Did you know: The number of victims targeted by cybercriminals has almost doubled since 2019. In 2021 alone, the Federal Trade Commission received nearly 1.4 million reports of identity theft.
Concerns over the lack of control people in America have over their personal information have increased exponentially, with many looking to have their data deleted from the web.
Americans believe they should have the right to remove some personal information from online searches. With the ever increasing threat levels, people should become more aware of their digital footprint and how they can minimize their exposure to potential cybercrime incidents.
According to the 2022 Annual Data Breach Report by the Identity Theft Resource Center, the number of victims has gone up nearly 41.5% from 2021. People are starting to feel less safe and are becoming more aware of what threats they may be facing on the internet. You might be wondering—where do spammers get my [phone number, email, etc]? The most likely answer is data brokers. These companies specialise in collecting personal information and selling them in bulk to marketers (and sometimes scammers).
The step that will make the biggest difference is removing your personal information from data brokers and people search sites. These companies make it their business to prowl the web for your information, create detailed personal profiles on you, and spread them far and wide to anyone interested. For a more permanent solution, you’ll have to remove your personal information from data brokers and people search sites. They collect and sell your data to marketers, insurance companies, interested individuals, and sometimes directly to scammers.
You can either do this manually, which can take up to 300+ hours, or you can subscribe to Incogni with a 55% Black Friday discount using the code BF2023 and let them do all the legwork for you in a fraction of the time.
What is personal information?
Here’s are types of personal information that people would like removed from the internet:
- Full name, contact information, date of birth, sex, marital status, race
- Property records
- Criminal/court records
- Financial records
- Medical records
- Social Security number
- History of employment
How can you remove your personal information from the web?
Delete obsolete and unused online accounts
- Even if inactive, they can still be processing your info
- Opt out from data broker sites and people search sites
- These entities can potentially collect and even sell your private data
- Use opt-out guides that will help you in the process
- The easiest and most foolproof way is to use a data removal service, like Incogni, which will automatically send opt-out requests on your behalf; it will continue searching and sending removal requests as long as you have an active subscription
- Remove your information from Google Search results
- Contact the website owner or website host and politely ask them to remove your data
- Head to Google directly and submit a request to have your info removed
- Delete unused apps from your phone
- Apps can be collecting plenty of your information, from your location to your online shopping preferences
- Optimize the security settings of
- Your social media accounts
- The apps on your smartphone
- Your browser
How does your personal information appear online?
- Through publicly available sources
- Through data brokers and people search sites, such as Public Record Search, SearchQuarry, or Sync.me
- Through state and federal public records
- Through your social media accounts
- Through your accounts on various websites, such as ones where you do online shopping
How can you protect your personal information?
- Be aware of what you share
- Be cautious of spam mail, phishing, and malware
- Ensure you have strong passwords (and 2-step verification)
- Use a VPN service
- Be careful when connecting to public, unsecured networks
Who can help in deleting data from the internet?
The amount of data brokers has also gone up, with hundreds of entities out there. Data brokers are considered problematic and even dangerous, as they collect and sell personal information, such as names, addresses, phone numbers, emails, demographic information, online behavior, and purchasing history. With all this sensitive data available, the risk of becoming a victim of cybercrime goes up as well.
Subscribers to softwares like Incogni can help users keep their data off the market with a 1-year subscription at a 55% discount using BF2023 ($6.49/mo).
Incogni lists data brokers likely to have customers’ information (such as Social Security number, physical address, phone number, or email address).
Such data can be used for marketing, recruitment, financial, and health purposes or even further scams and phishing attempts. This can result in unwanted ads, influence loan eligibility or insurance rates, and increase the risk of attacks.
After a list of potential data brokers is made, removal requests to delete personal data are sent out.
Even after deleting user information, brokers are still being sent the data removal requests regularly because they tend to collect the person’s information again after some time. Users can monitor the process (potential databases found, requests sent, requests completed) on their Incogni dashboard.
This should be tailored based on what the topic is. For example, if it’s about spam texts or robocalls – it’ll be phone number, if it’s about spam emails – then email, junk mail – then address, etc