Have you ever wondered if you have a digital footprint beyond your knowledge?
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It’s nice to think that the only information about us on the internet is what we put out ourselves. however, this is not always the case. It’s disturbing to think about, but if your name and photo are on the internet, it’s possible your information could be on even more websites or even the dark web.
Here’s how to verify your information online, then how to delete it if you find something you weren’t expecting.
Check if your data is on the web
First, you should do some research to see if you have any information about yourself online.
1. Google yourself
Before you go crazy for what might be out there, take a first look for yourself. Although Google doesn’t show everything, you’ll get an idea of how many websites may contain your name, age, address, even phone number or other data.
Finding personal information online
Try searching for different combinations of your full name, city and state, and even your own address, phone number, or email. It can help you find information about yourself online and see what others can find about you.
The Pervasive Threat to Online Privacy
The main culprits of leaking your personal information online are data broker sites, also known as “people search sites”, which allow you to enter any person’s name, often for a fee, and receive their contact information. such as telephone numbers and addresses, age, date of birth, employment history, etc. WebFX reports that there are over 4,000 data broker sites collecting data on over 500 million consumers worldwide.
2. Request that your information be removed from any site
One option is to try to request that the information be deleted yourself. Depending on where the information is listed, there may be a form you can fill out. Here are some of the most popular:
You can also try send a withdrawal noticewhich I wrote a template for heading to Cyberguy.com/TakedownNotice
Playing mole with your data
One of the challenges of protecting your privacy online is managing the many data broker sites that collect and sell your personal information. These sites often operate without your consent or knowledge, and it can be difficult to find and remove them. Even if you manage to delete your data from some popular sites, as we have shown you how to do, there is no guarantee that it will remain deleted.
Data broker sites may resell your information to other sites or simply restore it from their backups. This creates a frustrating situation where you have to constantly monitor and update your deletion requests. It’s like playing the mole with your data. Unfortunately, there is no effective regulation or oversight of these sites, so you are on your own in this digital jungle.
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3. Invest in moving services
Although no service promises to delete all of your data from the Internet, having a deletion service is ideal if you want to continuously monitor and automate the process of deleting your information from hundreds of sites. continuously over a longer period of time.
See my tips and best choices for opting out of the internet going to Cyberguy.com/Remove
4. Use identity theft protection
If your information is available and you believe you have been the victim of identity theft, identity theft protection companies may monitor personal information such as your title deed, social security number, phone number and email address and alert you if they are sold. on the dark web or be used to open an account. They can also help you freeze your bank and credit card accounts to prevent unauthorized use by criminals if you believe you have been the victim of identity theft.
One of the benefits of using certain services is that they may include identity theft insurance from up to $1 million to cover losses and legal costs and a white glove fraud resolution team where a A US-based case manager helps you recover all losses.
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See my tips and top picks on identity theft protection visiting Cyberguy.com/IdentityTheft
5. Regularly check your privacy settings
Regularly check your privacy settings on social media and other online accounts to ensure that you only share information with people you trust. It’s also important to be mindful of the information you share online and think twice before posting personal information, photos, and location data.
Kurt’s main takeaways
Your digital footprint can extend beyond what you know, so it’s important to seek out any personal information that may be online by googling you, checking data broker sites, and considering invest in an internet deletion service to remove any unwanted information from the web. Finally, be careful about the data you share online to minimize your digital footprint and protect your privacy.
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Have you ever found personal information about yourself online? What did you do about it? Let us know by writing to us at cyberguy.com/Contact
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