Chances are that I can learn a great deal about you with just your name, the city you live in, and few dollars.
Don’t believe me? Google yourself and take a look at any one of the people-finding websites that come up with your name attached. If you’ve never looked before you may be surprised to find that an alarming amount of your information is there for any person to see, and it would only cost them a few dollars to access more. To make matters worse, there is no way to stop this from happening. As the world clings to social media, moves to more e-commerce, and continues to overshare personal information; email addresses, phone numbers, and photos, the problem described above can only become worse for everyone.
You Can Opt Out
There is good news, however. You can opt out of these services and have your information removed from the service.
I recently sat down and devoted some time to removing as much of my information as possible, and I am happy to report it wasn’t nearly as frustrating as I thought it might be. Below are links to the Opt-Out and Information Removal pages for several different databases. Each has their own set of instructions for removing your information so be sure to read each page and follow the instructions. I will add more sites and pages to this list as I discover them.
Online Database Opt-Out Links
(last updated 7/22/2021)
MyLife – this one was a little bit trickier; MyLife requires that removal requests be emailed to them. You can do this by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and including a link to the information you want removed.
Michigan Residents Database – This is a new one for 2021 and looks to be scraping data that is a couple of years old. Make sure when you visit the page that you copy the link to your data, then go to the Opt Out link. If it gives you a “removal requests exceeded”, try turning on your hotspot or try again from another network.
VoterRecords.com – This one is trickier. You need to locate your page on this site, then find the “Record Opt-Out” button on the footer of the page.
White Pages – Like some of the other pages, you will need the link to the page your information is on before completing the form with WhitePages.
Moderating Your Online Presence
Unfortunately, this is not a one time thing. You may do this today only to discover months from now that you may need to do it once more. There are services that can do this for you, but these can be costly.
Services like DeleteMe specialize in taking over this process for you, for a fee. My opinion, take control of your own privacy by doing some of the following.
- Stop giving your phone number to Facebook and other social media platforms. TechCrunch and Gizmdo have reported that Facebook used numbers provided for “two-factor authentication” to target users with ads.
- Review your public and shared information on social media. You’ve probably forgotten all of the pages and things you’ve liked on Facebook, but they haven’t. They also keep a running list of advertisers you interact with, which you can review HERE.
- REMEMBER: If you aren’t paying for the service, YOU are the product. Facebook, Twitter, Google Searches. Everything you do online has value to someone, no matter how mundane.
If you have a site you want to add to the list above you can add a comment below. I will update this list as I discover more sites.