Searching the Internet has made life so much easier for everyone, from students researching subjects for school work to people searching for unique recipes to people searching for a “how to” video on installing a new TV. And that doesn’t even touch on the thousands upon thousands of searches businesses conduct each and every day, looking for information and data that will help them conquer new markets and expand their client base. It’s simply a matter of entering a topic, clicking a mouse or hitting a “go” key and – “ta-da!” You’re done.
While all this convenience has helped us live and work at warp speed, it has also opened up a pandora’s box of problems. The reason is simple: just as you or anyone else can search for just about any topic you can imagine, so can everyone else search for whatever they’re looking for – and that includes sensitive information about you.
Most of the time that information is used for legitimate purposes, like verifying employment, residence or experience. The operative word here is “most” of the time. That’s because there are cybercrooks and bad actors that are also searching for information about you, including your financial details, Social Security Number, personal or medical history and more. It’s all done with the goal of getting that info in order to conduct some type of illegal or clandestine operation. It’s a huge problem, and you not only need to be aware of it, you need to do something about it in order to protect yourself.
How big a problem is it? Every second of every day, there are 158 people hacked or had information stolen. It’s costing upwards of $100 Billion dollars per year, with financial damage done to the people whose information was stolen. That’s a BIG problem – but it’s not the only way your private and financial information is being acquired and used against you.
Public Records are A Problem
Most of the information bad actors acquire is from public records. The cybercriminals don’t even need to hack your computer – they simply need to fo a public records search about you and gather all the information that they need. That could include bankruptcy information, criminal records, marriage history, banking information and tax returns – the list goes on and on. And while social media is one culprit, it’s not the only one.
Public records include all types of information and data about you. Every single time you go online, data is collected about your searches and activity. If you Google anything, it’s saved by Google and ultimately can be sold to data brokers and others. It’s a big business, and the problem is a lot of the information can be inaccurate or out of date.
There are public records about people, which can include everything from birth certificates to home mortgage records to business records and much more. There are also public records on government actions, including civil suits, criminal and police activity, tax liens, city, state and federal actions and more.
The question is often asked, “can those records be removed?” The answer is, “it depends.” If it’s information taken from people search sites, then the answer is yes. If it’s information from government agencies, then the answer is “no.” There are many good reasons to remove that data, as more and more new companies called data brokers are skimming it and selling it to third parties – in most cases no questions asked.
So how do you remove information from the Internet? There are two ways to do it. First, you can do it manually, but you’d better be prepared to sit down and spend lots of hours upon hours of time. The reason is that there are more than 100 people search sites to find, go through and learn how you can remove your information as well as “opt out.” Each one of those sites has their own way of deleting your records and data. In addition to being time-consuming, it can be frustrating.
A better way is to have it done – automatically. One option is OneRep, a software that will scour each and every people search site on the Internet and remove your records and data using their sophisticated algorithms. You have nothing to learn and no time to spend trying to find and figure out the various sites. That includes WhitePages, Spokeo, BeenVerified – even Google, and dozens upon dozens of others.
Good Reasons to Remove your Data
Why be vigilant about removing personal information and data from people search sites? First, you’ll end up being at higher risk for identity theft. Another huge problem is that often your name could be merged with someone else with the same name, so you may show up having served prison time, or fired from a company you neer worked for – the list goes on and one.
You’ll also be at higher risk of doxxing, where unwanted personal information about you is publicly shared – whether it’s accurate or not. Often, it’s not! You could also be at an increased risk of “swatting” – where someone will call authorities claiming you’re either the victim or perpetrator of a serious crime in progress – and the SWAT team will respond in full riot gear into your home placing you and/or your family in handcuffs until things are sorted out. It’s meant to be a prank, but it’s dangerous and can lead to serious injuries and consequences.
Some people can end up with a higher risk of being stalked, because so much personal information is shared about you and your life. And it can easily damage your reputation, hurting chances of landing a job you’re looking for or building a relationship with someone.
The bottom line is that each and every one of us is entitled to our privacy. Having data removed from people search sites will give you peace-of-mind, knowing your privacy is protected.