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How to Remove Your Information from the Internet: The Ultimate Guide

How to Remove Your Personal Information from the Internet: The Ultimate Guide

Have you ever googled yourself and found a startling amount of personal details – like your phone number, home address, relatives‘ names, etc. – right there in the search results for anyone to see?

You‘re not alone. In our digital world, it‘s incredibly easy for your private information to end up online without your consent through various channels. And that can leave you feeling exposed or vulnerable.

But don‘t panic. With some time and effort, you can reclaim control over your personal data online. This comprehensive guide will walk you step-by-step through how to remove your information from the internet for greater privacy.

By opting out of data brokers, adjusting social media settings, deleting old accounts, and beefing up security, you can effectively minimize your digital footprint. Regaining your online privacy just takes strategy and diligence.

Let‘s get started taking back control of your personal details on the internet!

Where Is Your Personal Information Online?

Before we dive into removal tactics, it helps to map out all the places your personal data could be available online:

  • Social media profiles like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, etc. These contain info you post yourself, as well as what others post about you.
  • Professional networking profiles like LinkedIn that list your work history.
  • Dating app profiles with your photos, name, and location.
  • Your current and old resumes posted on public job sites.
  • Educational databases and alumni profiles that reveal where you attended school.
  • Property records tied to any homes you’ve bought or sold.
  • Legal records like voter registration, marriage licenses, or divorce decrees.
  • Your phone number published in old-school phone books and people-finder sites.
  • Your name and address logged by data broker sites that compile public info.
  • Photos or videos others have posted and tagged you in.
  • Retailer accounts with your email, physical address, and purchase history.
  • Comments you’ve left on blogs, forums, YouTube videos, etc.
  • Web browsing data like search terms and site visits collected behind the scenes.
  • Personal info exposed in data breaches and posted on underground sites.

Your details can land in these places through your own actions, others‘ behavior, and third-party data gathering. It adds up to a potentially expansive and unflattering digital footprint.

But the good news? You can dramatically downsize that footprint by taking back control of your personal information step-by-step. Let’s get started!

Step 1: Opting Out of Data Brokers

Data brokers pose one of the biggest threats to your online privacy. These shadowy companies scour through public records, court documents, social media, and other sources to amass detailed profiles on virtually every American adult.

They then package up names, addresses, phone numbers, extended family, criminal records, and other identifying info into people search sites and consumer databases. Some even sell sensitive data to law enforcement agencies and ICE officials!

Luckily, a federal law called the Fair Credit Reporting Act does require data brokers to respect opt-out requests. Here are some top brokers and tips to escape their grasp:

  • Whitepages – Head to Whitepages‘ opt out page, enter your details, and verify through an automated phone call.
  • BeenVerified – Submit the BeenVerified opt-out form and check your email to confirm removal. This simultaneously deletes you from PeopleSmart.
  • Spokeo – Input your unique Spokeo profile URL on their opt-out page to send your removal request.
  • MyLife – Email [email protected] directly with a link to your MyLife profile, which you‘ll need to create first.
  • TruthFinder – Use TruthFinder’s opt-out page, noting if you were ever a paying customer who needs to log in first.
  • ZoomInfo – Verify your identity via email on their opt-out portal before submitting your request.
  • Instant Checkmate – Search for your profile on their site to access the data deletion request form.

For a complete list of lesser known data brokers, visit the Privacy Rights site here. You can also use a privacy service like DeleteMe or Privacy Bee to remove your info for you.

Step 2: Adjusting Google Settings

Google holds a scary amount of intel on all its users, so you’ll want to check your privacy settings. Start by googling yourself and clicking the three dots next to any questionable search results to request removal.

You can also opt out of certain Google data collection entirely:

  • Turn off ad personalization to stop targeted ads based on your activity
  • Use the My Activity page to delete or limit retention of your search, YouTube, Maps, and Chrome browsing history
  • Disable tracking of app activity on Android devices in your Google Account settings
  • Stop localization and voice recording on mobile by revoking microphone access

Every bit of data about you that Google captures can imperil your privacy when exposed. Limit its reach into your digital life wherever possible.

Step 3: Securing Social Media Accounts

Social media allows us to stay connected, but oversharing personal details can backfire. Go through all of your social media accounts and make sure your privacy settings reflect your comfort level.

On Facebook, for example:

  • Review past posts and limit visibility of overly personal ones
  • Restrict search engines from indexing your profile to prevent public viewing
  • Slim down your Friends list and organize contacts into Lists with customized privacy levels
  • Head to Settings > Privacy Checkup for a personalized walkthrough

Other platforms like Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, Twitter, and YouTube have their own privacy controls to explore. The less personal content that’s publicly accessible from your profiles, the better.

Pro tip: Do a social media audit annually to review and tweak your privacy settings as policies change.

Step 4: Deleting Old Online Accounts

Here’s an alarming stat: The average internet user has over 100 online accounts! And when you abandon accounts, personal data lingers indefinitely.

Reclaim your privacy by tracking down and removing unused profiles:

  • Delete old usernames you made up as a teen on forums and video sharing platforms
  • Remove profiles from past online dating attempts
  • Cancel email accounts you never use anymore like old ISP, Yahoo, or Hotmail addresses
  • Close inactive utility or retailer accounts you don’t remember making

If you’re struggling to locate forgotten about accounts, provides links and tips for deleting profiles from hundreds of popular sites.

Step 5: Beefing Up Login Security

Even your most active online accounts need fortified security to avoid exposing personal details in a breach. Follow these best practices everywhere you have a login:

  • Create long, complex passwords that are unique for every account.
  • Use a password manager app to generate and store passwords you won‘t remember.
  • Turn on two-factor authentication (2FA) for an added account access safeguard.
  • Be alert to any unauthorized login attempts and promptly change passwords.
  • Only enter passwords on encrypted networks to thwart snooping.

With strong credentials and vigilant monitoring, your accounts will be protected from external threats.

Step 6: Minimizing Future Personal Info Shared Online

Removing your past online presence is crucial. But you should also be cautious of how you share personal details moving forward. Keep these tips in mind:

  • Pause before posting anything too personal publicly on social media and think carefully about who may see it.
  • Share sensitive info only in encrypted messaging apps, never plaintext email.
  • Use your laptop webcam cover when not on video calls.
  • Disable GPS location services on your smartphone when not needed.
  • Never join unsecured public WiFi networks for online activity.
  • Use incognito browsing and delete cookies to avoid tracking between sites.

The less fresh data you generate, the smaller your digital footprint will remain over time.

Step 7: Monitoring Credit Reports

Identity thieves can leverage your personal information online for financial fraud. That’s why checking your credit reports regularly for any suspicious activity is so important.

Take advantage of your free weekly credit reports from to scan for:

  • New credit cards or loans opened in your name you don‘t recognize
  • Incorrect balances, addresses, or employment history
  • Collections accounts you didn‘t open
  • Other warning signs of identity theft

You can also place a credit freeze on your reports to block banks and lenders from accessing them. This prevents criminals from opening fraudulent new accounts.

Step 8: Enabling Alerts on Your Name

Even after removing your details from data brokers, some information will likely remain online. That‘s why proactively monitoring your name is key.

Set up search engine alerts on Google Chrome any time your name appears in new results. Use Google‘s removal tools for anything that looks suspicious or unauthorized.

You can also enable alerts with services like LifeLock that notify you anytime your personal info appears on risky sites, like hacker forums.

Remaining vigilant is essential even after you‘ve reclaimed your online privacy.

Key Takeaways for Regaining Your Online Privacy

Securing your online privacy requires rolling up your sleeves and dedicating some real effort. But taking back control of your personal data across the internet is absolutely achievable.

Here are the key steps covered in this guide to get you started:

  • Opt out of as many data broker profiles as possible
  • Adjust social media privacy settings to limit visibility of personal posts
  • Delete or deactivate old abandoned online accounts
  • Create strong, unique passwords for all current accounts
  • Be cautious sharing new personal details going forward
  • Monitor credit reports for fraud in your name
  • Set up alerts on your name appearing online

With a comprehensive privacy tune-up of your digital footprint, you can dramatically minimize the amount of personal data available to strangers online. It takes persistence and constantly staying vigilant, but regaining your privacy is truly possible.

You deserve to feel safe and in control of how your information is out there in the digital world. So be proactive and follow this game plan to take back your online privacy step-by-step!


Streamr Go

StreamrGo is always about privacy, specifically protecting your privacy online by increasing security and better standard privacy practices.