Online Privacy

Internet Privacy

Information to take off websites:

  1. Phone Number
  2. Emails
  3. Addresses
  4. Social Security Numbers

Information that can be retrieved from just a phone number: (Intelius)

  1. Name
  2. Address
  3. Age
  4. Relatives
  5. Income
  6. House Value

Comprehensive Background Check can retrieve this information:

  1. Name, aliases
  2. Up-to-date contact information (cell phone, email, address, address history)
  3. Marriage status, spouse, neighbors, associates
  4. Marital status, marital history, marriage/divorce records, court records
  5. Criminal background, sex offender status
  6. Bankruptcies, liens, judgements, court records: dates, parties, lawyer names, verdicts
  7. Criminal and background records, police files, arrest records, jail records, inmate records
  8. Age, DOB, birth and hospital records
  9. Property and real estate records
  10. Business ownership and professional listings

How to manage your private information online

Google: To remove information (web link) from Google’s servers (so this link no longer comes up in the search) Go to this website, Google will take the information down!  http://www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=156412

You can also email them: removals@google.com

To have them take personal phone information down from Google, try this link: http://www.google.com/help/pbremoval.html

Intelius: Site that gathers data for their own background check site and others as well. Go to their website http://www.intelius.com/search-name.php?ReportType=1& and follow the instructions on how to remove your personal information under the “privacy section”.

Common sites that buy personal information from Intelius: Anywho.com, Address.com, Infospace.com, 99lists.com, zabasearch.com, backgroundcheckgateway.com, etc.

Acxiom.com is one of the largest aggregators of personal information. (1.2 billion in sales selling personal information-gathers information for Yahoo and Google) They have two websites: one for public searches, and the other provides information for businesses and law enforcement (often containing very sensitive bits of information like SSN, etc). You can either go to their website and look for instructions on how to remove your information under their privacy section, or email privacy@acxiom. You must make a request via phone or email.

USSearch.com

WhitePages.com

PeopleFinders.com (think Classmates, com)

Zabasearch.com-easy to find contact information, address history. There is an opt-out feature that appears after you click on your name

This process is tedious and can take a long time to go through each website and clean things up. There is a company that you can pay to help you clean up your personal information, Reputation Defender: http://www.reputationdefender.com/myprivacy

Cost is about $5-10/month to continually remove information from these sites.

How to keep your information from getting “out there”!

  • Avoid filling out information for free prizes, raffles, contests, sweepstakes, surveys, etc. These lists are often sold to such companies.
  • Public records
  • Internet usage-anytime someone else has access to your computer, they have the ability to monitor your habits. (boss, spouse, spyware, hacker, etc) Install anti-spyware software on your personal computer. Assume that your browsing history is being monitored at work…most of the time it is!
  • You can install evidence eraser software to delete your footprints such as cookies, history, and passwords.
  • Be Careful of information you post on social networking sites, and who you friend on them. (do not accept invitations from people you do not know or want to have your personal information)
  • Malicious websites

Your personal information on local and state records

  • Information is easily accessible through public records. Removing this information from public access varies from state to state. Although difficult, removal from public access can be done in some states. Please visit the reporting section of The National Association of the Secretaries of State (NASS) to find specific information on your state:

http://www.nass.org/old_site/NASS-eC3-Redaction-White-Paper.pdf

This is written by NASS and EC3 (National Electronic Commerce Coordinating Council).

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is also a good source for information. The following tips are taken from their website (www.ftc.org)

(1) When you are buying online, before you reveal any personally identifying information, find out how it will be used and whether it will be shared with others. Ask about company’s privacy policy – this is very important – how to use of your information and are they kept the information confidential?

(2) Read the privacy policy on any website directed to children. Websites directed to children or that knowingly collect information from kids under 13 must post a notice of their information collection practices.

(3) Put passwords on your all your accounts, including your credit card account, and your bank and phone accounts. Avoid using easily available information – like your mother’s maiden name, your birth date, the last four digits of your SSN or your phone number – or obvious choices, like a series of consecutive numbers or your hometown football team.(3) Minimize the identification information and the number of cards you carry to what you’ll actually need. Don’t put all your identifying information in one holder in your purse, briefcase or backpack.

(4) Keep items with personal information in a safe place. When you discard receipts, copies of credit applications, insurance forms, physician statements, bank checks and statements, expired charge cards, credit offers you get in the mail and mailing labels from magazines, tear or shred them. That will help thwart any identity thief who may pick through your trash or recycling bins to capture your personal information.

(5) Consider ordering a copy of your credit report from each of the three major credit reporting agencies (CRAs) every year. Make sure it’s accurate and includes only those activities you’ve authorized. CRAs can’t charge you more than $9.00 for a copy and in some states, your credit report is free.

(6) Use a secure browser when shopping online to guard the security of your transactions. When submitting your purchase information, look for the “lock” icon on the browser’s status bar to be sure your information is secure during transmission.

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