a5fbe22707f8cb51de567f4868823db4f615977fc5e2f622991ef63c0a333fd8

How Do You Remove Personal Information From The Internet?

Discover effective steps to remove your personal information from the internet, protect your privacy, and regain control over your digital footprint.

By Michael-Ibekie-headshot

The information age is a feature of the present, not only is your personal data more unsafe, but also are the people around you. Currently, there is a wide range of online sources of private data, including social media accounts, search sites, data brokers’ platforms, and cookies of third-party online advertising networks.

As a result of this, you have the potential to be a victim of identity theft or virtual privacy breaches. Every now and then you may provide your address, phone number and even Social Security number (SSN) to data brokers, social media enterprises and other services that see you as just another client. This broken into pieces digital trace could give confidential details without hesitation and appear on the dark web.

It is extremely important to eliminate your personal data from the digital world by putting in place such preventive steps. Decide to whether you want to dispose old email accounts, consider your privacy settings on Google Maps, and remove the data from searches in engines and individuals, you should prefer to use a systematic strategy to guard your personal data from other people. 

Assess Your Personal Data on Digital Footprint

179070c398d304feb0be3dd40b30b56174b02e91d6d82884bb9e2238ecbda96d

Conduct Searches

Search Your Name: Enter your full name and common variations or nicknames into search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo. This will help uncover where your personal information is visible and reveal how much information from the internet is accessible to anyone online.

Use Other Identifiers: Besides names, search for your email addresses and phone numbers. This will expose where data brokers and people search sites may have shared your personal info. It's crucial to identify these sources to start the process of having that information removed.

Explore Data Brokers: Check popular data broker sites, which collect your information from public and private sources, often including personal details like addresses or phone numbers. Finding information from data brokers helps you know where to send removal requests.

Review Google Results: Look specifically for your name and personally identifiable information in Google search results. Learn how to remove personal information from Google by submitting URL removal requests, especially for outdated or incorrect data.

Don't Forget Apps: If you find your data online linked to certain apps or services, delete unused apps and accounts to minimize exposure. Get in the habit of regularly auditing your digital footprint to have enough information removed from the internet and to protect your data.

Check Public Records: Public records contain sensitive information that could be shared across multiple websites, increasing the risk of data collection. Investigate local courthouses and agencies to request that outdated or irrelevant personal information be removed.

Monitor Third-Party Cookies: These cookies can track data online and sell your personal information to marketers. Opt out of data collection wherever possible to safeguard your data privacy.

List Sites

Social Media Platforms

Facebook: Check all profile sections for personal information from the internet like birthdays, workplaces, and contact details. Review tagged photos and posts where personal data may be exposed.

Instagram: Audit your bio, photo captions, and tagged photos to find personal information online that should be protected or removed.

LinkedInReview your current and past work history, skills, and other details that may require removal or adjustments for privacy reasons.

People Search Sites and Data Brokers

Popular People Search Sites: Make a list of lesser-known people search sites where your personal information may be exposed, like Whitepages or Spokeo. These platforms often aggregate information from public records and social media, so prioritize removing data from the internet here.

Data Broker Sites: Note down data broker services like BeenVerified and MyLife that aggregate your personal info across multiple sources. Each data broker requires a unique removal process.

Personal Blogs and Websites

Identify your own blogs or websites that may be revealing sensitive information online. Delete old blogs or web pages that no longer reflect your current activities.

Email Services and Online Accounts

Old Email Services: Track down old email addresses or forgotten services that still hold your personal information. Delete your account if you no longer use these platforms.

E-Commerce Accounts: List e-commerce sites where sensitive details (like addresses) may be stored.

Categorize and Prioritize

High-Risk Information: Immediately work to remove your personal information from sites where it's most at risk, like social media or people search sites.

Outdated Information: Next, delete old accounts and personal details that may no longer be accurate but are still exposed.

Delete Old Social Media Accounts

4f2ef8b36509816c43e1225ee110a058ca359681d8065ff7ec9d32d4da752434

Review old or unused accounts that you no longer use or have forgotten about. These include forums, blogs, shopping accounts, and old email addresses. Unused accounts can hold sensitive data that you may not even remember sharing, and removing them will help secure your digital footprint.

Secure Your Social Media Presence

Privacy Settings

Adjust Profile Visibility: In 2024, social media platforms often default to making profiles and posts public. Adjust privacy settings on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to protect your personal information by allowing only trusted connections to see your posts and profile details. This minimizes how much personal information from the internet remains publicly visible.

Restrict Information Sharing: Prevent social media apps from sharing your data with data brokers or other third parties that might sell information for targeted advertising.

App Permissions: Disable apps that collect information or unnecessarily access your social media data.

Delete or Deactivate Accounts

Unused Accounts: Search for your name to identify old or unused profiles that still contain personal data. Deleting or deactivating these accounts will help remove outdated information from the internet, preventing companies from selling your information further.

Temporary Deactivation: If full deletion isn't an option, use the "option to delete" by deactivating the account, hiding your personal information until you're ready to return.

Old Emails: Ensure that you delete old email addresses linked to your inactive accounts for better security.

Remove Tags and Posts

Tagged Posts: Un-tag yourself from posts revealing sensitive information like location or job details that could be exposed to data brokers.

Delete Posts: Delete personal photos and posts that you don't want visible to the public. If someone else controls a post with your private data, ask them to remove your address or other important information.

Unlink Payment Details: If accounts contain linked payment information, remove those details for enhanced privacy and security.

Opt Out of Data Broker Sites and People Search Sites

Identify Key Data Brokers

Major Data Brokers: Data brokers are companies like Whitepages, Spokeo, MyLife, BeenVerified, and Intelius that collect and sell your personal information from the internet. They aggregate data like your name, address, phone number, and even family members or work history.

Search for Your Data: To identify where your personal information from data brokers might be listed, search for your name on their websites. This will help you understand which brokers have your information so you can specifically target them for removal.

Opt-Out Process

Visit Privacy Pages: Each broker has a unique procedure for requesting the removal of your personal data. Find their opt-out or privacy pages and follow the specific instructions, often requiring you to fill out a request form.

Provide Identification: You may need to provide ID or other personal details to verify your identity, ensuring that you're removing your own information from their listings.

Thorough Request: Make sure your opt-out request includes all relevant listings and variations of your name. Be precise in filling out the forms to remove personal information, ensuring no sensitive details remain.

Monitor Regularly

Set Reminders: After opting out, set reminders to check back with these data broker sites every few months. Their databases sometimes repopulate or miss your information, so keep an eye on the data brokers and request fresh removal if necessary.

Check Google Search Results: Search for your name in Google search results and verify that the information from other data brokers doesn't reappear.

Remove Your Information on Search Engines

Google Search Removal

URL Removal Tool

Remove Outdated/Sensitive Content: Google's URL Removal Tool lets you delete your personal information from Google search results. If you've already deleted content from your website or social media but it still appears in search results, submit a request to update Google's cache.

Instructions: Simply fill out a request with the necessary URLs to update Google's index. It's possible to remove much of the outdated or sensitive information from the internet for free this way.

Legal Requests

Deeply Personal Data: For serious issues involving personal information from other data sources, like Social Security numbers or explicit images, you can file legal requests directly with Google.

Provide Documents: Google requires documentation to verify the sensitivity of the information being removed. People must be prepared to submit all necessary information to validate their claims.

Other Search Engines

Bing

Content Removal Tool: Bing has tools similar to Google's for removing URLs and personal information from its search results. Visit Bing's Content Removal Tool to handle sensitive data on the platform.

Updating Index: Follow Bing's specific guidelines to update their index and eliminate outdated information from the internet.

Yahoo

Sensitive Information Removal: Yahoo Search allows you to remove outdated URLs and sensitive personal data through their processes. It's similar to Google and Bing in terms of requiring detailed requests.

DuckDuckGo

No Personal Profiles: Although DuckDuckGo doesn't create user profiles, it indexes publicly available data like other search engines. Removing your information from DuckDuckGo requires directly addressing the original source (like a website or social media platform) since the search engine can't filter its content directly.

Manage Public Records and Breach Data

Public Records Reduction

Identify Sensitive Public Records

Types of Records: Public records like property ownership, voter registrations, and legal filings contain personal details easily accessed.

Removal Requests: Contact county courthouses and local government offices to request the removal or redaction of sensitive data from internet-accessible files, where possible.

Opt-Out Options: In some regions, you can request confidential voter status or opt out from public property tax records to reduce exposure to data brokers.

Check Breach Lists

Have I Been Pwned or Firefox Monitor

Data Breaches: Tools like Have I Been Pwned or Firefox Monitor help you determine if your email addresses or personal details are on leaked lists, which hackers and identity thieves exploit.

Actionable Insights: These services offer insights on breached websites, the type of data compromised, and recommendations to secure your accounts.

Secure Affected Accounts

Change Passwords

Strong and Unique: Create strong, unique passwords for breached accounts and avoid reusing them across different services. You can use password manager like Bitwarden to generate a strong and unique password.

Enable Multi-Factor Authentication

Two-Step Verification: Use two-step verification to add extra security by requiring both your password and a temporary code sent to your phone or email. Tools like Authy and Google Authenticator can help you have this feature.

Delete Unused Accounts

Reduce Exposure: Closing unused accounts reduces your exposure to data breaches and simplifies managing your digital footprint.

Additional Protective Measures

Email and Phone

Separate Email Addresses: Consider using separate email addresses for sensitive activities like banking and another for everyday shopping or newsletters. This limits spam and exposure to data brokers.

Multiple Phone Numbers: Use a secondary phone number (e.g., Google Voice or prepaid SIM) for non-essential activities like online sign-ups. Your primary number will remain protected from unsolicited calls.

Revoke App Permissions

Disable/Uninstall Apps: Periodically review apps that collect sensitive data like contacts and location. Disable apps that don't need them or uninstall unused apps to prevent unauthorized data access.

Review E-Commerce Accounts

Remove Payment Info: Many online shopping accounts store payment information for quick transactions, risking data breaches. Regularly review accounts and remove stored payment methods.

Profile Cleanup: Delete saved addresses or birthdays and close inactive shopping accounts to reduce exposure.

Professional Data Removal Services

02da7a0a78e522aa805dfc0ba244af384b0b92ae2a211e97c38a4ffee203ff8e

When to Consider Professional Services

Overwhelmed by Data Brokers

Too Many Sites: If you want to remove your information from data brokers but feel overwhelmed by the number of sites and removal requests, a data removal service may help.

Specialized Needs: If you have large-scale data leaks or sensitive information from the internet that needs removal, a professional service can streamline this.

What They Offer

Scanning and Removal Requests

Data Broker Scanning: These services scan data brokers and people search sites for your personal information and submit removal requests on your behalf.

Monitoring and Alerts: They may also offer continuous monitoring to alert you when your personal data becomes visible again. This ensures quick removal without you needing to track each data source manually.

Choosing a Service

Research

Reputable Companies: Look for data removal services like MyDataRemoval with proven success and positive reviews for removing personal data. Check how they handle requests for data to brokers.

Features

Plans and Pricing: Evaluate features and pricing to see if they align with your needs. Look for personalized removal plans, dark web monitoring, and regular reports.

Discounts/Free Shipping: Some services may offer discounts or free shipping for extended subscriptions.

Scope

Relevant Data Sources: Ensure the service covers data sources that matter to you, like people search sites, social media platforms, and major data brokers. Confirm they can effectively delete all recordings from these sources.

Monitor and Sustain Privacy

Regular Checks

Search Major Search Engines

Routine Searches: Regularly use Google, Bing, and Yahoo to search for your name, phone numbers, and email addresses. This practice helps detect if new data brokers or social media platforms have begun sharing your information.

Identify New Exposures: These checks are important for spotting new exposures from the internet that might have slipped past initial clean-ups.

Request Removals: Promptly request removals when new listings are discovered to prevent personal information from circulating widely.

Assess Data Broker Activity

Monitor Data Sharing: Regularly check if your information has been passed to data brokers without your consent. This is critical as it comes to data privacy and control.

Set Alerts

Google Alerts Setup

Create Notifications: Use tools like Google Alerts to set up notifications for any new mentions of your full name, common nicknames, or other personal identifiers on the internet.

Monitor Mentions: This will help you monitor where your information surfaces, particularly in Google search results, which is relatively immediate and extensive.

Responsive Actions: Stay informed about emerging mentions to respond quickly if sensitive information becomes visible, ensuring enough personal control over your digital presence.

Utilize Other Monitoring Tools

Comprehensive Coverage: Consider using other monitoring services that provide broader surveillance across more platforms and non-English search engines. This can be especially useful if you use the internet extensively.

Consider Professional Help

Data Removal Services: If regularly monitoring and managing alerts becomes overwhelming, use a data removal service. These services can handle the continuous monitoring and management of requests to remove personal information, offering peace of mind and freeing up your time.

Conclusion

The common removal tasks could be for example the removal of your address from search results, deletion of old email accounts, and removal of private information like payment details. Click on your name to check out the vastness of the digital imprint you made online and proceed to opt out of data brokers that might be selling your information for them to use to their advantage. 

Take your safety and security into your own hands by removing your old accounts on a regular basis, adjusting web and app activity settings, and make sure that the major data brokers have enough of your info deleted so that you receive minimal attention. It is true that all information cannot be deleted from the internet forever, but looking it up and being intelligent about privacy measures will reduce your footprint. A removal service like us, MyDataRemoval, may also provide the comfort of total security.

Bearing in mind responsibly managing all your personal information while going online protects all important data that you keep online. In turn, it prevents other people getting access on your data in only the way you want it.

Take control of your digital privacy today! Follow MyDataRemoval's guide to remove your personal information from the internet, secure your digital footprint, and minimize your exposure. Reach out to us at hello@mydataremoval.com or call us at (855) 700-2914 to get started on protecting your data. Act now to strengthen your online privacy!