If you visit Google.com, Yahoo.com, and Bing.com, and type in your full name on the search engine, you might be surprised at the results. You’ll find links to several commercial websites that have aggregated your personal information from the public records (e.g. real estate records, marriage records, Facebook/Twitter, business, etc.) and are selling your personal information online. There can be legitimate uses for these services such as employers doing a background check on the candidates, property owners doing background check on a prospective tenant, and more. But personally, I wouldn’t want strangers to find out where I live and the names of my family members.
How It Works
Commercial websites such as BeenVerified.com, Intelius.com, and WhitePages.com collects an individual’s personal information from the public records database. Such personal information includes your full name, alias/nickname, current and former addresses, phone number, date of birth, names of relatives, and a lot more. Customers willing to pay a one-time fee or a subscription fee can obtain additional information such as employee history, criminal records, bankruptcies, and more.
Search engines indexes the commercial websites and displays the links on their search results. These websites also pays for advertisement placement (located in the right section) in the search engines to attract visitors.
Steps to removing your personal information
1. BeenVerified.com: Visit BeenVerified.com and search your name. Then e-mail Support@BeenVerified.com with the following:
Dear BeenVerified.com Customer Support:
a. First name:
b. Last name:
c. Middle initial:
d. Aliases & AKAs:
e. Current address:
g. Date of Birth:
Thank you for your assistance on this matter.
2. Intelius.com: Visit https://www.intelius.com/optout.php and follow their instruction. You will need to submit a copy of your driver license ID (black out your photo and the ID number).
3. PeekYou.com: Visit http://www.peekyou.com/about/contact/optout/ and follow their instruction.
4. PeopleFinder.com: Search for your name and click the “remove listing.”
5. Spokeo.com: Visit Spokeo.com and search for your name. Then visit http://www.spokeo.com/privacy and follow the instruction on the bottom section labeled “Removing Your Listing from Spokeo.”
6. USSearch.com: Visit http://privacylock.ussearch.com/ and type in your information. You will need to mail or fax in the request printout along with a copy of your driver license ID (black out your photo and the ID number).
7. WhitePages.com: Search for your name and on the lower left section of the results page, click “Is this you? Remove your listing.”
Things to Note
Some of these websites will delete your information immediately after your online request while the others will require manual deletion by the website operator. It usually takes one to two business days and you will receive an e-mail confirmation.
Once you have successfully removed your personal information from the websites, please note that it could take some take (varies, two to eight weeks) for the search engines to deindex the listing of the existing links.