How To Remove Yourself from People Search Websites

How To Remove Yourself from People Search Websites

Summary: People search services provide the general public with a dangerous amount of personal information about you. Here's how to opt-out of most - for now.

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Tip #4: Opt out NOW

Opt-Out Link List and Sample Opt-Out Email Template

The email template and process below was originally provided by Abine's Downey in her initial Reddit post (as LawyerCT) HOW TO: Remove yourself from the background check site BeenVerified.com. It has been edited for brevity, and I have used this template with success on multiple people search websites.

First, see if you're listed.

Second, email Support@BeenVerified.com with the following template:

Dear Been Verified Customer Support:

As per your privacy policy, please remove my listing from your databases:

a. First name:

b. Last name:

c. Middle initial:

d. Aliases & AKA's:

e. Current address:

f. Age:

g. DOB:

Thank you for your assistance.

Third, you'll get one email saying they received your opt-out request, and another confirming you've been deleted.

Fourth, spread the word.

What follows is an excerpt from Redditor Pibbman's HOW TO: Remove yourself from ALL background check websites. Thanks to LawyerCT. It is not a complete list, but is is fabulously comprehensive in that it targets removing your data from the primary search sites - the big guys. I witnessed a lot of Reddit community at work to put this list together; it took more than a few people to figure it all out.

This list has been edited for clarity, direct links, and to include updates:

Acxiom.com

BeenVerified.com (link to Downey's how-to)

DOBSearch.com "In order for us to “opt out” your public information from being viewable on the public DOBsearch People Finder search results, we need to verify your identity and require faxed proof of identity. Proof of identity can be a state issued ID card or driver's license, or notarized letter. If you are faxing a copy of your driver's license, you may cross out the photo and the driver's license number. We only need to see the name, address and date of birth. Please fax to 516-717-3017 and allow 4 to 6 weeks to completely process your request. It is your responsibility to ensure legibility of your document."

Intelius.com

Peekyou.com

Spokeo.com

MyLife.com "To request that a Member Profile or Public Profile be deleted, please contact Customer Care at 1-888-704-1900 or contact us by email at privacy@mylife.com. Upon receipt of these requests, and confirmation that you are requesting that your own profile be removed, please allow MyLife 10 business days to complete this removal. It may be necessary to contact you to validate that you are the profile owner requesting the removal. This is to ensure the correct identity and profile ownership before completing these requests, and is for the protection of our users and their privacy."

PeopleFinders.com

PeopleLookup.com "In order for PeopleLookup to suppress or opt out your personal information from appearing on our Website, we need to verify your identity. To do this, we require faxed proof of identity. Proof of identity can be a state issued ID card or driver's license. If you are faxing a copy of your driver's license, we require that you cross out the photo and the driver's license number. We only need to see the name, address and date of birth. We will only use this information to process your opt out request. Please fax to 425-974-6194 and allow 4 to 6 weeks to process your request."

PeopleSmart.com

PrivateEye.com

PublicRecordsNow.com

Radaris.com (warning: Radaris automatically signs you up for an account on opt-out)

Spoke.com (Scroll down to Access and Correction Section)

USA-People-Search.com

USSearch.com

Whitepages.com

Zabasearch.com

For an exhaustive list, here's the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse's page of how to opt-out of directory services and information brokers.

As someone in the comments pointed out, what's missing is data powerhouse LexisNexis, whose front-facing background data provider product is KnowX (and Accurint). That's because LexisNexis has no warm and fuzzy ToU that allows removal of your data. Don't like it? Too bad.

Well I didn't like it at all, so I gave them a little push back and contacted them with an explicit opt-out request (and help from the email template).

Here is the LexisNexis opt-out page. As it happens, LexisNexis only allows people to have their personal information suppressed from being shared with the general public:

  • If you are a law enforcement officer or public official, submit a letter from your supervisor stating that your position exposes you to a threat of death or serious bodily harm; or
  • If you are a victim of identity theft, submit a copy of a police report documenting the identity theft or documentation that verifies the identity theft claim such as a letter from your credit card company, and an Identity Theft Affidavit; or
  • If you are at risk of physical harm but do not work in law enforcement, submit a copy of a court protective order, a copy of a police report or similar documentation such as a letter from a social worker, a shelter administrator or a health care professional

As it happens, I have been stalked by a man that used people search websites to find and use my personal information (luckily, some of it was inaccurate). He has a police file documenting this activity, and more, as well as another police file I have open on an internet stalker. I figured his was the police report to use, since he has poisoned various corners of the internet with false information about me culled from people search sites.

I provided LexisNexis with the requisite ID, a letter and a copy of my police report. Cost: time, paper, and a stamp. They responded with two letters within three days of my mailing.

One letter stated my request was on hold pending review of the documentation, the next letter was good news: that my opt-out request was accepted.

Of course, there's always a catch. The caveats in their letter told me that it was removed from their public-facing products, and that the information could be re-introduced to their databases in the future.

At least they gave me a number to call if I have any questions, non-ironically called the "Privacy Hotline."

Facebook data sync image via The Greatest Trick the Devil Ever Pulled Was… Disclaimer: The Devil Doesn’t Pull Tricks. Infographic created by Sarah A. Downey lawyer and privacy analyst at Abine.

Topics: Google, Browser, Social Enterprise

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77 comments
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  • RE: How To Remove Yourself from People Search Websites

    If anyone finds more people search site opt-out links, let me know in comments or the contact form, and I'll add them to the list.
    Violet Blue
    • RE: How To Remove Yourself from People Search Websites

      One of the sites I contacted for removal wanted 25 years of addresses and tons of other personal data to do the removal. Why would anyone want to give them more information than they already have. What is also quite disturbing is the incorrect data and associations.
      Grrr_Not
    • Opt-out from being 'Googled'?

      @violetblue - As a professional 'doxer' I will tell you that these personal information sites can help in personal investigation, however our primary and first used resource is Google. From a persons name, email address or even just a username we can generally document persons of interest entirely without using Spokeo.

      What it all hinges upon is personal responsibility and limiting your contiguous online presence. If 'awesomedude82' opens profiles on 6 different websites with user profiles, he's opened himself up to the world by using the same handle. I'm not saying that personal data websites aren't frightening, only that they are just the tip of the iceberg.
      ]AR[*tREMor
    • RE: How To Remove Yourself from People Search Websites

      @violetblue Sarah from Abine here: we actually posted our opt-out instructions list today and will update it as we learn about more sites and removal processes. Here you go: http://abine.com/optouts.php.
      SarahADowney
      • RE: How To Remove Yourself from People Search Websites

        @SarahADowney ... Yeah, right, I'll rush right over to your never heard of URL and sure willl give you all the info you aske for! Yup, soon's hell freezes over!
        tomaaaaaa1
    • RE: How To Remove Yourself from People Search Websites

      @violetblue If I can find your address, I can google it for realtor.com and zillow.com and get information about when you bought your house, what you paid, what it is appraised at and how large it is.... No names or phone numbers, but still TMI, too much information out there. A bit creepy.
      Plant Doctor
    • You can't escape

      I have been living overseas for more than 5 years working as a CPA . I have a PTIN number with IRS. It turned out that my name and the fact that I am registered with IRS -are public information and were released (accessible) by Teaspiller. Can't remove this information. Outraged.
      Samantha Altoids
    • Radaris info

      Violet Blue, if you still there, this is what I found in Radaris (they are not removing all info and not responding to emails):Registered through: GoDaddy.com, LLC (http://www.godaddy.com)
      Domain Name: RADARIS.COM
      Created on: 30-Jul-09
      Expires on: 30-Jul-19
      Last Updated on: 12-Apr-11

      Registrant:
      Media Network
      P.O. Box 146
      Road Town, Tortola Tortola
      Virgin Islands (British)

      Administrative Contact:
      Norden, Gary garynor@radaris.com
      Media Network
      P.O. Box 146
      Road Town, Tortola Tortola
      Virgin Islands (British)
      +44.2035145353

      Technical Contact:
      Norden, Gary garynor@radaris.com
      Media Network
      P.O. Box 146
      Road Town, Tortola Tortola
      Virgin Islands (British)
      +44.2035145353

      Domain servers in listed order:
      NS1.RADARIS.COM
      NS2.RADARIS.COM
      Samantha Altoids
      • disagreed

        Donnow…probably I am way to suspicious but I prefer to check if there were no any criminal records about a person I am dating, for example. I used radaris.com to perform such kind of research ;)
        A-V
  • RE: How To Remove Yourself from People Search Websites

    I have a relative who is a celebrity, this is a constant battle for her. She has had to jump through many hoops to keep her address, cell, plate numbers, etc. private. It takes a lot of effort and legal fees. And still her info gets out to the reporters, paps, and psycho fans with depressing regularity. I don't think she's had the same cell number for more than three months at a time.

    But as long as there is money to be made, people's private data is going to be for sale. The government has no inclination to stop the process; in many cases government agencies are getting additional revenue for selling "public" information!

    After I refinanced my house, I got over 200 different letters from companies trying to sell me insurance, credit protection, payment services, and some truly fraudulent scams. It all came from one "public record" being updated at the county courthouse.
    terry flores
  • RE: How To Remove Yourself from People Search Websites

    Check out <a href="http://unlistmy.info" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">http://unlistmy.info</a> - it's a site dedicated to hosting this information. The site maintains a list of all these people search sites and the instructions of how you can opt out. If you find a site that isn't listed, you can submit it.
    cblaz
    • RE: How To Remove Yourself from People Search Websites

      @cblaz
      I think the problem is that one has to provide all ones personal information in order to execute the opt outs.

      In doing so, then one is validating their personal information to these sites that may actually have some inaccuracies to begin with.

      then the other problem is that there is no gaurantee the opt out will last indefinitely and your personal information will be re posted eventually and without notice.
      databaseben
      • RE: How To Remove Yourself from People Search Websites

        This is the same principle as opting out of spam sent to your email address. You click "unsubscribe" and it only confirms to the spammers that the email address and (some of) the info in there is legitimate. Then the cycle of endless spam starts all over again.
        ScorpioBlue
  • RE: How To Remove Yourself from People Search Websites

    Turn it back on them, start publishing the names and addresses of the principals behind these "services" and the physical location of their servers. Then things will change.
    wkulecz
    • Publish Names, DOBs, Addresses of Kids and Relatives of Owners

      That's accurate! Unless the battle is shifted back to where it hurts them, they aren't going to listen. Also go talk with your Congressmen/women standing for elections. Tell them they do not have your vote until they pledge to fix this invasion of privacy.
      someyoney
  • RE: How To Remove Yourself from People Search Websites

    undoubtedly, the feds need to make some law prohibiting this.

    the law that social security numbers can't be used for any purpose other than paying and receiving social security should be enforced.

    there should be laws prohibiting city, state agencies from providing any information electronically and instead force these personal information diggers to ascertaing the data the old fashion way.
    databaseben
  • BEWARE OF GENEALOGY

    One thing people are not aware of that is incredibly invasive is [b][i]genealogy[/i][/b] information. If you know where to look (often with subscription services such as Ancestry.com) there is a LOT more information available than the peoplefinder sites (which I [b][i]frequently[/i][/b] use to do genealogical research on relatives living or deceased within about the past 15 years.)

    One of the things [b][i]books[/i][/b] on genealogical research stress is [b][i]never[/i][/b] put detailed information about living people on a genealogical page. Ancestry.com blocks information about people who appear to be living (e.g., no death date and birth date less than 70 years ago). But many people are now posting detailed genealogies on publicly-accessible Web pages. Those can be a goldmine to identity thieves.
    Rick_R
  • Also Garlik

    There is also www.garlik.com which searches various good sites and bad sites for your data turning up. My bank provides a free access to this for some of its customers.

    It continually trawls sites where credit card info etc might turn up, but for safety it only uses a portion of your number, so false positives may occur.
    tony85
  • RE: How To Remove Yourself from People Search Websites

    A big problem I have personally been run over by is that sometimes (often?) these sites are out-of-date. I was falsely "identified" by the San Mateo police department by an internet search company that they used, which somehow didn't notice that I had moved away from the address they had - 3 years earlier. The SMPD din't even use DMV records, but instead this inaccurate data source on-line.
    acmw
  • Why aren't all these pure criminal scumbags just locked up for stalking?

    They are criminals and should be dealt with as such.
    Reality Bites