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How to Remove Yourself From People Search Directories

by on April 09, 2019
in , Computers and Software, Tips & How-Tos, Privacy :: 61 comments

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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 BLOCK RECORD REQUEST page. Click on the People Finder Name Search link, fill in your details, and pull up your results. At the bottom right of the results, you'll find a link to Manage My Listings. Click on that and you'll need to confirm your Block Record Request. 

FastPeopleSearch

Search for your listing from the FastPeopleSearch record removal page and request that they remove your information. Read and follow the directions carefully on the Record Removal Request page. You are not required to put in personal information on that first page.

Intelius

Fill out its opt-out form, which requires your first name, last name city, state and zip code plus either your address or phone number.

MyLife

Search for your listing on MyLife and claim your name. You can change the data on your public profile, but you can't delete it without subscribing to the MyLife service, which costs $5.95 per month. There is a free 7-day trial if you want to see all the information MyLife.com has on you. But to cancel during your free trial, you have to call their customer service number. 

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, and a notarized identity verification form. See full details about how the site handles blocking requests.

PeopleSmart

Search for your listing on PeopleSmart's Manage Your Public Records 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

Search for your listing on the site's opt-out page, which asks for your name, city and state. The service pulls data from PeopleFinders, so you'll need to remove your listing from there as well (see above).

Radaris

Search for your listing on Radaris, select your listing, then click the arrow next to the "Background Check & Contact Info" button on the right side of the page and select Control Information from the drop-down. You'll need to create an account (you need to provide is your email address and cellphone number to verify your account. Click on View My Account and you can make your account private or delete your information.

Spokeo

Search for your listing on Spokeo, then copy and paste the listing URL and your email address 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, select your listing, then check the boxes confirming that you are opting out. 

US Search

US Search uses Intelius for its listing data, so you need to opt out of Intelius by filling out of the company's Opt-Out Form online.

Whitepages

Search for your profile on Whitepages, select your profile and then copy the URL of your profile page. Then go to the Opt-out of Whitpages page and paste in your URL and select Remove Me. You will get a call with a verification code to complete the process. NOTE: If you have a spam blocker on your phone, the call may be blocked. 

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 from up to 19 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 19 sites, 2 people for $229 per year or 2 people for 2 years for $349. That's not cheap, 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 4/9/2018 with updated removal instructions

[Search for people via BigStockPhoto]



Discussion loading

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Celebrities

From Wanda W on January 04, 2018 :: 10:30 pm

If celebrities can hide all their info, why can’t regular people?  I get that they are generally using a trust to buy property, but somewhere there is real information that these companies have on them, yet it’s not searchable.
I just wonder how.

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All but Lexus Nexus....

From Randy Arnold on January 05, 2018 :: 10:47 am

Yes you can remove yourself from all of these with lots and lots of work and aggravation, but you’ll never, never remove yourself from Lexus Nexus, which for a bigger fee KNOWS EVERYTHING ABOUT YOU!!!  This is what Mortgage Lenders use when they’re Underwriting your Loan to ensure you’re not lying or trying to commit fraud.

Good luck!!

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tell all your family and friends

From tony on February 05, 2018 :: 9:20 am

PLEASE tell all your family and friends and anyone who will listen to make an official complaint with the FTC:

https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/#crnt&panel1;-1

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Unehtical

From Ma Ra on February 23, 2018 :: 2:59 pm

These companies publish your information without even asking you. They will do anything for money. If you give them enough money I am sure the owners of these companies who publish your information will be happy to sale you their wife or daughter. That is their nature. I took service from Deleteme, but they are not very good when I informed them that my information is in http://peoples.biz web site they could not do anything to remove my information from that website.

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peoples.biz

From Tete on February 28, 2018 :: 4:39 pm

Please, if someone knows, tell me how can I remove my entire info from peoples.biz
I think this is an unauthorized site because they do not show us how to move our info.
My info was already stole before, now I know why, because they got it from the internet
Thanks so much for your help
Tete

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File complaints with FTC, State AG's ,and BBB

From File complaint with FTC and state attorney general on April 23, 2018 :: 7:02 pm

Mylife.com is incorporated in Delaware and Headquartered in California.

Nuwber is incorporated in Virginia.

File complaints with the Attorney General in those states, and your own state.

File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.

File a complaint with the Better Business Bureau.

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Thank you

From CMI on November 10, 2018 :: 9:32 pm

Thanks so much for this…It’s awesome and I’ve gotten myself off all of them.

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ALL people search use voting records

From Jim James on December 09, 2018 :: 10:36 am

ALL of the people search sites use your state voting records to get your addresses, and other personal information. They also use credit records from clearing houses who get that information.

Also many states still sell your drivers license and or state ID information. After a Sh*t storm my state stopped selling DMV information but I found out from my state they still sell or give away my voting registration information.

NEVER have I used my real name, address or any other information that could identify me online and yet they all get my very personal information.

I have removed myself from all the sites via opt-out and a year later all but two put it back online. 

It is time to let everyone you know about this and get your state reps and Federal Congressmen and Senators on point to end this dangerous practice.

I am a retired Detective and Fugitive recovery agent and my life has been turned upside down by these sites who violate the laws with impunity and worse yet pretend to let you opt-out, only to put you back on months later.

Time for Congress to act so get calling NOT Emailing, CALL your Congress man and demand they stop this dangerous practice that helps stalkers get your address information. I had to pay an attorney to put my home and property in a Trust without my name showing on it because I had criminals seek me out for revenge.


Call your congressman because a telephone call = 7500 voters according to their studies per Senator Levin who said this back in the late 1980’s and the number has climbed to 8500 today. That call shows you are serious and get many others to also call.

Don’t forget your state reps who can stop the State you live in from selling your Voter registrations and DMV/Secretary of state address, telephone number data.

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The article is only half the story

From NA NA on April 09, 2019 :: 6:38 pm

In addition to the many issues with whether or not you’re listed *as* you, there’s also the issue that you might be listed attached to someone else’s info as a relative, associate, etc.  No, they won’t tell you how they got the info.  No, they won’t remove such info no matter what reasons you give them (and there can be several reasons for any one such link).  All they’ll tell you is “it comes from easily verified public information”.  Um, no, it didn’t.  Not in my particular case.  It couldn’t have.  The closest thing to “easily verified public information” involves sealed records and the other possibility would be credit histories.  So just how *are* they getting their information?  Why don’t they have any responsibility to correct bad info?

Doesn’t do any good to remove myself if mistaken links, containing all my information or at least enough to easily find me if you really wanted to do so, remain attached to other people to whom it shouldn’t be attached.  Not that it does much good to remove myself, as others have mentioned, removing links that are actually, directly *to* me is temporarily successful at best.  Removed links have a way of reappearing quite regularly.

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Can't opt out of Spokeo -- and they know

From Miranda on May 11, 2019 :: 1:56 am

As several others have mentioned above, Spokeo makes it impossible to opt out, three different ways: First, its system refuses to recognize its own information (URLs) and second, the system will throw you into a ReCaptcha loop if you place more than three requests.  Finally, as others have observed even if you did succeed, they’d simply update their info the next week or month.  Yes, it’ll take legislation and penalties, but no, that’s not likely to happen.

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A Path Right To My Door

From Waiting to Be Hunted Down on October 09, 2019 :: 1:05 am

I should be in bed, but instead I’m up at 1am trying to get my information removed that could possibly get me killed. I have a LIFETIME RESTRAINING ORDER issued on a person that sexually abused me for 14 years. I have done everything I can to stay safe and to keep myself off of public records - I don’t own a home, I don’t do anything that requires me having to put my information into the public records - despite that, this person - this CONVICTED CRIMINAL - is given my address and often photos of my home from these sites.  It should be against the law to actually help criminals find where their victims are living. I’m just sick to my stomach and don’t know what to do. I’ve been opting out as much as I can, but it’s just a never ending cycle and I’m so tired of living like this.

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