How To Delete Your Personal Info From The Internet

Today, there are numerous databases and search engines being filled with our personal data, and it’s now common for people to look up this information online. Here are some tips for getting your personal information deleted from the internet and other databases:

Removing Personal Information From Background Check Websites

There are companies called “Background Check Websites” that make a business out of gathering people’s personal information from public records and marketing companies, and then reselling the information in a convenient package. They collect public records like real estate transactions, arrest records, court cases, marriages, divorces, etc. and combine it with online data gleaned from web pages. This information can be purchased for as little as $3.95 (from Spokeo).

The major players in background checks are listed below:

There’s a more extensive list maintained by the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse.

You can check out your own records by going to these sites and entering your name, age and state of residence. To pull up the actual record, you’ll have to pay them a fee.

If you wish to remove your information from these sites, it will requires time and patience. Each site has a different procedure. For some, you can delete your record by just filling out an online form, other sites require you to make a telephone call, or mail or fax in forms and copies of your driver’s license. See this handy guide to get your started.

If you prefer, you can pay a company like Safe Shepard or Abine to do the grunt work for you. Safe Shepard has a free service that removes records from services that don’t require a fax or snail mail request. A premium service, which performs more thorough records removal and includes a personal customer service representative, costs $14 per month. Abine offers a service called DeleteMe that “removes your private data from 50+ of the largest websites that collect and sell your data”. The service costs $99.

Note that even when you delete all these records, the public records will still exist in government databases — you are just making the information more difficult to obtain.

Removing Personal Information From Search Engines

If you search on someone’s name, you can find a surprising amount information about them on Google and other search engines. Removing this information is often difficult. Most requests for changes to result engine results will go unheeded, except in very special circumstances. For more information, see this article about Removing Your Personal Information From Google. Generally, search companies will tell you to take it up with the websites hosting the pages in question — they recommend submitting an email or letter to the website hosting the webpage. Indeed, this often the easiest route in my experience.

If you have money to spare, a company called Reputation will attempt to obliterate any unwanted search engine results for you. They accomplish this by creating more flattering web pages, and attempting to make them the top results. Their services don’t come cheap however — their prices are around $3000 to $5000 per year!

Since removing information is so difficult, it’s best not to allow your information to reach search engines in the first place. Here’s a guide to stopping your personal information leaking into search engines and other databases.

Deleting Online Accounts

I recommend that you delete any accounts with online companies that have poor privacy records. At the top of this list would be Google and Facebook accounts. See this report on Google’s privacy violations, for example. You can get help deleting account on the Account Killer website, or you can check out this guide: Permanently Deleting Accounts on Popular Websites.

15 thoughts on “How To Delete Your Personal Info From The Internet”

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  3. I have a son that I put up for adoption 16 years ago and we just got reconnected by phone conversation yesterday. In two years we will physically reconnect and I really don’t want him seeing my information on the internet as I had my X which is his father new girlfriend put stuff on a website called the Dirty. How can I get this removed

  4. is another free background check resource website worth looking into. ABC contains over 2 billion public records, accessing names, phone numbers, home and email addresses, date of birth, death, marriage, divorce, criminal, military, WW11, internment and obituary records. It even offers reverse look up.

  5. How can I find a reliable independent consultant to help me remove information about me on the internet? please respond to my email if you have helpful information.


  6. Hi. Every case is different, but you’ve done a great job on this general overview. I just want to add that de-indexing the item from a search engine can also be helpful in certain cases. In other cases, your personal or business lawyer can help you, too.

    Every website has its own unique policies that will give you an idea of what you’re up against when trying to remove content from the Internet. For example, a realtor might want a mention of his or her name removed from Yelp…unfortunately, it’s Yelp’s policy to let the mention of a personal name stand. So such a realtor would have a very difficult time removing a bad review that contained his or her full name without the assistance of a professional who has been around the block a few times.

    While some reputation management companies do charge upwards of $5,000 to help protect someone’s privacy, an independent consultant such as myself can help on a case-by-case basis for far less than one of the bigger companies. In fact, I’ve helped take things off of the Internet for people in less than an hour — and the total charge was just $150. While that’s not always possible, it might be. So consider using of a seasoned search engine consultant to fix these types of problems for a lot less than a big company.

    Anyway, keep up the good work on advocating for Internet privacy! Hope this extra information helps someone out there protect their personal or business reputation online.

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