Internet Security: Your personal information is online. Here’s how to remove it
It’s scary and potentially dangerous, but it’s also legal for websites to collect your information from public records.
The good news is that there are ways you can try to regain control and remove some of this information.
Consumer Reports spoke to Konstantinos Sofos, who was shocked after finding out how much of his personal information is on the World Wide Web.
“Wow. It’s unreal! It’s a little scary and unnerving to know that my whole life story is online,” Sofos said.
Sites like BeenVerified, FastPeopleSearch, and PeopleFinders are part of the vast industry of data brokers who collect information and then sell it for things like advertising.
Yael Grauer, Technical Editor of Consumer Reports, Investigates Online Data Collection and Privacy and says, “A lot of people don’t even realize that there is tons of information about them online. These companies don’t tell you they’re putting your information out. “
And it can be risky. It can allow employers, online stalkers, or even identity thieves to access your personal information without you ever knowing.
The information may include your current and former addresses, phone number and email address, names of loved ones, and arrest records.
To regain control, check out some well-known data broker sites to see if there is any personal information you want to remove. But be aware that some sites may require a copy of your license or your username to delete your data. Before sending any ID, cross out any excess information that may be on it, such as your license number or social security number.
CR says that if you are doing the work yourself, make a list of sites you have unsubscribed from and come back periodically to make sure your information has not reappeared.
And click here for more information and links to major data broker sites you may want to check out.
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