There are hundreds of websites that provide your personal information to anybody on the Internet. Known as data-broker, people-finder, people-search, or whitepages sites, some of the most common ones include Spokeo, MyLife, PeopleSmart, US Search, Intelius, Whitepages, and Radaris.
In this article, we’ll show you how to remove yourself from these sites. They each have site-specific opt-out instructions, and we’ll walk you through all of them. We’ll also show you some common pitfalls you need to watch out for as you go through the process.
Why do people-search sites have my data?
People-search sites crawl the web, scanning for information they can use to construct personal profiles of you. They get their initial data from public records published by the government. Then, they flesh the profiles out with information from social media posts, news articles, marketing databases, and more.
Because all the information on these sites is publicly available, the sites aren’t technically violating any privacy laws by reposting it.
But even though it’s legal, it is understandably an unnerving experience to see your personal information on these sites. Many of them reveal:
- Your full name and the names of your family members
- Pictures of you and your family
- Your home address and previous addresses
- Satellite pictures of your home
- Your date of birth
- Your phone numbers
- Your social media posts and connections
- Your work history
- Your DMV records (depending on which state you live in)
- Records of your marriage license, court cases, and real estate transactions
- Any charitable donations you’ve made to political organizations
Many of these sites compile enough information about you to let someone guess the answers to common password-reset questions, which is a serious security risk. Not surprisingly, one of the most common questions we get at ReputationDefender is how to remove your information from people-search sites.
Check your state’s online privacy laws
It’s worth checking to see if your state’s laws let you sue to have your information deleted if a company won’t comply with your removal request. A handful of states have passed sweeping privacy laws that guarantee consumers the right to control their personal information online.
For example, the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), which went into effect in 2020, guarantees consumers the right to:
- Know what personal information companies are collecting about them
- Access that data
- Find out who companies are selling their data to
- Opt out of having their data sold
- Delete the data that has already been collected
Before you start: get a disposable email account
Many people-finder sites require you to register for an account or claim your profile in order to remove it. This usually involves signing up with an email address.
Your goal is to get off these sites—not to sign up for their marketing email lists—so you’ll want to avoid using your regular email address.
Instead, create a brand-new account, such as firstname.lastname@example.org, that you will only use for the removal process. You can use any email provider you like, just make sure you don’t use an email address you might need for something else.
Site-specific removal instructions
Spokeo provides an opt-out process that is fairly straightforward:
- Go to Spokeo.com and search for your name.
- Narrow down your selection by choosing your state and city.
- Right-click on the listing you want to remove.
- Select “Copy link address” from the drop-down menu.
- Go to Spokeo’s opt-out page.
- Paste the URL into the “Enter URL here” box and use the email you created above for the email address box.
- Click the “I am not a robot” prompt.
- Click “Remove This Listing.”
- Open the confirmation email and click the link at the bottom.
Spokeo usually processes opt-out requests within 24-48 hours, depending on the nature of the request and how much data is involved.
Note: You may have multiple profiles on Spokeo. Often, variations of your name or address will generate new profiles. To ensure you remove all your profiles, search different combinations of your name for every city you’ve lived in.
To remove yourself from MyLife, follow these steps:
- Enter your name in the search field on MyLife.com.
- Switch the toggle for “This is Me” and click “Search.”
- Switch the toggle for “This is Me” and wait for your report to generate. This may take several minutes.
- Click “Finalize Report” and continue waiting for your report to generate.
- To see your profile, enter your name and personal information, using the temporary email address you created earlier, and click “Continue.”
- At the top right of the screen, click “Go Back to Free Profile.” (You don’t need to pay to view your report.)
- Copy the URL of your report page to use in the next steps.
You then have two options for removing your profile completely:
1. Remove your profile by phone
Call MyLife customer support at 1-888-704-1900 and tell them that you’d like to delete your profile(s).
Have the following information handy:
- Date of birth
- Current address
- At least one previous address
Tell them that you want your listing removed from their site and affiliated sites. Then, provide the information that they ask for.
2. Remove your profile via email
Send a note to email@example.com. For example:
To remove yourself from PeopleSmart:
- Visit PeopleSmart’s opt-out page, which is run by BeenVerified.
- Fill out the requested information (using the temporary email you created earlier), check the box certifying that you are the person listed.
- Add any other information you wish to remove.
- Click “Continue.”
In most cases, PeopleSmart/BeenVerified will process your opt-out request within 45 days.
Removals on Intelius are fairly simple.
- Go to the site’s opt-out page.
- Enter your information and click “Search.”
- Click “Remove This Record” next to the record you want to remove.
- Open the confirmation email you will receive and click the link at the bottom.
It takes about 72 hours for Intelius to delete your personal information.
Intelius purchased US Search in 2010. As such, US Search and Intelius use the same online opt-out form and procedures.
- Go to the opt-out page.
- Enter your information and click “Search.”
- Select the record you want to remove.
- Open the confirmation email and click the link at the bottom.
Your content should disappear within 72 hours.
The following instructions are for removing personal information only. If you want to delete business information, you can do so by filling out a service ticket.
However, because Whitepages gets its business information exclusively from third-party sources, such as Infogroup/Express Update, it’s a good idea to contact these firms directly to remove your business details from as many sites as possible.
To remove your personal information from Whitepages, follow these steps:
- Search for yourself on the site by entering your first and last name, along with your city and state.
- Scroll down past the Premium Results to find your listing.
- Click “View Details.”
- Confirm that this is the correct listing by verifying your address.
- Copy the URL for the listing, paste it into the site’s Opt-Out page, and click “Opt-out.”
- Click “Remove me” on the confirmation page that pops up.
- Select a reason for your removal request from the drop-down menu and click “Submit.”
- Enter your telephone number, check the affirmation box, and click “Call Now to Verify.” You will receive a four-digit code.
- Follow the instructions and input the code when prompted during the authorization phone call.
The page should update with a confirmation that Whitepages is processing your removal request.
You can also submit a Whitepages CCPA take-down request if you live in California.
To remove your information from Radaris, you need to claim your profile and then “hide” it from public view.
- Enter your first and last name, as well as your city and state, into the search form.
- Click “Full Profile” on the profile that most closely resembles you on the results page that appears.
- On your profile page, click the down-arrow by the orange Background Check & Contact Info button and choose “Control Info” from the drop-down menu.
- From the next page that appears, choose “Control Info.”
- Create an account using your temporary email address, or log in if you already have an account.
From here, you can either remove all your information or just delete certain records.
To hide all information:
- Confirm your real name matches your account and profile name.
- Enter your cellphone number to obtain a verification code.
- Enter the code to make your profile private.
To hide specific records:
- Enter your name, email, the reason you want the record hidden, and the captcha code.
- Click “Submit” to receive an email containing your confirmation link.
- Click the email link. This completes the request.
Most requests are completed within 48 hours. Radaris will send you an email when it has hidden the records.
To remove your phone number from this directory, follow these steps:
- Go to OKCaller.com.
- Enter your phone number in the query field and click the yellow OKCALLER SEARCH button.
- Scroll down to the “Edit Your Listing” section and choose whether you want to verify your identity via a text message or a phone call.
4. Click “Send PIN” and enter the pin OKCaller sends you. (If you don’t receive a PIN, email support@OkCaller.com.) Then, make your listing private by entering “Private,” “Unknown,” or “Unlisted” in the “Enter New Listing Caller ID” field.
5. Verify that OKCaller has made your listing private by looking it up again in the search field on the home page. Your name and address should now be hidden.
PeopleLooker processes opt-out requests via BeenVerified, so don’t be alarmed when you are taken to another website.
- Go to Peoplelooker.com, scroll to the bottom of the page, and click “Do Not Sell My Info.”
- Click “Do Not Sell My Info” on the BeenVerified popup.
- Enter your name and the state you live in.
- Select your profile from the list of names. (To make it easier to find the correct profile, you can filter the list by age range, middle/maiden name, or location.)
- Enter the special opt-out email address you created earlier, check the captcha box, and click Send Verification Email.
It takes roughly 24 hours to process your opt-out request. You can check to see if your data has been removed by typing your name into BeenVerified’s search field. (You might need to clear your browser history in your browser to see the change.) If your information is still appearing, you can contact BeenVerified at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Opting out of Nuwber requires some cutting and pasting.
- Enter your name and state in the search fields on Nuwber.com to find your listing.
- Scroll past the Background Reports to the Search Results and click “VIEW DETAILS.”
- Once you are in your profile, copy the URL in your browser and paste it into the field on Nuwber’s removals page and click “OPT OUT.”
- Enter your email address, check the captcha box, and click “REMOVE.”
- Check your email for a message from Nuwber. Click the confirmation link in the email to remove your data.
The removal process may take 48 hours, so it’s a good idea to wait a few days before checking to verify that your information is gone.
Clustrmaps’ removal process is well-documented on the site. Here’s what you need to do:
- Go to Clustrmaps.com and click the People tab. Then, enter your name in the search field and click “Find.”
- Then, enter your first and last names in the search field and click the blue “Find” button.
- Select the profile that matches your information and click on your name to go to your profile.
- Copy the URL for your profile page. Then, scroll to the bottom of the page and click “Remove My Info.”
- Fill out the form on the page and click “Next Step.”
- Check the boxes next to the data you want to remove and click “Apply.”
The removal process may take a few days. If your information is still appearing after a week, you should email email@example.com.
The opt-out process for PeekYou is easy to follow.
- Just go to PeekYou.com and enter your full name and location in the search bar and click the green magnifying glass.
- Find your profile in the list that appears and click on your name.
- Click “Opt Out” at the top-right corner of your profile box.
- Fill out the form, check the captcha box and the last two confirmation boxes, and click “Submit.”
If you are a California resident, you can bypass this process by fill out the site’s RIGHT TO KNOW AND DELETE form.
Additional things to watch for
Unfortunately, getting people-search sites out of your life is more complicated than simply issuing a few removal requests. These sites have a vested interest in making it as hard as possible to truly get your information removed, and there are a few pitfalls you need to watch for:
- Upsells: Oftentimes, they’ll try to sell you a subscription to one of their products during the opt-out process. Read all the fine print carefully. It should never cost you anything to get off of a people-finder site.
- Name variations: These sites usually make multiple profiles for the same person under different name variations. You’ll need to do a thorough search on each site to find all your potential profiles.
- Recreated profiles: If some new piece of information about you appears online, or if someone with a similar name moves to a new address, a new profile may get created for you automatically. That’s because most of these people-finder sites assume all variations are a brand-new person. You’ll have to go through the opt-out process again.
Automatic, ongoing opt-outs
As you can see, protecting your privacy from people-search sites requires a fair amount of sleuthing and ongoing monitoring. The amount of time involved is discouraging for many people. That’s why ReputationDefender offers a suite of privacy services that process opts-out for you across dozens of people-search sites, monitoring for any new profiles on a regular basis. If you’d like to learn more, please contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation. We’re also happy to answer any other questions you might have about people-search sites or your online privacy.