In the digital age, personal information is more vulnerable than ever before. Today, social media, online accounts, and public records are all very easy to access. So, it is common for personal information to be available on the Internet without any hassle.
This puts individuals at risk for identity theft, cyberstalking, and other malicious activity. So, it is very important to take steps to remove personal information from the internet.
Steps of How to Remove Personal Information From the Internet
Below are the steps for identifying and removing your personal information from the internet.
Step 1: Identify Your Personal Information Online
The first step in removing personal information from the internet is to identify the data location. A simple online search can reveal a wealth of information about an individual. It can include full name, address, phone number, and even the social security number.
- Start with a basic Google search. You can search by your name and any other identifying information you may have. Use quotation marks to search for an exact phrase. Example: You can search with “John Smith” and “Los Angeles,” to narrow down the search results.
- Review the search results and take note of the hosting websites. Make note of the available types of information. It can be your name, email address, phone number, and home address.
- Use specialized search engines that focus on finding personal information online. Two examples are Spokeo and Pipl. These can provide more thorough searches. These search engines can reveal more locations where your personal information is available.
- Check social media platforms. Next, check your social media profiles to find any available personal information. Apply privacy settings to limit the visibility of personal information.
- Review public records. Check available public records such as property deeds or court filings. Much personal information can be available through these documents. You can find these via local authority websites or any public record search engines.
By following these steps, you can identify where your personal information is available online. You can use this information to assess the risks associated with leaving personal information online.
Step 2: Review and Assess the Information Found
- Review the types of personal information. Analyze the personal information found in Step 1. Then categorize them according to the level of risk they pose. Such as your home address or SSN, may pose a higher risk than your work history or educational background.
- Consider the potential risks. Assess the potential risks associated with leaving each type of personal information online. Risks may include identity theft, cyberstalking, or physical harm.
- Determine the level of sensitivity. Check the level of sensitivity of each type of available personal information. For example, your full name and date of birth may be more sensitive than your work history or educational background.
- Assess the potential harm. Your available public information can cause your personal harm. For example, if your home address is available online, someone can use that information to locate and harm you or your family.
- Determine what to do with the information. Decide whether you will remove the information or left online. Some information may be necessary to maintain your online presence or professional reputation. Other information may pose too high of a risk to leave online. Consider the potential consequences of each decision before taking action.
By following these steps, you can assess the risks associated with leaving personal information online. This will be useful in the next step of removing the information from the internet.
Step 3: Remove Personal Information from Websites
- Contact the webmaster or administrator. Contact the website owner to send a removal request for your personal information. Look for a “Contact Us” or “About Us” page on the website to find the appropriate contact information.
- Send a polite and professional email. Next, you can send an email to the owner to remove your personal information from the website. Provide specific details about the information that you want to remove and why.
- Do follow-up. If you do not receive a response or the removal request is not granted, follow up with a second email or phone call. Be persistent and continue to follow up until they remove the information.
- Use online tools. You can also use information removal tools such as DeleteMe or Reputation Defender. They can help you to remove personal information from websites that allow it. These tools will automate the process of identifying and removing your personal information.
- Consider working with a professional service. You can hire a professional service such as iTechWares to leave the hassle of this process. We have experience in removing personal information from the internet to protect your online privacy.
Step 4: Remove Personal Information from Social Media
- Check social media profiles. Log in to each of your social media profiles and review the information. Delete any personal information that you do not want to be available on the Internet.
- Review your privacy settings. Review and adjust the privacy settings for each platform as necessary. You can set your profile visibility to private or remove unwanted information from the profile.
- Remove personal media or posts. Remove any media or posts that contain personal information. This may include information about your location, employer, or personal relationships.
- Review connected apps. Review all the connected apps and games to your social media profile and remove any that you do not use or trust.
- Manage your online presence. Regular review of your social media profiles and privacy settings is also helpful to manage your online presence. Consider setting up Google Alerts to track your name and personal information online.
Step 5: Protect Your Personal Information Going Forward:
- Be mindful of the shared personal information, especially on social media and public forums.
- Use strong and unique passwords for each of your online accounts.
- Enable two-factor authentication for your accounts where possible.
- Avoid using public Wi-Fi networks to access sensitive information.
- Review your privacy settings on online platforms regularly.
- Consider using a secure VPN to encrypt and protect your personal information and activity.
- Keep track of your online presence.
- Be vigilant about potential online threats.
- Up-to-date yourself about online privacy and security best practices.
Removing personal information from the internet can be a challenging but necessary task in today’s digital age. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can remove personal information from the Internet by yourself. If you find it difficult, you can contact us to get the best help.