If you’ve ever done an internet search on your own name, and city where you live, you may have been surprised.
Most people are shocked to find out how much information about them is freely available online.
Not to mention, the amount of that information that is wrong.
“People search” websites such as Spokeo, White Pages, and BeenVerified share a lot about you.
These sites put together profiles based on public information from across the internet.
The profiles usually contain personal information such as phone numbers, and addresses.
Yet, the information isn’t always accurate.
A Virginia man named Thomas R. sued Spokeo after discovering the website was sharing false information about him.
According to the lawsuit, Spokeo “incorrectly stated that he was in his 50s, married, was employed in a professional or technical field, and has children.”
The lawsuit goes on to say Thomas may have lost job opportunities as a result of Spokeo’s information.
Spokeo is a Pasadena, CA based company that operates a website that puts together information about people.
The data they use is from publicly available sources.
The company says it helps users “know more about the people in their lives.”
It does this by providing “access to social media profiles, court records, criminal records, names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, marital status, and more.”
Spokeo is one of the dozens of websites that collect and share personal information.
Yet, the CEO of Spokeo, Harrison Tang, removed his personal information from the website.
He claimed it was for security reasons.
And if you read Spokeo’s fine print it avoids responsibility for the accuracy of its information.
It even says that the company does not verify the information on its website.
In other words, the information could all be lies, but it’s not their problem.
These data brokers can get away with this by providing people with an opt-out clause.
But, they make opting out as difficult as possible.
They want you to jump through hoops and give up.
That said, here are the top five people-search websites, and the ways you can get your information removed from their website.
This company operates websites like Classmates.com, iSearch, ZabaSearch, Peoplelookup, PublicRecords, and others.
The good thing is, if you remove yourself from Intelius, you remove yourself from all the websites it controls.
Go to www.intelius.com/opt-out/submit/ and enter your name.
When you find your records, click select.
On the next page, enter your e-mail address and you will receive an e-mail to confirm your opt-out.
It can take up to 72 hours to remove your information.
MyLife makes you jump through a lot of hoops to have your information removed from their website.
To opt-out of MyLife, you have to call the company.
Call (888) 704-1900 and press 2 to begin the opt-out process.
After you have confirmed your identity, ask customer support to remove your profile.
You may be asked to register for the site to claim your data.
This may sound fishy, but it is a normal part of their process.
Remember to make sure you don’t sign up for anything.
Make it very clear that you want your information removed.
The customer service representative will push you to buy services, so just tell them you don’t want any extra services or charges.
This website is one of the most popular options for people searches.
It contains a lot of information about you.
This includes your full name, phone number, and street address.
To remove your information, visit www.beenverified.com/faq/opt-out/ and search your name and state.
When you find yourself, click select.
On the opt-out page, enter your e-mail and click send verification e-mail.
Open the e-mail and click on the link.
This will take you to a confirmation page.
It may take several weeks to completely remove your information.
To opt-out of Spokeo search for your profile on the website. Once you have located your profile copy the URL.
Next, go to https://www.spokeo.com/optout and paste the URL from your profile into the opt-out box.
Then add your e-mail below and click remove the listing.
You will receive a confirmation e-mail.
You need to click on the link in the e-mail to confirm your opt-out.
The first thing to do is to locate your profile on the website.
Then copy the URL for your profile.
Next, go to https://support.whitepages.com/hc/en-us/requests/new.
In the drop-down choose “I need to edit or remove a listing.”
Next, there will be a form to fill out with all your information.
The information you provide should match the information the website has about you.
There is no reason to hesitate to give them your information if they already have it.
In your request, ask that your info also be removed from White Pages Premium.
Sometimes they only remove listings from the basic White Pages and not the premium website.
There is no question people-search websites present risks.
They make it easier for stalkers.
They also open the door to identity theft.
Anyone willing to pay can access your personal information.
Remember that Spokeo’s CEO didn’t want his information on his company’s website for security reasons…
And he’s no different from the rest of us.