The internet has become an integral part of our lives, from online shopping to social media and everything in between. However, with so much personal information available online, it’s essential to protect your privacy and security. If you’re concerned about your online presence and want to remove yourself from the internet, there are steps you can take to do so.
Step 1: Delete Your Social Media Accounts
Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are some of the most significant sources of personal information online. To remove yourself from the internet, you should start by deleting all of your social media accounts. This can be done by going to the platform’s settings and choosing the “delete account” option. Keep in mind that some platforms may have a waiting period before your account is permanently deleted.
Step 2: Remove Your Information from Data Brokers
Data brokers collect and sell personal information to third parties. This can include your name, address, phone number, and other sensitive data. To remove yourself from data broker websites, you can use services like DeleteMe or PrivacyDuck. These services will contact data brokers on your behalf and request that your information be removed from their databases.
Step 3: Remove Your Information from People Search Engines
People search engines like Spokeo and Whitepages aggregate public records and other information to create profiles on individuals. To remove yourself from people’s search engines, you can use services like DeleteMe or opt out directly on the websites. Keep in mind that this may take some time as people’s search engines may have multiple profiles on you.
Step 4: Remove Your Information from Background Check Websites
Background check websites like BeenVerified and Intelius provide information on individuals’ criminal records, employment history, and other personal data. To remove your information from background check websites, you can use services like DeleteMe or opt out directly on the websites.
Step 5: Delete Unused Email Accounts
Email accounts can contain a significant amount of personal information, including your name, address, phone number, and other data. If you have any unused email accounts, it’s essential to delete them to prevent your information from being accessed by hackers or other malicious actors.
Step 6: Use Privacy Tools and Software
There are several privacy tools and software available that can help you protect your online privacy. For example, you can use a virtual private network (VPN) to encrypt your internet traffic and hide your IP address. You can also use browser extensions like Privacy Badger and Ghostery to block online trackers and ads. Finally, you can use encrypted messaging apps like Signal or Telegram to communicate securely with others.
Step 7: Check and Delete Online Accounts
In addition to social media and email accounts, you may have created accounts on various websites and online services over the years. These accounts may contain personal information that you no longer want available online. To find and delete these accounts, you can use services like JustDeleteMe or AccountKiller. These services provide links and instructions for deleting accounts on a wide range of websites and services.
Step 8: Opt-Out of Direct Marketing
Direct marketing is when companies use your personal information to send you targeted advertisements via email, mail, or phone. To opt out of direct marketing, you can use the National Do Not Call Registry to stop receiving telemarketing calls, the Direct Marketing Association’s Mail Preference Service to stop receiving direct mail, and the Email Preference Service to stop receiving marketing emails.
Step 9: Monitor Your Online Presence
Even after taking steps to remove yourself from the internet, it’s important to monitor your online presence regularly. Set up a Google Alert for your name and other personal information to receive notifications when new information appears online. You can also use services like ReputationDefender or BrandYourself to monitor and manage your online reputation.
Removing yourself from the internet can be a daunting task, but it’s essential to protect your privacy and security. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can take control of your online presence and limit the amount of personal information available about you online. Remember, it’s crucial to stay vigilant and take steps to protect your online privacy regularly.