Protecting your personal data online is important, and yet sometimes hard to execute in a practical way. However, thanks to the aggregated data at a site called Spokeo, here is one step you can take to protect yourself.
Spokeo provides extensive personal data viewable by a simple name search. They reveal data including statistics on and value of your home, your occupation, wealth, social media activity, age and photos of you. The fact that all this information is available in not so much the concern, as most of it is available multiple places online. However, having it all in one place makes it very easy for identity thieves to collect everything they need to act as you. The whole site is essentially designed to sell you a tool called ReputationDefender, who happens to be the sponsor of the site.
They are willing to remove your listing, and the process is very simple, yet not obvious. If you want to remove your personal data from the site, simply follow the steps below.
1. Do a search for your name. If you find yourself listed, copy the link of the listing.
2. On the bottom of the page in very small letters there is a link called “Privacy”. Click this link. Follow the directions.
3. Enter the URL, your email address, and the Captcha Code.
4. You will be sent an email to verify that you want the listing removed. In the email there will be two links, the first link just takes you back to your listing, the second removes your listing from the site.
We recommend checking back on Spokeo a couple of weeks later to verify your information is not appearing on the site. Do you know of other sites that list personal data and allow you to request removal? Leave a comment and let us know.