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7 ways to remove personal information from internet & public data sources

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Could you ever believed that once you may be a victim of a cybercrime? Identity theft, stalking, increased marketing spam are only some of the reasons to think twice before sharing personal information online. What is worse, it is not only you who increase your own online presence and makes an abundance of your personal data available to the public. All the US states began to put public records online in the middle of the 1990s and now every person can learn a great deal of information about every US citizen and not only. Moreover, there are broker companies that gather pieces of information about Internet users from different sources and sell this data to advertisers, marketers, and other third parties. Due to that, nobody can feel secure online and these fears can encourage users to delete all the personal details from the World Wide Web.

You will agree that some percentage of data available online is impossible to remove, but nowadays the law is on your side, so it is enough to put some effort and this mission is possible.

Look: this article will tell you how to remove personal information from the Internet as much as possible and minimize your online presence.

Table of Contents

How to remove personal information from internet & public data sources?

Delete social media accounts

Social media

It goes without saying that the first link you will see in the search results if you use your full name as a query is your social media profile. Undoubtedly, all your accounts on social media platforms are a source of important personal facts including your name, location, marriage status, date of birth, family, the latest news, photos, employment, etc. You should remember that looking for ways how to remove personal information from the Internet, it is necessary to delete accounts not only on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter but also other public accounts on such platforms as Tumblr, Google+, Reddit, MySpace, and Amazon. In fact, it is better to delete accounts on all websites you have ever registered on, at least those ones you remember. You can also use special tools such as Account Killer to avoid doing that manually.

How to do that? In fact, you should enter your account and find settings there. Every platform offers one or several ways what you can do with an account including its deactivating, closing, and removal. Sometimes, this function can be also found in the Privacy or Security section. Since every platform has its own procedure of account deleting, it is possible to learn each of them on the web searching for ‘how can I delete (name of the account)’.

Search results

It might be surprising to know that the search history of yours is recorded each time you use the web and may date back years if you have no habit to clean it. It means that with the help of certain software and skills hackers can easily access your search history and every page visited by you and that you have registered on. Moreover, it is also an opportunity to find out usernames and passwords used by a user too.

It means that you should delete your search results regularly if you wish to receive more privacy. However, if there is a desire on how to remove personal information from the Internet, it would be reasonable to provide Google with a request sent to exclude any search results that contain your personal data. Of course, you are not guaranteed a 100% match, but a great number of your identity details will be removed from search results.

Google account

Google Homepage

It is not a secret that Google follows its users everywhere and your Google account only helps the system to do that. It contains not only some details of your personal data but also your spheres of interests, former visits and trips, and many other things you do not spot. Therefore, it is very important to delete a Google account if there is any.

You can do that if you go to Google Account Settings and select the Data and Personalization section. You will be offered a page to scroll down until you find a frame called ‘Download, delete, or make a plan for your data’. One of the links called ‘Delete a service or your account’ will offer you several options including the possibility to download all the data stored by your account and delete both an account and all the services.

Email accounts

When a person registers an email account, he does not realize fully how many personal details he should share. It is not only a user name and a country of location: each time a person uses this account for signing up other platforms, the mailbox makes a record and keeps all your passwords and usernames. In fact, your mailbox can open many secrets of yours if anyone manages to get into it. Therefore, all your email accounts should be removed from the web too.

Experts advise deleting all the letters including received, sent, saved, etc. and only then enter the settings of your account to be able to say goodbye to it too.

Data brokers

There are companies that collect user data from a variety of sources they find online and sell it to advertising agencies and other third parties. Moreover, some of them share it with everyone, sometimes absolutely free of charge. The most popular brokers operating nowadays are Spokeo, Whitepages.com, PeopleFinder, 411.info and many others. There are dozens of such platforms where every person can find information about another individual including his name, physical address, phone number, date of birth and other information.

At the same time, there is good news for those who look for how to remove personal information from Internet free. There are also such platforms as wiki.onerep.com that give the information on how you can delete data of yours from each of these websites. Naturally, you will need to put effort, contact the representatives of these companies with a request that your information was removed from the websites, and sometimes to fill out physical paperwork to achieve your goal, but it is still possible.

There is also a paid alternative to your efforts. You can use the services of joindeletme.com and it will delete this info for you and will check for several months so that you were not added to these lists again.

Apps from your devices

Girl with iPhone

Many applications you use on your smartphone or tablet do keep track of your activity as well as collect personal data of yours. They are aware of your full name, date of birth, preferences, routes, spending, etc. If this data leaks to the Internet or is stolen by a scammer, you are not insured from losing your finances and other valuables.

Naturally, if you are not ready to delete all the apps used, it is necessary to understand how trustworthy the application is before making a final decision. For this purpose, it is necessary to read the Terms and Conditions as well as Privacy Policy to find out what information is being collected and if it is shared or stored. When you come to the conclusion that the app is the one that does not guarantee your privacy, don’t hurry to delete it immediately. It would be reasonable to remove all the personal data from it and contact the app developers with the request to do the same. Only then you should wave goodbye to this app and check so that it was fully deleted.

One more thing to consider is being careful with giving the app access to different functions of your mobile device. It is better to limit this access to the minimum. Moreover, you should check your list of apps regularly to keep track of all the new ones and update them each time to improve their security level too.

What to do next?

When you get rid of all the online traces you could leave registering accounts and using different websites and applications, it is time to continue the process undertaking several more important steps. In this case, you should decide if you are ready to refuse from the Internet use completely or still want to surf the web but remain anonymous. Of course, it can be a real challenge to live without this global network since it is the source of the latest news and endless possibilities. Therefore, it is important to improve your privacy level and remove the rest of the online trace left. You may wonder ‘what else can I do? how to remove my personal information from the Internet and continue to use it?’. Look at the following tips:

  1. Change a physical state address for P.O. Box where it is possible

    There are public records stored online that do not necessarily require a physical address. In fact, it can be exchanged for a post office box. In addition to a voter registration form and DMV, you can change your physical address for a post office box in publicly funded places such as a public library and pool, unemployment office, park and recreation office, etc.

  2. Use private search engines and browsers, enable a do-not-track feature

    If you continue using the Internet but wish to preserve your personal data secure, it is possible to achieve this goal if to use private search engines. They do not record your IP address, prevent you from accepting cookies as well as do not store your search history at all or do that for a short period of time. Unless you are ready to change a web browser you got used to, it is possible to change its settings by enabling the do-not-track feature. For example, Google offers Incognito mode or you can use additional tools such as the Tor browser or VPN to enhance your privacy. Of course, you should also realize that even if a browser does not track your web activity, it is still visible to websites visited, your Internet provider, etc.

  3. Review privacy settings

    Every website has its terms and conditions as well as privacy information. However, you can review your privacy settings on most of the emails, social media websites, and other platforms. For example, Google has provided its users with multiple privacy tools that allow adjusting settings according to the user’s wishes. This section is called ‘Privacy and Security’ and it allows controlling how Chrome handles website content and permissions as well as clear browsing data. There are several privacy options to select from too.

  4. Visit the county clerk’s office

    One of the places where you can also minimize your online presence is a clerk’s office. This office keeps records of many important documents including marriage licenses, court records, birth and death certificates, deeds and mortgages and many others. Moreover, all this information is available to the public, so it is very important to visit this office with the goal to change or remove certain personal details if it is possible. You can ask a manager what information can be removed, changed or hidden from the public eyes, but do not forget to take your ID. It would be also great to get the second phone number and exchange it for your personal one too.

    One more important database that makes your personal data available to everyone is the Uniform Commercial Code database. It has a website where you can make changes to the information online, so do not waste this opportunity too.

  5. Wipe any personal data from your computer

    Not only the Internet but also your desktop or mobile devices used contain a good deal of personal details of yours. Don’t you have digital copies of your documents? Are there any files that contain some personal data? In fact, each of us has such files and they can be easily received by hackers in different ways. If you do not want anyone to steal your privacy, you should be very careful with file management on your devices. Experts advise keeping similar documents on external hardware and never send them by email or chats. Moreover, users should make a review of the information stored on the computer (including documents, photos, images, etc.) and remove everything that can influence your privacy.

  6. Provide false information

    One of the ways how to remove all personal information from the internet is to substitute it with the unreal one. How often it happens that people use pseudonyms online? However, their friends know for sure who these people are. If you are a fan of social media, you can register an account with another name and imagined profile details, invite your friends but warn them in a message or call who is hidden behind this account. As a result, you will get access to the whole variety of posts and prevent misuses of your personal information. It is also natural that you should avoid adding your personal photos and videos or check them thoroughly before posting.

    The same goes for all other platforms. You should have several emails: official ones and ones used for fun, change your IP address in the settings, etc. To conclude, you should leave no trace online and it will help to prevent your personal data from appearing on the Internet.

  7. Google yourself

    Many people would say that you should Google yourself at the beginning of the removal process and it is difficult not to agree with this fact. Of course, you should know what websites keep details of your identity and work with these platforms to decrease their number to a minimum. However, you should also consider entering your full name in the search engine at the final stage of your personal data removal process to understand how effective your work was and what information left. It will give you a clear picture of your online presence at the moment.

Conclusion

An increase in the amount of cybercrime encouraged many people to think about their privacy on the Internet and the possible consequences of identity theft. As a result, it is getting more and more popular to remove all the personal information from the global network to improve your security and anonymity. In fact, this process is time-consuming and painstaking since usually, one person has to delete everything he or she has added for years of being an Internet user. However, it is also a necessity if you do not want to be involved in any fraud or crimes because of that. This article has focused on the main steps of the personal data removal process and provided tips on how to minimize online presence too.

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