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How to Remove Yourself From Background Check Websites?
Updated · Jul 28, 2023
Background check websites, aka people search sites, aggregate publicly available data to construct and sell people’s online profiles, which can contain anything from their basic information (name, address, date of birth) to their criminal report.
But they are annoying and invasive as they make money by scouring your social media and government records. How to remove yourself from background check websites, then? Well, often, it’s as easy as filling out their ‘Opt Out’ form!
Below, we take you through the process and tell you how to protect your information from ending up on such sites again in the future!
How to Remove Yourself From Background Check Websites?
The process to opt out of people search sites is a simple but lengthy one since you have to complete the same steps with each individual data provider.
That said, everything you need to do to remove your name and data from background check sites is outlined in the following sections.
1. Create a disposable email address
To complete the data purge process, most background check websites require users to provide an email address for account creation or verification purposes.
For that reason, you should create a new email address just for this intent, as it will be spammed by various notifications sent out by these data brokers.
2. Check which site have your data
The next step involves checking all the major people search portals to assess how much of your personal data is available to the public.
You should go through all popular background check services, including Instant Checkmate, TruthFinder, and Intelius. To speed up the process, you can even input your full name and location in Google to see the extent of the damage.
Note that most of these sites make a profit by selling you an individual’s full report. However, to get you interested in their services, they still offer free data snippets, which is enough to confirm whether or not they have your data.
3. Find the relevant opt-out pages
As mentioned above, as a rule of thumb, people search sites are required to offer a manual opt-out feature, which either removes or suppresses your information.
The best way to find each opt-out page is by googling for it with a query such as “[site name] opt-out page”. Ensure you go through all of the top websites:
Even if you are unable to verify whether some of these sites offer your data, you should still complete the data suppression procedure just in case. Once you remove your information from the most popular sites, the smaller ones should follow suit.
Note: Some sites may require ID proof to verify you are applying on your behalf.
4. Meet the opt-out requirements
Most background check sites only have you fill out an online opt-out form—accessible by the account holder at any time and free of charge. For instance, to opt out of having your data shared on Whitepages, you have to follow a few simple steps:
- Go to Whitepages.com and find your listing;
- Copy your profile URL address;
- Navigate to the site’s opt-out page;
- Paste the URL and click ‘Next’;
- Click ‘Remove Me’ once Whitepages finds your account;
- Select a reason for the removal and add an optional comment;
- Enter your phone number for verification purposes;
- Provide the verification code you are provided.
That’s it! You’ve successfully removed your data from Whitepages.
However, while most other sites follow a very similar procedure, some may involve additional steps. For instance, Intelius and PeopleLookup require you to submit an official ID to confirm your identity. In such cases, black out or pixelate everything but your name and date of birth to avoid providing the site with extra information.
Note: You will have to repeat the procedure several times if any given data collection site contains more than one profile of you.
5. Fill out all opt-out requests and keep monitoring
You will have to fill out the opt-out forms of all relevant sites to eliminate your data from the internet completely. Moreover, once you do, you must continue monitoring these websites and repeat the process if and when they develop a new profile about you.
To avoid the trouble of completing this hours-long process again, try out an online service specializing in removing your data from brokerage sites. For example, DeleteMe has been protecting consumers’ privacy since 2011, and they only need your name, address, and date of birth so their experts can have your entire data expunged from all relevant sites.
How to Protect Yourself in The Future?
Keeping your sensitive information away from prying eyes is harder than ever due to the advances in modern information technologies. That said, you can still take certain precautions to minimize your exposure, including but not limited to the following:
- Set your social media accounts to private—instead of allowing anyone to peek at your personal data, photos, and videos, adjust your privacy settings as soon as possible to hide anything you don’t want to share with the general public;
- Search for and close inactive online accounts—if you are no longer using any old online account, you should either delete all sensitive information or close them since people finder services regularly scour them for info;
- Refrain from sharing additional information—never willingly share more than you would like people to know; even if sites offer you advanced privacy settings, it’s better if you never put out that information online in the first place;
- Sign up for an identity protection service—certain online services constantly scour the internet for your identity leaks, which are often a precursor to identity theft, which can seriously affect your financial and social standing.
When it comes to what you share online, you should remain vigilant at all times to prevent your data from ending up in the hands of cybercriminals who can misuse it for all kinds of purposes, from stealing your identity for financial gain to stalking you online.
Learn more about identity theft and how to prevent it in our thorough guide!
Now that you know how to remove your name from background checks, as well as additional confidential data, you should complete the process as soon as possible. After all, there are no downsides, and you’ll retain your privacy—a precious commodity in today’s digitalized world where we know everything about everyone.
Your email address will not be published.