It can be mind boggling to find out how much information about is floating around the internet. Even if you have an unlisted phone number, your address and phone number could very well still be very easily obtainable online.
In order for you to take control of your information, you’ll have to be a little pro-active. Keep in mind, there are many public-record sources that house personal information. There is no way to clear these records, other than to not be in them in the first place. Back in the day, it wasn’t so easy to data mine these public records for useful information – you had to deal with government office hours, less-than-helpful government employees, the questioning looks and possibly even questioning questions (despite the “freedom” to access the information, people still want to know why … and will quite possibly remember you if you’re a bit “off”). These days, however, anyone with a computer and an internet connection is able to scan these public records from the privacy of their own home.
This is a list of some of the sites that disseminate your personal information, and how to either get yourself removed from their databases, or at least get your name filtered out of their results.
This is not a comprehensive list, but it should be enough to cover the basics. Of course, if you’re willing to pay a fee, very little is out of reach, and there’s very little anyone can do about it … but this should help make it harder for the casual stalker to find you ;P
A good starting place to see how things look for you would be Pipl.com – http://pipl.com/ – Does a quick scan across a number of info sites, including social networking, discussion/comment aggregators, and photo storage sites.
- Google PhoneBook – Visit http://www.google.com/intl/en/help/pbremoval.html
- WhitePages.com (back-end for a number of other sites) – To remove a home or work listing:
- Search WhitePages for the listing you want to remove.
- If your search includes multiple results, find and click on your name.
- Click the, “Remove this listing,” link and follow the instructions.
- Yahoo People Search – http://help.yahoo.com/l/us/yahoo/profiles/peoplesearch/people-05.html
- AnyWho – Visit http://www.anywho.com/help/privacy_list.html
- Addresses.com – http://www.addresses.com/optout.php
- PeopleFinders – http://www.peoplefinders.com/help/article.aspx?topic=privacy4
- Spokeo – http://www.spokeo.com/- Search for yourself on Spokeo first, and copy the URL of your directory listing. Then go to http://www.spokeo.com/privacy to fill out a form, where they ask for the URL of the listing you want removed.
- People Search Pro – http://www.peoplesearchpro.com/PSP.aspx?_act=optout
- Phone Detective – Reverse look-up for cell phone numbers. http://www.phonedetective.com/PD.aspx?_act=OptOut
A few “problem children.” These sites require you to jump threw a few extra hoops in order to block your information. If you only do one, do Intelius – Their information powers a lot of other sites out there. If you take the time to nip the Intelius bud, that will stop the flow of information to many other places.
- ZabaSearch – http://www.zabasearch.com/block_records/block_by_mail.php
“In order for ZabaSearch to “opt out” your public information from being viewable on the ZabaSearch website, we need to verify your identity and require faxed proof of identity. Proof of identity can be a state issued ID card or driver’s license. If you are faxing a copy of your driver’s license, cross out the photo and the driver’s license number. We only need to see the name, address and date of birth. We will only use this information to process your opt out request. Please fax to 425-974-6194 and allow 4 to 6 weeks to process your request. ”
- Intelius – http://www.intelius.com/privacy.php
“In order for us to suppress or opt out your personal information from appearing on our Website, we need to verify your identity. To do this, we require faxed proof of identity. Proof of identity can be a state issued ID card or driver’s license. If you are faxing a copy of your driver’s license, cross out the photo and the driver’s license number. We only need to see the name, address and date of birth. We will only use this information to process your opt out request. Please fax to 425-974-6194 and allow 4 to 6 weeks to process your request. We will only process opt out requests received by fax and no request will be processed without complete information (i.e., name, address and date of birth). Requests for opt out will not be processed over the phone or via email.”
“However, please note that any time your identifying information appears in a public record or in a publicly or commercially available manner, in a way that is different from the particular record you opted out, it will again appear on our Website. For example, if your address or area code changes, your new information — including other associated identifying information — will again appear unless you opt out the new record. Similarly, if the way in which your name or address appears in a record differs from a record you opted out (e.g., “Michael” instead of “Mike,” or “1212 Second AVE NE” instead of “1212-2nd Avenue Northeast”), we may include the differing record.”
- US Search – http://privacylock.ussearch.com/
Offers a “Privacy Lock” service (no fee) to block access to your public records through their site, as any affiliate sites they power. After identifying the record you wish to block, they give you a form to print out, which you need to return to them along with a copy of your Driver’s License or State ID.