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Remove Yourself from People Search Directories

by on January 12, 2015
in , Computers and Software, Tips & How-Tos, Privacy :: 16 comments

by Nicole Nguyen

In 2015, we're pledging to further protect our privacy on the web. For reasons why you should too, read this shocking New York Times article, in which author Andrea Lavinthal explains how "we're all Ph.D.'s in Internet stalking these days" because everyone's data is readily available online. Five bucks is all it takes to find out your phone number, your family members, how much you paid for a home, and your complete location history online.

What did you do to authorize this information? Nothing. All of it is public record, and sites like Spokeo and PeopleSmart are making this personal information available on the web for a small fee. Follow this guide to remove your data from the web's four biggest directories.

Spokeo

Search your name on the site (if that doesn't work, try your maiden or former name), and choose the state where you live. Click the appropriate street to find your specific listing and copy the URL.

Go to the opt-out page, paste the URL, and enter your email address to remove the listing. You may have multiple listings on Spokeo if you have moved or changed your name, and will need to return to the opt-out page to remove each one.

PeopleSmart

Start on this opt-out page (not the main PeopleSmart homepage) to "manage" (aka remove or update) your listing. Once you select the listing, click on the work info that applies to you (if it's not the correct information, just skip the step and proceed).

When you reach Define Your Privacy Preferences, deselect all checks under "Contact Information" and "Work Information." Select "Apply these settings to other people search websites" and then submit.

MyLife

To remove your member profile, email privacy@mylife.com or call 1-888-704-1900. The company claims that it takes up to 10 days to process a request. If your info still appears after 10 days, don't hesitate to persist, and call or email again.

Intelius

The opt-out page will prompt you to verify your identification by attaching a scan of a driver's license, passport, military ID, state ID, or employee ID from a state agency. The photo and driver's license number should be crossed out. A notarized statement of your identity is also acceptable.

Enter in an email address to receive a confirmation when your info has been removed, and type in any additional records found on the site in the Additional Information field.

You can also fax your ID verification to 425-974-6194, or mail a copy to Intelius Consumer Affairs, P.O. Box 808, Bothell, WA 98041-0808.

[lock on keyboard via Shutterstock]



Discussion loading

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opting out

From Linda Nerstad on January 13, 2015 :: 3:30 pm

When I did this on the Spokeo site, it looks like I have to join for 3 or 6 months to be able to get into the site to capture the URL. Please advise.

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No need to join

From Josh Kirschner on January 13, 2015 :: 3:51 pm

There’s no need to have a Spokeo subscription to find yourself or opt out. Search for yourself on Spokeo (for free). When you find yourself, copy the url at the top of the page (will look something like “http://www.spokeo.com/search?q=yourfirstname+yourlastname#yourcity,+yourstate:1078383937”).

Then go to the Spokeo opt-out page (http://www.spokeo.com/opt_out/new) and paste that url into the Profile URL field, enter your email address, and click “Remove this Listing”.

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re: opting out

From chasmyn on January 13, 2015 :: 3:53 pm

You don’t. You just copy the url of where your name shows up in the search, on the page before that.

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No URL

From Linda Nerstad on January 13, 2015 :: 5:15 pm

When I type in my name it takes me to my location on a map. I click on that and it shows that it has info about my address; phone,etc and a link to get the info. That leads to a cost for 3 months or 6 months. The link is “Spokeo - Linda Nerstad” with no URL. Have you tried it?

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Spokeo and PeopleSmart problems

From Dayton on January 13, 2015 :: 4:17 pm

The Spokeo process was just put me into a loop. Fill out opt-out page, get email directing me to fill out opt-out page, rinse, repeat. The PeopleSmart process required me to set up an account which I can’t delete now. I’m not going to try the other two!

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Both are working

From Josh Kirschner on January 13, 2015 :: 5:04 pm

The Spokeo process is poorly designed, in that the confirmation email takes you back to the opt-out page, rather than a confirmation message. However, if you search for that listing again, you will see that it has been removed.

I get the concern over providing PeopleSmart your email and a password, but I also see why they need it to limit others from removing your information without your consent. Not sure this really prevents much (easy enough to create a fake/disposable email address), but it at least makes it slightly more difficult for someone someone to come in and do mass deletes, etc.

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people smart account

From joseli on June 06, 2015 :: 12:34 pm

So do i have to create an account on people smart to delete my profile? I got the same thing where i click “this is me” and it is asking for me to make an account.

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PeopelSmart Issues

From Kelly on January 13, 2015 :: 11:25 pm

I don’t ever get to a page that says Define Your Privacy Preferences.  I was asked to create an account, what did I miss?

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PeopleSmart

From Tina on January 14, 2015 :: 12:07 am

When I use the link to go to Peoplesmart, it only gives me the option to Manage Your Personal Information.  When I find myself and select This is Me, I have to create an account.  Is there no other way to remove my information?  I don’t see anything about “work.”

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Not working

From RC on May 16, 2015 :: 7:14 pm

When I copy the link, I get a note that says “Could not find the user record”.  Then it prompts me to join and pay.  This is ridiculous.

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Spokeo Problem

From Billy Bod on May 31, 2015 :: 4:55 pm

Keep getting error about not finding the person in Spokeo. Apparently, their own website can’t read their own provided link. So, they don’t want users to opt-out? WTF???

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Spokeo spits it out

From veda on June 04, 2015 :: 10:48 pm

I agree with BILLY BOD. Doesn’t always work on Spokeo; just loops the request endlessly. I am going to file a complaint with FTC for all the good that will do.
I believe they obtain much of this information from Voter’s listings, which can be bought or sold. Another very good possibility is the vendors on Amazon’s marketplace. Even when I moved, my address almost immediately showed up. Plus the Credit Reporting agencies like Experian own at least one of these sites.

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Spokeo Opt Out

From Rick Wes on September 11, 2015 :: 1:28 am

Here is more Spokeo opt out info: http://reviewspokeo.com/spokeo-remove/

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Intelius

From Janice on June 10, 2016 :: 1:12 pm

I cannot get a copy of my DL to upload to them.  Makes no sense to have to show your DL just to remove your OWN personal info.  SMH.

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Nuwber - A nasty new one that doesn't delete

From Fed Up on June 15, 2016 :: 2:08 pm

So I found myself on nuwber.com today.  So I created an account, sent the link and asked to be removed.  Haha, the joke is on me.  They leave it in place, the headers include the information so your result in natural search includes all your data in the description and when you click on the link, it announces you asked them to hide it!  Not a US or EU company so no protections.  They just send canned responses with the link to remove, even though they don’t remove over and over again.  The whole business is dispicable.

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Nuwber

From ERRRRR!!! on June 16, 2016 :: 6:13 pm

Same problem with Nuwber. They deleted the info on their website but the link for the website they don’t delete - and the link has all the information the website had. They say it’s not their problem - won’t do anything about it.

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