Sharing personal information online isn’t safe. It raises the risk of identity theft, where your details can be used to take out loans and apply for credit cards. Identity thieves can also use your personal data to open bank accounts. There’s also the risk of social engineering attacks where cybercriminals may use your personal information to gain your trust and manipulate you into sharing sensitive data or committing security errors.
Leaving your personal information online increases the possibility of cyberbullying or companies using it for marketing. Getting this data out of the internet can help prevent the associated risks. Outlined below are five ways to remove your personal information from the internet.
1. Leverage an Internet privacy service
With more background check websites and data brokers selling private information daily, online privacy has become increasingly vital. Such exposure risks your privacy and data on the internet by exposing you to cybercriminals who can use your data against you.
Leveraging internet privacy services such as DeleteMe can help erase your personal information from the internet. With so many internet privacy services, Is DeleteMe worth it? Besides working with many data broker sites to remove your data from the internet, their service gives you more control over your digital footprint. It’s definitely worth it.
2. Delete unused phone or computer applications
Your computer and phone applications are a source of your personal information. Some apps monitor your behavior, and they could sell your information to other parties or use it themselves. Deleting unused apps can help remove your personal data from the internet. However, you should log into the app to delete all your details and close the account. If you must download new applications in the future, look at the privacy settings before doing anything. If the apps require too many details, leave it for something else.
3. Remove old social media accounts
Since data brokers can gather details from public social media accounts, minimizing your social media presence can be helpful. Prepare a list of the social media accounts you’ve created and delete or deactivate those you no longer use. For the social media profiles you intend to keep, adjust the privacy settings to ascertain that your personal data isn't as much on those platforms. On platforms where you can remain private, such as Instagram, consider doing so.
4. Opt out of people-search and data broker websites
Begin by searching your name on the internet. You may have to add a city you've lived in or your middle name based on your name's prevalence. When scrolling through the search results, you may notice your personal data on websites like White Pages. Most people-search sites provide an opt-out page that you can leverage to erase your personal details. Others require you to send an email request. You can create a temporary email address for such communications.
5. Erase personal information from Google
Google is one of the biggest data compilers on the internet. To use their free services, including Google Docs and Gmail, you must share your personal information. You can contact Google through a form to erase personal data from Google search results.
Leaving your personal data online exposes you to many risks. However, leveraging these solutions can help remove your personal information from the internet.
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