Share Your Story: I Found My Personal Info Online - Now What?
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 is 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 information 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 is 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.
In this article, we're going to look at how you can opt out of ten of the most popular background check and people search websites. Note: Removing your data from these websites does not make it inaccessible online; just less easy to access. Someone who knows what they are doing will still be able to find this information, but it will definitely be more difficult to track down. You DO NOT need to pay for your information to be removed. If ID is requested, scan some form of ID (state-issued ID, i.e., a drivers license); this is requested to verify your identity. Be sure to black out your picture and drivers' license number, leaving your name, address and date of birth visible.
"All users can suppress their information by clicking on the “Suppression” link located on the bottom of any Spoke Profile page. Clicking this link takes you to a contact form where you submit the URL of the profile you wish to suppress and provide an email associated with that profile so that we can confirm the suppression request. Once confirmed, the page will be suppressed. Users may also request suppression of their information by submitting a suppression request directly to Spoke by clicking here."
"If for any reason you are concerned that the Personal Information or Billing Information you provided to us is not correct and you wish to change it, you have the ability to review and update your personal information online by logging into your account at http://www.usa-people-search.com/login.aspx. You can also email us regarding your personal information by using our contact form located at http://www.usa-people-search.com/contact.aspx."
4. White Pages
"In order to stop further collection of information by us, you will need to stop using our products and services."
You can choose to be excluded from third-party inclusion on their site:
"To stop collection of information in connection with the use of our products and services, you will need to stop using them. To stop information collection for purposes of relevant online advertising, click here. To stop collection of browsing information via supporting web browsers, click here. At this time, there is no industry solution to opt-out of receiving relevant mobile advertising."
"We value your privacy and, upon request, can block your records from being shown in many, but not all, of our search results. Unless otherwise required by law, we will only accept opt-out requests directly from the individual whose information is being opted-out and we reserve the right to reject all other opt-out requests. We are unable to remove any information about you from databases operated by third parties. We are not able to block your records from any other web sites, as their databases are not under our control. To have your records removed please fill out the form here."
You can also contact customer service.
In order to opt-out from Intelius, follow the steps outlined on this page.
"Acxiom enables consumers to opt out of our online advertising products and our marketing and directory information products. In addition, Acxiom allows consumers, when appropriate, the ability to access and correct the information found in our directory and fraud detection and prevention information products."
"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."
"Spokeo aggregates publicly available information from third party sources. Therefore, removing a listing from our directory will not remove your information from its original source and therefore your information might still appear on other directory sites. You may have multiple listings on Spokeo, each of which is identified by a unique URL and must be removed individually. To remove a listing from Spokeo, please enter the URL of the profile: and your email address (for verification purposes)."
"I understand that removal of information from www.peekyou.com does not constitute removal from the internet, and that my information may still be available on other public websites. As such, I understand that my information may resurface on www.peekyou.com if I do not take steps to limit my privacy settings on other websites and/or remove my information from those websites."