How to Remove Your Information from the Internet for Free:

The 2022 DIY Data Removal Guide

A reader board with arrows pointing to the right

Paying someone to remove your data isn’t for everyone. If you are the DIY type and don’t mind doing to work yourself, here is a great place to start.

How to actually remove your data

In short, you need to visit each data broker and people search website and request they remove your data. There are approximately 200 of these websites, so this process is time consuming. We include a few lists of these sites at the end of this article to help you get started. Use a spreadsheet to track your progress for the different sites. And so you have an idea of the amount of time this could potentially take you, depending on how much of your data is out there, we estimate it will take someone around 30 hours to do this the first time. It is also suggested you do this every six months or so, since some of the website will add your data back if they find it somewhere else.

Opt out process overview

The removal process is often found from a link on the footer of their website or in their privacy policy or terms and conditions page.

There are generally four different types of opt out processes that you will see on a people search or data broker website. For each of these types, you will go to the website first, find a link somewhere on their page that says “Opt out,” “Removal,” “Remove my personal information,” or something similar. You usually click that link and follow the instructions they give you. Here is a brief overview of the different processes you will come across:

Additional steps

Most websites require you to take additional steps to complete your opt out. They vary by site, but some websites make it a hassle to remove your data. Here are some things you are going to come across in the process:

Types of Records and how they make money

Not all data brokers or people search sites will show you what data they have for free. Here are the types of records you can find and how they make money. Some sites us a combination of the below tactics.

Blind removal - Some data brokers don’t allow you to purchase just one record. They often sell groups of records to businesses. For these types of sites, you have to submit your data blindly and hope they remove it if they have a record that matches.

Behind paywall - Some websites hide your information behind a paywall. You have to pay to see your record. Often it is $1 for a week of unlimited reports, then $30 a month after that.

Show all, refer to bigger site - Some websites will show you all the data they have for free. These sites often make money by showing you your record from a paid site that has more detail, and they get a commission if you buy from the bigger site. You have to remove your data from both sites to get it to stop showing up on this type of site.

Show all with ads – Some websites show you all the data they have while advertising to you.

Our list of 60 data brokers and people search websites
Other lists
Let us know where else

If you find a site that isn’t in one of these resources, let us know and we will add it.