You need to learn how to remove yourself from background check websites.
Why? Because there’s something fundamentally wrong with background check websites. They get our personal data through public record sources, like birth certificates, real estate purchase and sale records, lawsuits, marriage licenses, and even social media accounts–for free–and then they stockpile it, post it for the world to see, and sell it.
Background check sites argue that they’re simply reposting public record information that already exists for anyone to access.
In reality, they’re doing something completely different: they’re making all of our personal info more visible and more accessible than ever before. It’s not just a public record anymore; it’s super public. There’s a big difference between A) physically walking down to a courthouse and asking for a copy of a legal filing so you can find someone’s name and address from it and B) looking it up on a search engine from your couch.
For people with stalkers, a history of domestic abuse, a vindictive ex, or just a general interest in staying private, having their contact information (phone numbers, home addresses, etc.) so readily available isn’t just annoying; it’s dangerous.
Privacy laws have not caught up with this new reality yet. Lawmakers need to recognize that the super-public nature of these background check sites, aka people search websites, has strayed too far from our original concept of “public record,” and everything needs to be opt-in by default.
If these companies want to profit off the facts that make us who we are–our names, ages, birth dates, addresses, and family members–we should have a say in that. And if we decide that it’s okay, we should see a cut of that profit. At the very least, these sites should have one uniform, simple, clearly-displayed opt-out method.
Until this happens, the burden is on us to play cat-and-mouse with these companies: we follow their convoluted rules and delete ourselves; they try to find us again.
DeleteMe will do it for you if you want to save time, but if you’d rather do it yourself, see below for full instructions. If keeping your contact information private is important to you, please keep spreading the word to anyone you care about.
Click on each background check site for detailed, step-by-step instructions on how to remove your name from their database:
Note: The removal process varies from one background check site to another; some will request that you fill out an opt-out form, while others may ask you to send an email or call them using contact details found on their opt-out page.
Having your personal information so readily available online puts you at increased risk of harassment, identity theft, and other threats.
Unfortunately, the above are not the only websites where people can find information about you, from your full name, date of birth, and aliases to court records and bankruptcies. To see an even longer list of people search sites, including Whitepages.com, zabasearch, mylife.com, and instant checkmate, go to our guide, where we detail the opt-out process for some of the most popular data broker sites.
Remember: data broker sites relist people once they collect more information on them, so you need to make removal requests to these sites regularly. Don’t have the time? DeleteMe can send opt-out requests on your behalf on a continuous basis.
DeleteMe is our premium privacy service that removes you from more than 30 data brokers like Whitepages, Spokeo, BeenVerified, plus many more.
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