How to remove yourself from the internet
Have you googled yourself recently? As a general practice, I google my client's lost loved ones to understand what kind of information they have out on the internet in their name and how much risk they may have of having their identity stolen. The results are always shocking to my clients. Sites like Spokeo, Whitepages, and Zoominfo are examples of sites that have aggregated your data from various sources such as free services and apps and the harsh reality is that what these sites do in publishing your info is legal.
What kind of information do they have on you? It can be everything from your birthday, names of your siblings, name of your spouse, past employers, your current and past addresses, and sometimes even your cell phone number. Here's what that could look like:
What would happen if you lost a loved one and there was this kind of information out there about them? Anything from identify theft to actual property theft is possible if someone was focused on your family.
So, how do you remove your personal information or your loved one's personal information from the internet?
There are a few options. You can either do it yourself with these sites:
This online workbook provides shortcuts for each personal information publishing site (like Spokeo and Zoominfo) and includes the opt out link and/or the process to request your information to be removed.
This article also offers advice on areas to consider when cleaning up your online identity.
You can also pay for services like the following to do this for you:
Delete Me charges $129/year for one person and they will continue to scan the internet every 3 months to ensure the information does not come back.
After trying the manual process myself for a few sites, I can say that the process was pretty straight forward but often requires additional authentication steps after you make the request to remove your information. None of which is hard, but certainly time consuming.
At minimum, at least be aware of what information is out there about you and your loved ones!
As always, this blog does not intend to serve as legal or financial advice and Sunny Care Services recommends you seek legal counsel before taking action on any estate related items.