Opt-Out of People Search Engines

Nov 5, 2015 | Online Privacy | 0 comments

A few weeks ago, I decided to conduct a search of my name to see what someone could learn about me. As expected, some of the top results pointed me to pages designed to be a ‘people search engine’ and the information displayed included previous addresses and phone numbers. But I was surprised to discover that other sites went a level deeper, linking me to schools I attended, my family memberseven birth, marriage and court records.

While the sites are legally able to obtain and post this public information, it can be used by thieves trying to compromise your identity. To avoid this, you have the right to request your information be removed, but I found that the sites do not make it easy to do. Below, I describe how you can remove your information from some of the most popular sites.

Spokeo – The link to opt-out is on the Privacy Policy page. To complete your request, you will need the URL of the profile you wish to remove and your email address (for confirmation only.)

LookUpAnyone – The more in-depth process is listed in the FAQ section on the Customer Service page. For each request, the individual is required to provide proof of identity in the form of a driver’s license or other state-issued ID. According to the site, “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.” LookUpAnyone will not process an opt out request any other way, so although I was hesitant, I faxed a copy of my license as required and my information was removed.

MyLife – According to the FAQ on MyLife, a public page cannot be deleted. Not one to take no for an answer, I decided to email Customer Service with the two URLs that were attached to my identity, noting that there were errors on each profile. I received a response a few days later, and my information was deleted from the site.

PeekYou – The link to its Opt-out form in its Privacy Policy. To complete the request, you will need the “Unique ID” for your profile page… this is the numerical portion of the URL, as shown, bolded, in this example: http://www.peekyou.com/firstname_lastname/123456789. You also need to provide your email for confirmation purposes. PeekYou responded to me within 48 hours to confirm it had removed my information.

Though it can be time consuming to comb through each of the people search engines for your personal information, it’s certainly much less of a headache than recovering from identity theft!

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