How To REMOVE Your Personal Information Online For FREE (and PAID)
This blog was originally posted on Medium, July 2022
~ a guide on how to go from someone to no one online without having to pay someone online to be no one
NOTE: Please be aware that these processes do not reflect immediately. Usually when you submit a request it will take anywhere from instantly to several weeks to process fully. Some of them require you to print out and mail information back to them while others may require you to provide proof that you are who you say you are by method of entering your drivers license number, or social security number (SSN) directly onto the web page. It’ll be up to you to decide if you are comfortable providing that information or not. cont. There are hundreds of sites that exist online that actively maintain your information for the public to view. Knowing this, you can imagine just how many hours it would take for you to accomplish removing yourself from each one. Because of this, I decided to include a couple of well-known paid options at the end that will tackle 99.99% of websites for you at the end.
Let’s get started…
If there is one thing about being a security professional that is true, it’s that we are a bunch of highly-cautious individuals who live online, but stay offline as much as possible. Maybe it’s because we know the dangers, maybe it’s because we definitely know the dangers. Some of us just don’t care to have a blue check mark by our names. Some of us don’t take pride in being automatically populated in the Google search bar. Some of us do not want to be found and thus will choose privacy over celebrity status anytime, everyday.
Here is how to go from somebody to nobody online…
What Is Personally Identifiable Information (PII) ?
→ Why would you want to remove your information from the Internet in the first place? Well because you don’t want your PII available to anyone. PII is any type of data that can be used to identify and further target an individual or individuals, and that statement alone should be the fuel behind removing your information from the WWW. PII is considered to be one of the most safe-guarded types of information found on the Internet, and is not any sort of information that you would want siphoned from your network or computer maliciously. In fact, this is exactly how companies make the 5 o’clock news (and not in a good way). Here are some examples of PII before we get started:
Tax ID numbers
Passports and IDs
Date of birth (DOB)
Usernames and passwords
Social Security numbers (SSN)
Healthcare and insurance information
→ I would consider this the “nuke all” option. If you quite literally do not want to exist online, you will need to first complete the following:
Delete your social media accounts. I hate to be the bearer of bad news but this includes those dating apps used to find potential mates from anywhere in the world. I’m not talking about the ‘take a break’ option either. Delete your account(s) entirely and do not look back.
Shut down any and all active personal websites and blogs. This includes professional pages as well or links to the GitHub you’ve been harboring under an alias.
Remove any and all apps on your phone that you do not absolutely need. Remember, the point here is to be completely OFFLINE.
Turn off all electricity and water to your home. Sell your home. Find a spot in the woods. Pitch a tent. Live off the land. Wait…..this is my life’s plan….
key — legend
☎ telephone number
🥶 freeze your credit score
📙 resources and references
🔍 search yourself + family
ℹ️ page contains information
❌ remove personal information
🏠 remove property information
→ If you want to see if any of your email addresses have been apart of a data breach, haveibeenpwned will tell you exactly which incidents unintentionally exposed your information to the public. Results will look something like:
→ The above resource, haveibeenpwned, also offers a similar service in regard to passwords. By navigating HERE you can enter in any active passwords that you use to secure your accounts, and view if they have or have not been identified in a data leak. Results will look something like:
→ I know that there are plenty of people in the world who wonder if there are services you can rely on that will remove your phone number from those annoying call and text lists. I am happy to report that there are a couple of options that you can use that will slow down the bullying from spammers:
National Do Not Call Registry The National Do Not Call Registry allows you to decide whether or not you want to be apart of those exciting telemarketing calls informing you that your cars warranty is about to expire (this is a scam by the way). You can use this freely so feel obligated to pass this resource along to loved ones. However, if you just can’t wait to get the next call from a telemarketer, I do not recommend these two options here. ❌ opt out
USPhoneBook This option will remove your phone number from a public-facing web page that will display LOADS of personal information that may be tied to that number. This includes but is not limited to your past and current home address, as well as exposing possible matches to family members whose information is also leaked. When you click on the link below, carefully read the instructions on how to successfully navigate this process. ❌ opt out
Scraping Your Personal Data — FREE
→ In order to remove your information from the WWW, you have to know what websites are harvesting and babysitting your information in the first place. While there are over 100 sites that do exactly that, I tried to include some of the most prevalent and well-known services. Here is just a small list of websites you can start with:
BeenVerified 🔍 people search 🏠 property search
CheckPeople 🔍 people search ❌ opt out
FamilyTreeNow ❌ opt out
FastPeopleSearch ❌ opt out
InstantCheckMate ❌ opt out
Intelius 🔍 people search ❌ opt out
PeekYou 🔍 people search ❌ opt out
PeopleFinders 🔍 people search ❌ opt out
PeopleSearchNow ❌ opt out
PeopleSearchSite ❌ opt out
Pipl 🔍 people search ❌ opt out
Radaris 🔍 people search ❌ opt out
SearchPeopleFree 🔍 people search ❌ opt out
SmartBackgroundChecks 🔍 people search ❌ opt out
TruePeopleSearch ❌ opt out
TruthFinder ❌ opt out
VoterRecords ❌ opt out
White Pages 🔍 people search ❌ opt out
as of July 2022