Here are some tips to help you remove your personal information from more than a dozen online background check websites.
How Do These Sites Get My Information?
There are hundreds of online background check websites that gather information on people. In the US, these online databases are populated with information from public records like real estate transactions, arrest records, court cases, marriages, divorces, etc.
Before the Internet, investigators would have to go to the local town hall or the state records office and request this public information in person. Now with databases a dime a dozen, most of this information is readily accessible if you know where to look.
A background check website will both mine these public databases and obtain demographic information from marketing companies. If you’re young, you’re paper trail is likely small, but if you’re older, the amount of publicly available information can be staggering.
What They Know About You
Most of this information is not as salacious as those party pics from the Bahamas, but you may not want your future boss finding out you recently went through a messy divorce. Before you start the removal process, you’ll need to find out what information these companies have, if any. I used Social Intelligence for my background check, but there’s a dozen or more big players that focus primarily on public information and not your social networks. It’s these public databases below.You’ll need to go to the following sites and search for your name, address, and age.
These sites are considered the major players and have information that is scraped by smaller sites. Once you confirm a site has your information, mark it off and prepare to move onto the next step which is the removal process.
How Do I Purge My Information From These Sites?
Here’s the hard part. Removing your information won’t be easy as there’s no one place that’ll remove everything for you. Each site has different contact information and different procedures for removal. Some require you to fill out an Internet form, others require you to call and some even ask you to fax your driver’s license to confirm your identity. If you send in your driver’s license, make sure you black out all information except your name, address and DOB. Only give these companies the bare minimum they need to identify you and nothing more.
This contact list compiled by LawyerCT will help you get started. Be prepared to spend a lot of time pouring through these websites, compiling the information they need and sending it to them. They don’t make it easy and you’ll be irritated by emails that bounce and fax numbers that don’t answer. Relax and drink a cold beer while you do this, it’ll help.
If you can’t stand this process, there are record removal companies that’ll do this on your behalf for a fee. These companies may not be 100% effective, though, as some background check websites won’t honor a removal request from a third-party. You and only you can ask for your information to be removed.
I Did It, It’s Done, Now What?
Breathe easier knowing you have erased some, if not all, of your public information from these aggregators. This is only the beginning, though. You’ll need to keep checking back to make sure new information does not appear. Try to keep yourself out of their radar. Don’t get arrested or fight a legal battle. And if you get married, be ready to start this process all over again.
Thank you Kelly Hodgkins, the author of this post.