How many times do you register on different websites to access the information on the internet? Do you know how many people can actually look for you on the internet and extract all your details?
Over the course of your life, many times you may have entered your personal details for securing access to locked features or subscribing to other services. But, does that information remain completely safe once you’ve logged in and forgotten that you had entered your information in the initial phase of setting up?
On the web, not all websites are secure where you enter your personal information such as your full name, phone number, address, etc., regardless of how safe they may appear to be. Such highly sensitive information can be used against you in the form of criminal activity or any illegal actions.
Through cybercrime, many individuals have fallen prey to malicious attacks, and the year 2020 has perhaps witnessed an all-time increase in such cybercrime-related activities.
The US government, however, is taking multiple actions to reduce the incidence of such crimes by introducing stringent laws and regulations.
Data Brokers are companies that list your information from both public and private sources. They are experts in extracting information which later they share on their websites to earn money from it. The data present there has information including your name, address, criminal records, driving records, and other useful information.
With such personal information being made available on the web so easily, you as an individual are left feeling completely exposed and can eventually fall prey to criminal activities. Swatting is a recently coined term that indicates an instance where unidentified individuals hijack your information from one of these data broker sites or social media platforms to report to the police, labeling you as a criminal. It mostly starts with a small prank, but this small prank can turn into a major debacle and controversy.
Solutions – Remove the Data from Google Using Methods that Really Work
Since most of your information is mostly available on Google, being the world’s largest platform it is, here is what you can do to expel the sensitive information on Google.
Google saves your data after it collects it from different websites. The most accurate method to remove your personal info is by contacting the website owner and asking them to remove your information. In this way, Google won’t be able to access or display your information in the search bar or results.
Removing Your Personal Info 101
Step 1: Go to the websites where you can see your personal information listed.
Step 2: Contact the website owner or administrative department.
- Find the ‘contact us’ tab and copy their email address. You can find this information at the bottom of their website usually in most instances.
- You can also search for the website owner by typing “whois – www.example.com” in the Google search tab. This will direct you to the administrative contact info or the owner’s email address.
Removing Your Personal Info – Way 2
You can also submit a request for removing your personal information from Google. If you perceive that the information posted about you may harm you financially or can pose certain threats to your identity, submit a request immediately.
Tips and Tricks to Prevent Saving Your Information:
It is not always possible to type an email to the website’s owner or to expect Google to expel the details immediately. You need to do something before it gets late. It takes a second to store somebody’s information from Google or for a sensitive piece of information to go viral. Almost daily, multiple things go viral at the speed of light, and obviously, you can’t risk that.
Social Media and Identity Threat:
It is often seen that people post a lot about themselves on their social media accounts such as Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. This habit can put you in real-life danger. Criminals or pranksters lurking around your social profiles can extract the necessary information they are after in case your settings are switched to ‘public’ and others besides your immediate social network peers can view this info.
However, here is what you can do to remove your information or prevent it from getting into the wrong hands, leaving you exposed to any potential harm.
- Make your accounts private: Making your accounts private can have a massive impact on privacy, safety, and your accounts following. In settings, make sure that you set your privacy filter accordingly so you know who can see what and you can also know which info to keep hidden, wrong exposure of which may cause trouble for you in the future.
- Avoid Sharing Your Personal Details: You should refrain from sharing your contact info or your location on the internet, especially on Facebook and Messenger. If anyone hacks your account, they can easily access the data. It is observed that people share everything on social media, which triggers criminals to conduct unwanted illegal activities. Imagine going out for a dinner and coming back home only to see that there has been a robbery in your absence. Such instances can be absolutely disastrous. Thus, it is advisable that you refrain from sharing the location publicly of wherever you are. However, you can upload pictures later when you are safe at home in case you want your social following to know what you were up to.
- Delete your existing accounts: Almost all individuals have multiple email addresses which are not active in their use. Deleting your existing and unused email accounts will automatically remove all the data from the parent website. You can request to close the accounts which you are no longer using.
- Remove your information from social media: Scan your social media accounts, even the posts that you may have uploaded over the years and try and find information that can lead to any potential harm. When you do find some essentials to delete, go ahead and remove them and then bump up your privacy settings further.
Apps That Can Help You Delete Your Personal Information from Google:
Removing your personal data from Google can be a cumbersome task. This is why there are so many trustworthy apps available that can help you delete such sensitive data.
These apps will help you locate your private information on Google. They will find the websites that have saved your data. Then, they will help you to remove the data from the data broker sites. You can also subscribe to these applications if you feel like you are at risk.
Who Is at Risk?
There are a few parameters that determine the risk factors. Here is the list of people who are most commonly at risk:
- Popular individuals on Facebook/Instagram/TikTok
- Political personalities
- Religious scholars
- People who share controversial content on social media
To your surprise, criminals or scammers would not only trick or target these people who have been identified but also their immediate friends and family members.
Harsh criminal activities can lead to serious trouble, arrest warrants, or may even result in the death of the individuals involved. Even if it’s a prank, it can cause severe long-term damage to you. If you think that you have recently been a victim of a cybercrime attack, reach out as soon as possible to protect yourself.
You need to remember that removing your personal data, it will help keep you secure, safe, and protected at all times from threats lurking on the internet. Founded in 2015, OneRep is a great platform that prioritizes democratizing privacy and they accomplish this through automating the removal of unauthorized listings from people-search sites.
We believe that these tips will come in handy when you believe that there is information available on the web that you need to get removed immediately to maintain the safety of yourself and your loved ones.