Everything that you’ve ever shared on the internet is still there. That’s a scary thought, right? Well, it gets worse. In fact, much of your personal information that you’ve not intentionally shared is on the internet, too. Data points such as your family members’ names, the salary that you’ve made throughout your life, and more are out there for anyone to search, find, and see.
The United States lacks national data privacy legislation which is why data on individuals has become the most valuable asset for sale on the internet. Even if you did not willingly share certain bits of information, it’s still out there on sites that broker data like “background check” websites which scrape public records and compile information – like your home address and personal phone numbers.
But it goes beyond public records! The sharing of our personal data extends to the social media networks to which we belong and use, like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram, and the various apps that we may choose to download to our phone. We may be unknowingly signing our rights away to the data we provide to these apps as a necessary step just to enroll/subscribe. Experts in the field of cybersecurity realize that you cannot have both – control of your personal data while also enjoying access to life’s new normalities such as food delivery apps.
Although there is no fool-proof way to completely remove your personal data from the internet, there are things that one can do to help remove some of it. One of the first things you should do is to conduct a quick Google search on yourself to understand what others can easily find out about you. Do this test in a private browser, like an “Incognito Window”, which will prevent tracking and autofilling from your previous internet usage. Some things to look for are social media profiles that are associated with your name and data brokers – like Whitepages and BeenVerified.
After you’ve audited how much information is there on the internet about you, decide how private you want your information to be. If you’re expending the effort to discover what’s out there about yourself, you’ve probably been shocked to see how much is truly out there, and we recommend your going as private as possible. Decide what you want to protect. It may not be a good idea to keep your Facebook profile public since unwanted people can easily find the answers to typical security questions that the criminal needs – what high school did you graduate from, for example? Yeah, it’s that easy.
If you’re not ready to delete your social media profiles from the set of services that you use, you can request that the data brokers remove your information – which they are legally required to do if you request that they do so. You will have to do this one-by-one with each data broker, but here are some links that will help you to start that process:
VoterRecords: find your profile then scroll to the bottom where it says “Opt-Out”
Instant Check Mate: https://www.instantcheckmate.com/opt-out/
Truth Finder: https://www.truthfinder.com/opt-out/
PRO TIP: Use an email that you devote exclusively for spam, promotions, etc., so the service that you are approaching doesn’t have the ability to sell your personal email… again.
Even if there is no way for you to live a normal life and not share your personal information – it’s one or the other these days – you can take steps to remove some of that information online. Pick and choose what you want to share with the wider world because if you share it with one person or one company, you can fully expect that you’re sharing it with everyone.
The bottom line is that there’s really no better time than the present to become a LibertyID member for identity theft restoration protection. Our extended family plan covers the primary individual, their spouse/partner, both sets of parents (including those that have been deceased for up to a year), and all children under the age of 25. We’re the experts at identity theft restoration, offering a 100% guaranteed identity theft restoration service. But, you have to get covered before there’s an incident. When you sign up for LibertyID, you’re covering yourself and your family from the fallout of identity theft and the potentially hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars lost due to identity theft.