The internet knows far more about you than you might think. From your age and marital status to how many bathrooms your house has, a scary amount of your personal information is available to other people online.
There is a simple reason why so much of your personal information is on the internet — your personal data is valuable to other people. Marketing companies pay premium rates to get a hold of your information to target their advertisements better. Unfortunately, as advertisements become more personalized, the demand for your personal information continues to grow.
This demand is also met by a general lack of robust data-privacy legislation. You have very little legal protection against companies scraping your data from public records and compiling information on online databases.
Data brokers, such as Spokeo, Intelius, and Whitepages, profit from making your information available to third parties and anyone else who might be searching your name. While what they do isn’t strictly illegal, if your personal data gets into the wrong hands, you could be in a lot of trouble.
Why Would You Remove Your Personal Information From the Internet?
Personal information is usually kept private for a reason. If someone can get a hold of a few simple data points about you, such as your full name, phone number, and home address, it can be surprisingly easy for them to hack into your personal and financial accounts. This isn’t just a theoretical problem, either.
Identity fraud affects at least 1 in 15 people in the US every year.
Your personal information also has a real dollar value to marketing companies who use it to target you with robocalls and advertisements both online and offline.
Can You Remove Your Personal Information From the Internet Yourself?
You can, but it’s not easy or straightforward. Every year, people are, often voluntarily, putting more of their personal information online, whether they know it or not.
The first thing that you need to do is find where your personal information is being made available on the internet. This can be a difficult process as more than 40 different data brokers may be hosting your personal information at any time.
If you somehow manage to find every data broker and third party website or blog that has your personal information, the next step is to ask them all to remove your personal information.
While you can remove your personal information from some online brokers in a relatively easy and quick way, others make the process much more complicated. Some data brokers will even make you send in physical correspondence — a process that could take weeks. With websites and blogs, you will also need to find out who owns the site and email them.
You’ll also need to check:
- All of the online profiles that you’ve set up over the years
- Your phone apps
- Any ads or accounts you’ve ever listed on sites like craigslist or eBay.
This is not a one time chore either. To make this truly effective, you have to repeat this process continuously and regularly search for where your personal information is being held and get it removed. Otherwise, your private data will keep popping up online.
The Easier Way
While it’s possible to remove your personal information from the internet yourself, it’s not ideal. Searching for and carefully removing your personal information manually could take you a very long time.
It’s also all too easy to miss places where your personal data might be posted online. Fortunately, there’s a more cost and time-effective way to delete yourself off the internet.
Bring in the professionals
For around the price of a monthly Netflix subscription, you can have the benefit of the best company to remove your personal information from the internet. That means getting a customized service that searches for your information online, tracks down exactly where it is held, and coordinates efforts to remove it. That service is called DeleteMe.
How DeleteMe works
DeleteMe isn’t an algorithm; it’s a company made up of real human beings who will treat your request in full confidentiality while working with you to protect your privacy. The way DeleteMe’s service works is straightforward:
- You subscribe to DeleteMe and let it know what personal information you want to remove from the search engines.
- DeleteMe’s team of experts then scour the web for all and any instances of your personal information held by third party sites.
- A week after you sign up, you’ll receive a detailed report showing you where your private information is stored on the internet.
- Over the next three months, DeleteMe will work to remove all of this information from appearing in search engines.
As long as you stay subscribed, DeleteMe will repeat this process every three months to ensure that your personal information does not reappear on the internet. You can also get in touch with them at any time about protecting your privacy.
The Best Company to Delete Personal Information From the Internet
It’s possible to remove your personal information from the internet yourself — but it’s not easy to do. Unfortunately, your personal information can’t be removed from the internet with a flick of a switch or a single email. The reality is a long and drawn-out process. If you truly value your privacy, and your time, hiring a company like DeletMe is a much better idea than doing it yourself.