7 Important Steps to Remove your Public Records from the Internet
Updated: Feb 19
Delete your name from the Internet:
Your personal and family information is at risk online. The law requires many types of personal records be made available online to serve the general public interest and welfare.
Government public records about individuals have been publicly available for decades, but with the advent of the Internet, it became much easier to access. Different public records about you can cause many threats such as identity theft. In this mini-guide, we will discuss the type of government records made publicly available, the threats they can cause and how to remove them from the Internet.
The following are different types of public records:
- Court files
- SEC filings (Securities and Exchange Commission)
- Driver's License data - Birth certificate records
- Marriage certificate records
- Death Records
- Voting registration information
- Government contracts
- Criminal records
- Arrest records
- Occupational licenses and permits
- Property ownership and deeds records
- Property tax information
By making the above records publicly available, the government is exposing your personal information without many rules on how people can use the data. Keep in mind that each state in America and each province in Canada has different laws on what records are made publicly available.
What common threats surround personal records being public?
As explained earlier, public records before the Internet were readily available to anyone who wished to view them. The only difference is the ease in which they became available. Before the Internet, you were required to physically visit a government office in person to obtain public records about individuals. In the Internet era, a simple Google search for a person can turn up all the available online government personal records in seconds.
Data is big business. Many companies have created data products in which they collect your personal government records alongside other data collected from the Internet such as your social media profiles, news coverage, career information, and other sources. For a small fee, anyone can access a 360-degree view about your personal life. The following are some of the risks involved by exposing your personal records and information online. They are not listed in any chronological order:
With your personal information being exposed to the public, stalkers can use your information such as your snail mail, email address and phone number to harass you.
- Identity confusion
Many data brokers will compile information about an individual and sell it to the government and other organizations. If these files contain mistakes, or you share your first name and last name with a criminal or someone with a bad reputation, you can get in trouble. Read this:
- Marketing spam:
Your online personal records have information that data brokers will sell to marketers and advertisers to target you for products and services and impose on your personal life.
- Identity theft and Pretexting:
Criminals will use information found in your personal public records to pretend they are you and gain valuable financial information that can be used in pretexting. The collected data can then be used to steal your identity which will lead to bad credit, bankruptcy and potentially criminal charges against you.
How do I protect myself and my family against these threats?
In some cases and depending on the state or province you live in, the government will un-publish your personal records if your data will put public safety at risk, you are a victim of domestic violence or if you have an arrest record for a minor crime charge.
If the government denies your request to seal your public records you can resort to other measures to safeguard your personal information and hide it from the public. You also have the right to ask data brokers to delete your personal information at once.
7 Steps you need to take to delete yourself from the Internet:
1) Search Google for your name
By searching Google and other search engines for your full name you can get a picture of what type of personal information and records are exposed to the public. You need to be creative and add different words to the phrases you use to search. A good example would be "your name+ city+ employer"
The search engine results pages (SERPS) that turn up when searching for your name will indicate your current situation and what to do next. Some of your personal information will be listed on controlled or semi-controlled websites like your personal social profiles or web site, companies you work with, etc. removing such information is easily done by requesting the removal yourself.
Other websites can be hostile with defamation, false and misleading content. This requires an online reputation management strategy to get rid of such negative content and information.
If the search results turn up videos or images containing your personal information, you can request removal of such materials by contacting the host directly. Google, YouTube and other organizations hosting such content have removal processes in place.
The most common search results containing personal records are people-search websites and obviously government websites.
2) Get a separate new phone number
Get a separate and dedicated phone number for your personal records.
3) Get a dedicated P.O. Box
Get a separate and dedicated P.O. Box number for your personal records
4) Visit your local clerk's office
Once you get a new dedicated P.O. Box and phone number, visit your local clerk's office to update all your personal records. Make sure you specifically ask to replace your phone number and address on all records.
5) Visit your local Motor Vehicle Registration Office
Chances are if there is a record that is not hosted by the local clerk's office, your local motor vehicle department has it. Again be precise and specifically ask for all your public records to be updated with the new P.O. Box and dedicated phone number.
6) Remove yourself from people-search websites
Compile a list of all the people-search websites that you found by doing step one, contact them and request your personal data to be removed. This is your right and they can't refuse.
7) Hire an Online Reputation Management Company
In many instances, you either will not have the time to remove your personal information or find it difficult to remove the negative content from websites and search engines. A Professional Online Reputation Management Services provider is able to help you by implementing a reputation defending strategy that works. Delete your personal public records, repair your online reputation and stay safe. If you find yourself asking this question without an answer: How to delete my name off the internet? Then our team is ready to help.
Swiftly Labs Team