Facebook or Google.
- Fill out your information to verify that your name matches the record on Radaris.
- Enter your phone number in the space provided so that they can send you a verification code.
- When you receive the code, enter it on the Radaris website.
- Select the View Profile button on the next page.
- Repeat step 4 above by selecting the Control Info button.
- On the next page, click Manage Info.
- Next to your profile, select Delete specific records. You can instead make your entire profile private by choosing the other link on that page.
- Scroll through the list of records and put a check in the box next to anything you want to remove from Radaris.
- At the very bottom of the page, click Remove selected record(s).
How to Remove Personal Data From USA-People-Search
USA People Search allows you to fill out a form to review what the website has on you so that you can choose to opt out of their database.
- Visit the “Opt Out” page and search for yourself.
- Find the entry that has your information in it, and click THAT’S THE ONE.
- Complete the security check and agree to the TOS.
- Click Continue.
How to Remove Personal Data From Whitepages & 411.com
Whitepages does not let you edit the personal data they have on you, nor can you necessarily remove your personal information. However, they do provide a way to to hide your information from their website.
411.com uses the same information found on Whitepages, so deleting your personal data through the steps below is how you remove your personal information from 411.com, too.
- Search for yourself from the Whitepages homepage.
- When you find your information, click View Details.
- From the navigation bar in your browser, copy the URL to your profile page.
- Paste the URL into the Opt-out of Whitepages form.
- Click Opt-out.
- Verify that the information is what you want to delete from Whitepages, and then click Remove me.
- Pick a reason for wanting to erase your online information.
- Click Submit.
- Enter your phone number into the box.
- Click Call now to verify.
- Whitepages will call you and have you type the number you see on the screen.
If your information is being displayed in a premium listing, you have to verify your identity in order for the data to be deleted. To do that, fill out this support request form and choose “I need to edit or remove a listing.”
Remove Your Personal Data and Stay Safe
Directory sites, background check sites, and address listing sites are all common. They can list information about you without your permission.
But you can get your data taken down. Using the links in this article you can remove your personal data from these websites which will help protect you against cyber attacks.
While you’re at it, you might also want to remove your personal data from Google to further improve your online privacy.