Opt-Out of People Search Engines
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 members… even 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.
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.
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!