Protecting yourself from online people searches

Published: Feb. 3, 2017 at 7:46 AM CST
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We like to think we have control over our online identities...

But there are sites that allow just about anyone to have access to your personal information with a simple search.

It's simple.

And all you have to know is a name.

Dozens of websites make your personal information easily accessible.

Some free, and some for a small fee...

They make a profit off of *your* information---- legally.

Information that's public record or you may have provided voluntarily.

"Sharing info on social media accounts and through signing up for services any time you share information its possible that could be a public facing piece of information," said Suzanne Kantra with Techlicious.

There's usually a way to opt-out.

For some sites, a simple online form.

Kantra said, "Sometimes it’s more complicated they'll ask you for proof of identity for instance a state issued driver’s license."

It can also be like playing whack-a-mole - dealing with new websites as they pop up.

But services like "delete me" will do it for you.

"We remove your personal info from many of these largest data broker websites," said Will Simonds with Abine.

It's $129 per year, and while it might give peace of mind:

"It's pretty much impossible to become invisible these days,” adds Abine.

"You would pretty much have to be living under a rock not to have any details out there whatsoever," said Kantra.

Even then, the address of that rock, might still wind up being listed.

Some information found on these sites such as mother's maiden name could make you more vulnerable to identity theft.

There are also cases this information could impact personal safety. Victims of domestic violence, for example.