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How to Remove Yourself From People Search Directories

by on January 30, 2017
in , Computers and Software, Tips & How-Tos, Privacy :: 44 comments

How to Remove Yourself from People Search Directories

Between publicly available information and what we share on social networks, there's a lot of information about you available online. A quick search of your name can turn up some pretty surprising things, including your home address or old social media posts you'd rather not see the light of day. Websites that specialize in people searches, designed to help marketers advertise to you or to help old friends track you down, are the worst offenders. These sites often provide detailed personal information with the click of a button.

So how can you reclaim your private data? It's tricky, because there are lots of sites that collect personal data. However, you can lock down your social profiles and request to be removed from major search sites — you'll have to make a request with each site individually — to make your personal data harder to find.

Keep social media to yourself

Because many search sites pull data from publicly available social media profiles, reducing the data in your profile will help. You can start by simply not filling out your full profile. If you want even less information available for search engines to find, make your social accounts private. Here's how.

If you're a fan of Facebook, you may not want to completely lock down your account. In this case, you should still go to your privacy settings and select "no" next to "Do you want search engines outside of Facebook to link to your profile?" This will keep your Facebook posts off search engines for more privacy.

Get rid of unused accounts

Many people search sites pick up information from your publicly available profiles. One way to get that data away from search engines is to simply delete the account. This isn't a practical option for every site, but there's a good chance you have some online accounts that you just don't use anymore. Get that data offline so no one can find it by deleting the account entirely.

Unfortunately, every site has its own set of hoops to jump through to delete an account. Head over to AccountKiller to find a comprehensive list of account deletion instructions plus tips on what deleting your account may leave behind. Search for the accounts you want to delete, and follow the instructions to get rid of them.

Remove yourself from people searches directly

The next step is getting your data off the major people search sites themselves. You can remove your listing from most of them, but it takes time and some legwork. Each site has its own requirements, most including verification of your identity via a copy of your ID (be sure to black out your ID number before you send it in). Once you’ve submitted your request, removing your information takes anywhere from days to weeks, depending on the site.

If your name or address changes, a previous request to delete your information may not work any more. Check back with these sites if your information changes to make sure your data stays offline.

See the requirements for major search sites below.

Acxiom

Fill out Acxiom's opt-out form, which requires your name, phone numbers, email addresses and mailing addresses to match you to your profile.

BeenVerified

Search for your listing on BeenVerified's opt-out page and provide your email address. You'll receive an email with a link you need to click to confirm your opt-out.

DOBSearch.com

Submit a request for removal through the site's contact form. You will be required to provide proof of identity by providing a government-issued ID.

Intelius

Fill out its opt-out form, which requires a copy of your driver's license, passport, military ID card, state ID card, or employee ID card from a state agency. (You may also mail or fax your form.) If you aren't comfortable providing one of these pieces of identification, you can have a notary public verify your identity with this form.

LookUp

Search for your listing on LookUp, then go to the site's opt-out page and provide your name, email address, home address, and the URL of your listing.

MyLife

Search for your listing on MyLife and click the "Yes, this is me!" option to claim it. You will have to verify your identity, which requires providing a credit card number — it's an odd way to go about it, but it's how the service verifies identity. If you'd rather not do this online, you can call Customer Care at 1-888-704-1900.

Once your profile is claimed, you'll be able to modify it or make it private.

PeekYou

Search for your listing on PeekYou and note the number at the end of the URL. Then go to PeekYou's opt-out page and enter your name, email address and the number from your profile URL to be removed.

PeopleLookup

Fax (425-974-6194) or mail (P.O. Box 4145, Bellevue, WA 98009-4145) a removal request to PeopleLookup. Include a copy of a government-issued ID and your name, date of birth and address. See full details about how the site handles blocking requests.

PeopleSmart

Search for your listing on PeopleSmart's opt-out page. Then enter your email address; you'll receive an email with a link you need to click to confirm your opt-out.

Peoplefinders and Public Records Now

Search for your listing on Peoplefinders' opt-out page. All you have to do is click a few confirmation links (and ignore any offers trying to sell you information) to get rid of your information.

While the site name specifies Peoplefinders, this process also opts you out of Public Records Now, which is owned by the same company.

PrivateEye

Mail in the site's opt-out form, which asks for your name, data of birth, aliases and addresses going back 20 years.

Radaris

Search for your listing on Radaris, then click the arrow on the left side of the page and select Control Information from the drop-down, then click to claim the profile. You'll need to create an account (all you need to provide is your email address), and you'll get an email with a link to verify your account. Now you can edit or delete your information.

Spokeo

Search for your listing on Spokeo, then copy and paste the listing URL into Spokeo's opt-out form. You'll receive an email with a link you need to click to confirm your opt-out.

If you have multiple listings, repeat the process for each one.

USA People Search

Search for your listing on USA People Search's opt-out page. Click a few confirmation links to get rid of your info.

US Search

Search for your listing on US Search's opt-out page, then print the profile page you find. You have to fax or mail it to US Search along with a copy of a state-issued ID card or driver's license.

Whitepages

Search for your profile on Whitepages, then go to the Remove from Directory page, which sends you to a login screen. Create an account (all you need to provide is your email address), and you'll get an email with a link to verify your account, which sends you back to the opt-out screen. Enter the URL for your profile, and you'll be required to verify your identity over the phone.

ZabaSearch

Fax (425-974-6194) or mail a removal request to ZabaSearch. You'll have to include a copy of a government-issued ID. See full details about how the site handles blocking requests.

Hire someone to do the work for you

If all this sounds like way too much time and effort, you can pay to have someone else do the work for you — or at least some of it. DeleteMe puts in requests to remove your information with 14 major databases, which effectively removes you from a lot of aggregator searches like Pipl. After making its deletion requests, it keeps monitoring those sites in case anything else pops up. While it's still your responsibility to be sure you aren't putting too much information on social media where anyone can easily find it, DeleteMe will keep your info off of the major search sites and send you a privacy report every three months to keep you informed.

DeleteMe services start at $129 per year for one person. That's not a cheap thrill, but if you weigh the time it would take to individually remove yourself from each of these sites, you may find it worthwhile.

Not sure if you can trust DeleteMe? The service is run by Abine, a BBB-accredited business with an A+ rating and a strong privacy policy.

Can anyone find me online now?

Even after going through all of these steps, it's possible that you won't completely vanish from the internet. If you're active online, especially if you maintain social media accounts, having some kind of online footprint is hard to avoid. Many online searches simply aggregate publicly available information, and there's always the possibility that new data will appear.

However, taking the time to remove your information from the main services makes you a lot harder for marketers (and anyone else) to track down.

Updated on 1/30/2017 with new recommendations and information

[Search for people via BigStockPhoto]



Discussion loading

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opting out

From Linda Nerstad on January 13, 2015 :: 2:30 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 :: 2:51 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 :: 2:53 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 :: 4:15 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 :: 3:17 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 :: 4:04 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 :: 11:34 am

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 :: 10:25 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 13, 2015 :: 11:07 pm

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 :: 6:14 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 :: 3:55 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 :: 9:48 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 :: 12:28 am

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

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Intelius

From Janice on June 10, 2016 :: 12:12 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 :: 1:08 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 :: 5:13 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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About Nuwber

From Spiteful Victim of Online Bullying on April 23, 2017 :: 1:28 pm

You say there’s “no protections” because Nuwber is not a US or EU company.  If that’s the case, then am I at least able to send them lewd death threats with no legal consequence for doing so?  After all, not being subjected to regulation by the government should be a two-way street…

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Remove all my info.

From Bridget M. Manning on October 24, 2016 :: 6:25 am

Making money on a senior citizen.  REMOVE my info.

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how to remove from mylife.com

From Johnny Doe on October 31, 2016 :: 4:12 pm

I tried to have mylife.com remove my info and received a form response that said “This information will not be removed as these types of information are considered “public records” under the law, which means that anyone has the right to access them.”
They want people to pay a membership fee for removal of personal information.
I finally got results when I filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau. Also contact them through the email address beginning “removalrequests” followed by “(at)mylife.com”. Not the “membersupport” email they list on their site.

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Mylife

From Jane Doe on November 30, 2016 :: 12:29 pm

Hello, how do you file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau? Thank you.

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Laws need to be updated

From tate on November 06, 2016 :: 10:18 am

We need to update the laws for 3rd party info aggregation.

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Petition Google to Remove People Search Directories from Search results

From Dorin Dredetean on January 13, 2017 :: 11:03 pm

Hi All,

When you are tired of trying to remove your private information from these disreputable search directories please sign my petition asking Google to remove the People Search Directories from Google Search Results:

Petition Google to Remove People Search Directories from Search Results:

https://www.change.org/p/google-inc-ask-google-to-remove-people-directory-websites-from-search-results?recruiter=664275827&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=copylink

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My Life...no YES THIS IS ME!!

From Hank Arnold on January 31, 2017 :: 3:01 pm

They must have changed since you last looked, there’s no verbiage at any point from these people, I’ll try the 800 number next.

Thanks, this is very disheartening…just like the rest of our daily news.

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I accessed my information on

From Suzanne Kantra on January 31, 2017 :: 4:27 pm

Here’s how to remove your page:

Search for your listing on MyLife and click on Select Edit/Remove My Info. Once the service has scanned for your information, you’ll then be given the option to create an account. Once you’ve created a free basic account, you can go into Account Information to delete the account, which will remove your listing from MyLife.

Unfortunately, MyLife’s account removal instructions(http://www.mylife.com/faq.pub) are incorrect.

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Nope

From Chris Hinman on February 08, 2017 :: 8:02 pm

This only removes your profile with MyLife. All the info they had on you is still there.

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Stupid MyLife

From GRRR on March 14, 2017 :: 6:55 pm

I did just as you described and pooof…. two weeks later after removing the profile, the profile was back online. I called them, some jerk got snippy with me but agreed yo delete the “public profile” again.

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MyLife website should be deleted to HE Double Hockey Sticks

From I hate the MyLife company on May 20, 2017 :: 2:58 pm

Idiot on the phone told me I have 15 profiles. Then asked me which one is mine! How the eff am I suppose to know??? I told him to delete all of them and he refused. This company is a cesspool

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cubib

From Danielle on February 14, 2017 :: 4:13 pm

Any clue on how to remove personal information from cubib.com? They have no removal instructions. I tried contact them using their online form, and I never heard back.

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There is an opt out for each info item

From Josh Kirschner on February 14, 2017 :: 4:49 pm

If you do a search for yourself on cubib, it will bring up various pieces of information about you. Click on one and it opens into a popup window. There will be an “opt out” link at the bottom of the window.

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CUBIB.COM does not remove your personal info

From FURIOUS AT CUBIB.COM on March 13, 2017 :: 11:02 am

You can try the “opt out” link until you are blue in the face! You can send email requests to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) but that will not work either. These people will not respond nor will they remove the information. If anyone figures out how to get through to these jokers, please post here.

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Josh, did this work for you?

From greg on April 24, 2017 :: 12:15 am

Did they delete the stuff from Cubib?

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worked so far...

From Danielle on April 24, 2017 :: 8:23 am

Amazingly, using the “opt out” instructions from Josh worked for me. For how long, who knows, but I still don’t come up in their search results.

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how long before cubib removed your stuff?

From Greg on April 24, 2017 :: 6:52 pm

???after you asked for them to do it using Josh’s instructions?

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Please direct me to an

From data ags suck on June 12, 2017 :: 4:25 pm

Please direct me to an existing class action lawsuit against these companies instead.  Bait and switch is when you force a consumer to participate.  You’ve identified a lot of these companies, but provided no effective solutions.  The reason being, it is an unethical behavior for these companies to operate this way.  It is not acceptable to even have any business dealings with companies whom have already proven they are not trustworthy.  Any company who claims the use of private information without permission and also a clear shelf life policy for data, is not a company I would trust with one red cent, or one single validation.  Boy I’m glad I never participated in facebook or any of that, I called this one a very long time ago.  Still though, mylife has my data, and a few others.  So in a fair return and fair engagement, I make a point of populating a lot of my data incorrectly through a broad range of various data input locations.  They can’t tell if I’m republican or democrat, I sign up for all these lists with wrong names, etc, etc.  One thing is for certain, the data brokers are highly unethical companies.

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Cubib.com delete or remove name and address

From George on March 01, 2017 :: 8:10 pm

On Cubib.com do you think its safe to opt out?. I found my address. You have to send details, they could sell on. I read another website does that. Anyone been successful?. Are they trustworthy?. I searched their name and found your blog. Cubib.com was PublicSeer.com then USData.online now Cubib.com I wonder why the changes. If you try to find the owner of most people searches you won’t get far. They buy domain names with privacy like Domains By Proxy in Arizona or Whoisguard in Panama to hide the owner. The contact pages have a form, no email, no phone. Why is that. They dont want anyone to know who they are or where they live and want to protect their own privacy. But they put hundreds of thousands of peoples personal data on their public websites for the whole world to see. Thats hypocritical and kind of sad. Their terms say you cannot use their content without their permission, like you dont even have rights over your own data, I know some laws allow it but I think its unethical and probably only allowed for snooping and profiteering. But they also obtain data illegally. I live in England, UK United Kingdom. There is a UK website with a searchable database, terms on the page says no redistributing data. People copy it anyway and call it public just because they accessed it. I complained to the UK company, they said their legal team were looking into it, nothing was done. I had my address changed in the UK database to private, but there are still a few websites with my address from years ago. I was harassed in the past and moved house I am now very private. I know about IT and spent ages removing my data from websites, some kindly comply, some do not reply or do not care they say it is public. They say they help you contact lost friends, thats not the real reason, they buy databases from organisations, hackers, scrape content, out of date, or illegal, put it on a website with adverts, or paid upgrade, or paid removal, to make money. The Cubib.com rules are strange, it says you can find a lost love and check neighbours, but not stalk spy or contact people against their wishes. What else are people going to do?. On their page Allison says it helped her dating, she must have been spying on someone. And how can you find a lost love but not contact them if it might be against their wishes. I dont know if Allison is real the photo belongs to another Allison an author with a different surname so did they copy her image?. The UK has some people search websites but they have less data than USA websites. Most UK data comes from the electoral roll or phone directory which you can opt out, or registered companies and domain name owners which depend whether you use your home address or an office or a privacy service. If you forget to opt out or dont use a different address you can end up on a public search, most UK websites show partial records with paid service, I think they realised giving away full data was not making them money. I am curious why Cubib.com have full data free, surely they get less out of it as they are not getting much back from it, unless they are making a fortune on adverts, I dont know. There are many places that leak data, buying a house, using eBay, social media left public, most services and shops have accounts with your data in a login unless they get hacked like Yahoo and others who had millions of records stolen. Unfortunately thats the risk if you live the modern lifestyle. I wont get started on smart televisions and echo that send conversations to servers and smartphone apps that ask permission to access your wifi storage contacts messages photos cameras microphone etc and most people click accept, they probably wouldnt hand over their diary and photo album to a stranger on the street, but they give away more to companies they dont know. You could give up modern conveniences and live in the middle of nowhere with no internet. I have considered it. But most people get severe FOMO.. fear of missing out. I think life was better years ago when communities were more face to face not buried in screens and without companies snooping and saving everything, I think it takes away our humanity. Well done for putting useful information to help people remove data, I am not on most of the sites you mentioned because they are for USA. I am tempted to make a blog and tell others about information I learnt and how to keep private. P.S. George is not my real name and I used an anonymous email but I hope this gets through, I am real I just did not want to add more data than is already out there!. I’ll bookmark the page and check back to see if there are replies. Good luck to others who want privacy and are trying to get data removed. Cheers.

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Write Your Congressman/Senator, Write Your Local News Stations!!!

From Terry on March 09, 2017 :: 2:42 am

The only way to get rid of these site is to petition our government!  There are too many to manage, and the process/time is takes to remove the information is lengthy.

This is a security issue, and identity thieves are using these sites!  Especially identity thieves from foreign nations!  Please write your local Congressional representative!  There is power in numbers.

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No, you're absolutely incorrect, and

From dat ags suck on June 12, 2017 :: 4:19 pm

No, you’re absolutely incorrect, and sound just plain helpless.  Government save me from my poor decisions as I trusted data brokers with pointless apps like facebook, linked in, yahoo, and all the rest.  The power of the free market is the ultimate force.  Boycott them, boycott companies whom sell data to them.  Bigger government is not the answer and all government injection would accomplish is legitimizing a great deal of this data aggregation behavior.  Government does not solve problems, it subsidises them.

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Checkpeople.com is a scam

From Tommy V on March 22, 2017 :: 6:17 pm

Heads up!
I used checkpeople.com’s information removal option on their website and it said if the info wasn’t down in 10 days to email them. I emailed them and received a response from their support person. He stated that legally they don’t have to remove my information and they will not.

Seemed odd that they would have an option to request the removal of information but not do it… So, I emailed back asking why they have the feature if they have no intention of actually using it. Still waiting on an answer.
I speculate that they are using this feature to confirm and/or update the info they have on people to improve their accuracy.

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Per the federal trade comission it is NOT legal.

From LFN on May 25, 2017 :: 7:20 pm

Per the federal trade comission it is NOT legal.  I’ve filed formal complaints on each of the ones listed.
https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/#&panel1;-1

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unauthorised use of data should be illegal

From data ags suck on June 12, 2017 :: 4:16 pm

Unauthorized use of data should be illegal.  I don’t have to make an account to retain my privacy.  These companies are guilty of violating privacy and creating a bait and switch data management industry.  I’m certainly not going to give india based call centers and international data brokers my credit card number or purposefully create accounts with them.  You’re a fool for suggesting that.  Any instance of verifying your identity merely confirms the validity of their data, and makes your data worth more.  You should not and can not trust any of these big data companies.  If you’re on facebook or any other social media app, you asked for it, stop while you’re ahead.  If you’re getting direct emails from these companies, you slipped up and trusted a data broker somewhere along the line.  Effective data management needs a shelf life, and permissions based settings.  Every single data company listed above is a scam, you’d be a fool to validate your data with even a single one of them.

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Whitepage No more email needed

From Missy on July 04, 2017 :: 8:09 pm

Opt out happens right on the site but still need to use a phone number to verify the code.

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How to deleted someone that is deceased

From Danisha on September 05, 2017 :: 9:22 am

My father passed in 2014 and I wanted to know how could I remove his information from these search sites?

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Some links are incorrect

From J on October 07, 2017 :: 1:04 pm

For example, PeopleSmart goes to PeekYou.  I found this a few times.

Otherwise, this page is extremely helpful. Thank you!

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check

From SlosHyPinuace on December 11, 2017 :: 8:46 pm

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