According to research 79 percent of Americans aren’t comfortable about how companies handle their personal data online. This is a valid concern.
The number of data security breaches is increasing dramatically, and many customers have had their personal data stolen as a result. Beyond criminal data breaches or hacks hundreds of data brokers across the US who collect your personal information on the internet and then sell it to other companies. This means it is easy to end up in the wrong hands.
This is why it’s important to take control of your privacy online by removing your data off the web. In this guide , we’ll explain how to delete your personal data from the internet , and explain why it’s essential to keep your personal information off the internet.
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Why is it important to erase personal data from the internet
A staggering amount of personal data is accessible online for almost all US citizen. Even if you’ve not disclosed any information, every kind of personal information from your address of residence to name of relatives’ names can still be found on the internet.
Why is this risk?
In addition to the fear that our home address or even the names of our children are only a few clicks away, making the personal information of your (PII) made public creates the risk of a lot. Your PII could be used to track your, to defraud you, or in the most extreme scenario, to take your identity.
Call scams and spam calls
The annoying spam calls as well as phone frauds one of the negative effects that can result from having personal data compromised. The calls are not only unpleasant, they also present a significant risk. Most of us can detect a scam just for you to lose your guard once , and the fraudster could take the social security numbers or account information.
Another issue that comes with not taking your personal information off the internet is that it makes you more susceptible to being targeted by stalkers. Someone who stalks you could be someone actively searching for information that will harm your reputation, or someone who simply wants to know what exactly you’re conducting and what you’re doing at any given time. And it’s not always a person with malicious motives. Employers are also often searching for information on potential candidates prior to making hiring decision.
If your personal details fall into the wrong hands it could also result in identity theft. After your identity has been compromised by a scammer they can make use of it to purchase online as well as apply for loans or credit cards, or even claim unemployment benefits. The effects of this can be expensive and demanding, and it may take time to see the effect of this on your credit score to be addressed.
Fake profiles on social media
If your personal details are accessible to the public, particularly if you’re a prominent public figure, influencer , or an owner of a company Someone can create an unauthentic profile on social media, pretending as you. The goal is usually to trick your followers into purchasing something , or to damage your reputation.
How do you remove your personal details from the web
The first step in taking back control over your digital privacy is to delete all information available.
Eliminate you from any social network
While this could be considered an unorthodox step for some people, if truly desire to delete personal information from the web, you should start from the place you leave the largest electronic footprint.
Remove both old and current profiles. You can delete both your old and current. Once you’ve deleted Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn etc., consider all the other social media sites you were active on. Even if you’ve never considered Myspace for 15 years doesn’t mean it’s the case that your account is gone.
If you sign in to every platform, you can choose to erase your account instead of activating it. By deleting all your information along with the profile information, you’ll decrease the chance of someone else accessing your personal data. Most platforms will remove your data in the first 30 days following receiving the data removal service request.
If you’re unable to completely delete the accounts on your social networks the best alternative is to remove all of them. As an example, maintain Instagram and LinkedIn when they’re the social media platforms that you most benefit from. However, you could also delete Twitter in case you just use it to follow celebrities or you can also eliminate Facebook in the event that you decide you’re not able to be content without the platform.
You can delete your accounts for online shopping
If you’re an avid online consumer (and there’s no one who’s not nowadays?) is it likely that your personal information is spread across a variety of e-commerce databases. Review all of the websites you’ve visited in the past, and remove your account from each of them.
Many times, these companies wish to keep your personal data which makes it difficult to remove your profile. If you are unable to find an option to remove your profile on one particular website, contact customer service and request them to remove your profile.
But don’t fret If you’ve deleted your account doesn’t mean you’re no longer allowed to shop at each business. The majority of online retailers allow you to purchase without an account. It’s just a matter of entering all your personal details in a manual manner every time you make an order.
Eliminate yourself from the databases
Data brokers are firms which legally collect personal information about individuals from internet sources and sell the data to other companies.
They collect and store an enormous amount of personally identifiable information about all of us. This includes our name, age address, telephone number, address as well as prior addresses, criminal records or property value, as well as names of our relatives to name a few instances.
Eliminating your personal information from databases like these is a crucial step to completely removing your personal information off the web.
To remove your data broker profile it is necessary to remove your profile from every single databases (and there are plenty of). This can be done by following our free opt-out guide for DIY. However, this is lengthy and time-consuming since there are a myriad of different sites for data brokers. If you do not have the time each month to accomplish this, join the DeleteMe program to let us handle the work for you.
Take your personal information off websites
Before you are able to remove your information from the internet you must first find out that your personal data is displayed online.
A simple way to accomplish this is to search Google yourself in the Incognito mode. Try searching your name, email address as well as your address at home and your telephone address to find out what results come up. You can repeat the same search using other search engines such as Bing or Yahoo.
If you discover your name or any other personal information on websites, you must submit a formal complaint to the website asking them to delete your data. To determine who to contact, look up the contact details on the site or search them using that whois.com tool.
If you have sensitive information , such as your SSN and bank account details is online and the site doesn’t respond in response to the request you made, then may also request Google to assist. They may not be able to delete the information from the website directly however they can ensure it’s not listed in the search results.
You can unsubscribe from forums with old comments, posts, and discussions
If you’ve been a frequent blogger, forum, as well as other sites this is the most difficult task in regards to removing your personal information off the web.
It’s the first thing to do is remove the profiles you’ve made on websites like Reddit, Yahoo, Quora and so on. The process doesn’t erase your comments but it does remove your connection to them.
If you’ve posted sensitive information within the comments or posted comments without registering an account that can be removed, you have to remove those. The only way to accomplish this is to locate the specific comments and request the owner of the site to remove the comments.
Request Google for updates to specific results of searches
When you’ve just had your data removed from a site, it might take some time before it is removed from search results too. This is due to the fact that the old information is still stored by Google’s servers.
Fortunately, Google offers a tool to remove outdated content that lets you request an update to Google’s servers. It’s easy. Simply click “New request”, enter the URL to be updated, then follow the steps, and then submit your request.
Remove your email accounts
Eliminating your personal email addresses is the most important step in removing yourself from the web. Make sure that you don’t complete this process until you have closed all of your other accounts and completed the other steps described in the previous paragraphs, as typically, the verification of your email address is needed to complete these steps.
But, the truth is that this isn’t for all. For one thing, living without email isn’t possible in the current digital world. If you decide that you aren’t able to remove your email as an option, investigate the privacy settings of your email service and make sure that you have make them the most secure possible way to avoid monitoring your information.
There’s a good chance that you have old email accounts are no longer in use for example, the ones from college or that you had as an teen. Look them up and remove the accounts.
How can you keep your information from being accessed via the internet
You should now have an idea of what you can do to erase your personal data from the internet. But, eliminating your old information off the web is just one aspect of the job. It is also important to be proactive to avoid any new personal information from being uploaded to the internet.
Even if you don’t go online, people and companies could still publish your personal information online. It’s nearly impossible to remain inactive for the entire month, or even for the remainder of your life. Therefore, you must make sure you are consistent and persistent to ensure your personal data is protected over the long term.
- Monitor data broker sites regularly
It’s not enough just to remove your personal information from websites run by data brokers. Data brokers are known for listing your personal information on their websites even after you’ve deleted it , and so you should be monitoring their databases on a regular basis. It is essential to unsubscribe from each data broker’s website each three-month period or employ an application such as the DeleteMe service to take care of the task for you.
- Use privacy-focused browsers and incognito mode
Certain search engines guard your privacy more than other search engines. For instance, DuckDuckGo is an excellent privacy-focused browser that shields you from being monitored online. It can be downloaded in the form of a browser or an extension for your existing browser. By using a browser that is privacy-focused and incognito mode you’ll be able to reduce the footprint of your digital activity whenever you are online.
- Use a VPN
The Virtual private network (VPN) connection creates an encrypted and secure link between the device you use and internet. This means that the internet service provider can’t observe what you’re doing on the internet. This also safeguards you when you connect to the internet via open WiFi networks, which means that hackers can’t get the data that the device transmits to the internet.
There are many free VPNs to pick from. However, it is important to look over their privacy policies and user reviews to make sure you know the ways these companies use your personal data. Paid VPNs usually offer better security and privacy requirements. Be sure to select an “no log” VPN, which means that the VPN service does not keep track of your online activities when using their service.
- You should provide as the bare minimum of information regarding yourself that you possibly can.
Not least, make sure you do not share any personal information as often as you can. A simple method to do this is to clean the history of your web browser, its cache, and cookies as frequently as you are able to.
Another approach is to not sign up with websites that ask for personal information. But, this can be difficult to stay clear of. However, there are ways to avoid this. For instance the website that asks you to provide an email address to sign up, you could opt for an disguised message from Blur that can protect your personal information from being misused.
There are numerous reasons you should delete personal information from the internet and gain charge of the information that is posted on the internet.
By taking your personal data off the internet, you reduce the chance of identity theft. It also lowers your chances of being harassed by scam or spam calls and safeguard your personal data from identity theft.
But, it’s essential to keep in mind that simply removing all personal information from the internet isn’t enough to ensure your digital privacy. If you do not focus on preventing any new information from being accessed online the personal information you have stored will probably keep popping up.
In order to ensure that your data secure over the long term it is essential to routinely be on the lookout for data broker websites and reduce the footprint that you leave behind every time you log on to the internet.