We all love to protect our own identity and space. That’s why we live in separate houses; have our own possessions, sleep in our own beds. It is important to us, that what is ours is private, and if there is a decision to make information public, it is a deliberate one.
Unfortunately, as time has gone by and the entire world of over seven billion people has been squeezed into one interconnected global community through the internet, privacy is becoming more and more of a difficult task to accomplish.
While the internet may be a tool for this bridging of geographical gaps, and has aided in providing information and connection between many countries, their citizens and others, there is a downside to being on the internet.
Your data is no longer private.
Think of it like living in an apartment complex with many flats, but no doors. Anyone can see through into your flat whenever they choose, leaving your things at their mercy. No one would appreciate that. This analogy, when translated into the real world, means that your private information is really public and is at the mercy of whoever wants it; most times for the right price.
You may be wondering just how such information gets into such grubby hands. Well, for every social app, website, link and any other platform associated with the internet that you click and spend time on; a complete internet identity is created for each individual. We can call it a digital profile of some sorts. This represents who we are online; and it is generally believed that we are the same person in reality as are depicted online. It is this digital profile, and the information in it, that other people interact with. Data brokers collect this information, and use them to create databases on their websites— databases that anyone can access and use.
The consequences for this are dire. You could have really sensitive information being exposed which could lead to a number of serious problems. You could be subject to swatting, fraudulent activities can be carried out using your information, your entire identity could be stolen, your banking information could get into the wrong hands, you could be used to defraud others, and so much more. Not to mention, your loved ones and even those who simply have regular contact with you can be seriously affected as well.
It is clearly evident that having your information online is a big deal. As such, it is important that you take control of what personal information it is that exists on the world wide web, and in people search sites. Under no circumstances should it be acceptable that some third party has your information and is providing it to whoever asks for it.
But how do you protect yourself?
All hope isn’t lost though. While we can’t stop the process, we can definitely remove our information. Once there’s nothing for them to take, there’ll be nothing to worry about. How do we do this?
Here are tips on how to remove yourself from data brokers and protect your identity as well the safety of others around you.
- Create temporary email address.
Before you begin, it is important that you do not offer more information in a bid to remove other information. Imagine taking out some data, and handing data brokers a fresh set on a platter of gold. Therefore, you need to have an email account that you can discard and has no affiliations to your actual person. Most data broker sites will ask that you enter an email address for you to login, and if you use one that’s associated with you, that’s a literal shot to the head. A temporary one, however, helps you go incognito. You can create one from mytemp.email, tempmailaddress.com guerrillamail.com or any other temporary email service.
- Search online for data brokers that have your data.
Your next step is to conduct a search on what sites are in possession of your information. It’s like they say “you can’t kill a mouse if you do not know where its hole is”. If you want to remove your information, you must know where to take it off from. You can accomplish this in two ways. You could run a Google search on your name to find what pops up and where your information is listed. To refine the search, input your name and your location. The search results will let you know which sites have your info.
You could also make use of OneRep to conduct the search instead. The search tool will sift extensively through over eighty different platforms, combing them all for your information.
- Choose Your Next Step
Your next action is obviously to remove your data from these sites. But that in itself is a process that deserves its own headline.
You could opt for the manual process. By taking this route, you go through a sequence of removing your data and all other information from each of the sites it is listed on manually.
Considering there are a number of people search sites, it would make sense to remove your information from the most popular ones, because of the amount of traffic they generate. Here, you can find out how to manually remove data from some of the most popular people search sites such as Spokeo, Whitepages, Fast People Search, Truthfinder, BeenVerified and MyLife.
You should note, however, that manual removal is not permanent, and after various periods of time, your information could pop right back up on these sites.
If permanent and automatic removal is what you’re looking for, then you need not go through the manual process. With a subscription to the OneRep service, all your information is monitored and will be automatically removed from any data broker site.
It’s not over yet….
At this point, surely your info is all safe and sound, right? Well not necessarily. What we’ve done is to take away your data from the clutches of the top data brokers, but then there’s still the issue with Google…
When top search results are no longer available, Google will provide results from lesser sites with your information, and so technically complete removal of your data hasn’t been accomplished. Data broker sites are not the only culprits, as other seemingly innocent sites do the same damage. Even after manual removal, there’s still so much data that could be found on a person on the internet.
To complete your mission, you could always keep checking and performing manual removals, but if you’re looking to automate the process, OneRep’s removal tool is just what the doctor ordered. The tool scans over 80 different websites and pages for your data after you have inputted it, and voila! It begins the process of sending opt-out requests to the platforms and taking the information down.
Your privacy is not a silver stag. It can be real, and all you need to do is to consciously take the step to ensure your safety.