How to Remove Your Personal Information From the Internet
Read our step-by-step guide to reducing your online footprint.
Marriage records, phone number, current address, and even salary history - there's a lot of information about you floating around on the internet. For most people, the want to remove personal information from the internet isn't about going completely off the grid. It's more about taking steps to protect yourself while minimizing your online footprint which, in turn, will produce less information when someone runs a background check on you.
Since background checking services pull information from public records, you can take steps to mitigate the amount of online information that is available, but it's important to note that it's unlikely you will be able to eliminate everything.Search Anyone Free
For all those who are wanting to take steps to delete yourself from the internet, we've got you covered.
Step 1: Run a Background Check on Yourself
The first step in removing yourself from the internet is understanding what's out there. Do this by running a PeopleWhiz search on yourself. As our system pulls information from public records, you will be able to view what someone else would see if they were to search for you.
Public records include much more than what people think. Here's just a snippet of what a report on you could include:
- Address history
- Criminal records
- Personal data, like date of birth and related persons
- Social media networks
- Marriage and divorce records
- Legal filings
- Business findings
- Property information
See what's out there about you now!
Step 2: Decide Just How Private You Want to Be
There are different levels of deleting personal info online, from those who are just looking for a less invasive online experience to people who want as much scrubbed from the internet as humanly possible.
To better gauge the scope of the task before you, you will first need to figure out the level of privacy you're after. That decision will dictate your next steps.
Step 3: Consider a Virtual Private Network (VPN)
If you have decided you'd still like to use the many online resources that are available, then consider opting for a Virtual Private Network, or VPN.
A VPN connects your device to another server and then uses that internet connection to do your browsing. This means that you could be connected to a server in a different country, and your online footprint will appear to come from that country, instead of where you are currently located.
This is especially helpful if you typically use a public Wi-Fi connection, as a VPN works to secure data that could otherwise potentially be visible to users on that same network. A VPN is another layer of online security, which is be beneficial in your quest to protect your personal information.
Step 4: Delete Online Accounts
This step is for those who are looking to have a big impact when it comes to deleting personal info. Social media accounts are a great place to start, as they typically have your name and a variety of photos. Posted a selfie at your favorite downtown restaurant? Now people can not only see what you look like, they can see where you are located. Each post makes you more accessible, so keep this in mind when checking into places or tagging friends.
As an alternative to this, you may want to remove tags or selfies, or even create separate accounts under a pseudonym that you will post from instead.
Deleting accounts is not limited to social media networks. To make a significant impact on your online presence, you'd also have to delete email and other web service accounts, or edit them in a way that removes all direct or indirect references to your identity and location.
Step 5: Opt Out of People Search Sites
This step may be a little tedious, as it requires you to contact different services that pull public records. Each of these services should have a straightforward opt-out process. While opting out won't limit the amount of information that is available on you, it does cut down on the number of organizations that are gaining access to it. Every little bit helps!
Don't yet remove yourself from PeopleWhiz, as you will want to perform another background check on yourself to see the difference your internet scrub has made.
Step 6: Perform a Follow-Up Background Check
Once you have removed as much data from the internet as you're able or willing to, wait a few weeks and then run another PeopleWhiz search on yourself. This will help you get a feel for the amount of information you were able to remove, and further target areas you want to focus on.
It's a good idea to run a report on yourself a few times a year, especially if you're concerned about your privacy.
Stay Safe Out There
Always be mindful of your online activities and be cautious when it comes to divulging personal information. By following the above-outlined steps and continuing to be vigilant when it comes to limiting the amount of personal material you put online, you can greatly reduce what's available on you during a public records search.Search Anyone Free