Once you post something on the internet, it can be very difficult to remove it. There is so much personal information available online that somebody could find out a lot about you by a simple Google search. It can get frustrating to have all this information so readily accessible to the public, and many people try to get rid of it all completely. Read on to find out how to get rid of your data online, at least as much as you can!
The first order of business is to find out exactly what information about you is accessible to the public. Use an incognito browser to avoid tracking and put your name into a search engine. You can also use a background check service to find what information would come up if someone searched you. When you perform a record search online, you will get reports about a variety of different personal aspects, including your contact information, past address, social media activity, employment history, and criminal offenses. Once you have all these records, you will know what to look for as you start the process of removing all your online data.
Delete Your Accounts
Many social media networks will ask for your contact information when you make a profile with them. The next step is for you to delete all these accounts that you have profiles on. This includes older websites from years ago that you have forgotten about. If you left your account active, all the information is still visible. Doing this is beneficial if you frequently make posts, and you want to avoid a future employer from ever seeing them.
If you still want to maintain a social media presence, you could try making a new account with fake information and an abbreviation of your name. As well, do not post any photos of yourself or people you know if you want to remain anonymous. Keep in mind that if you delete your email account, it may make things difficult if you are doing things such as applying for a job or trying to purchase a new home.
Delete Your Information from Data Brokers
Data brokers are websites that have the purpose of collecting your information to sell to third parties. The third-party buyer wants your data so that they can create targeted ads to sell you more things. If you request the data broker to delete your information, they legally have to do so. Each data broker has a different process that you will need to go through and figure out if you want your information removed from all of them. Some services can do this task for you if you do not have the time to do it yourself.
Remove Saved Passwords
Many people utilize online banking and have their passwords saved in the browser. This can be convenient, but it poses a risk in case your computer gets hacked. To avoid data breaches, do not auto-save any of your passwords online. If you already have your passwords saved, you can easily remove them. For Chrome, follow the steps below:
- Open Chrome
- Click the three dots at the top of the page
- Click on settings and then select passwords
- To choose a password to delete, click on the three dots to the right
There is also a toggle switch if you prefer to never have the option to save passwords online.
Remove Outdated Caches from Google
Once you have updated your online information or deleted it, you will want to ensure that it is gone for good. Unfortunately, it may not be gone if the old version is still saved on Google’s server. You can submit a removal request form to Google in an attempt to get them to remove this information. This is not a guaranteed fix, but Google employees will try to remove the data from their servers. This will greatly reduce the chances that your information will pop up during a Google search.