How to Delete Your Personal Data From Public Record Websites

how to, how to delete your personal data from public record websites

How to Delete Your Personal Data From Public Record Websites

  • Personal data on various sites poses privacy and reputation risks. Cleaning up your online record is essential for protection.
  • Websites, search engines, and social media platforms collect and share personal information that can be misused.
  • Public websites source data from government databases and social media profiles. Be cautious about sharing too much information online.

Has your phone number or address been plastered over unknown websites? Or perhaps it’s your old photos or social media posts?

Whatever it may be, your personal data ending in the wrong hands can be a nightmare for your privacy or reputation, which is why cleaning up your personal online record is essential.

However, it’s not always easy, as there are many different sites holding your data and not enough ways to clean your personal information from public records. At least, not easily.

What Types of Sites Collect Your Personal Data?

Sites like online directories, address listing sites, and background check websites are common. You’ll find sites like, which lists personal information on many people in the US (In the UK, does the same thing).

Often, these sites have some information available publicly. They then charge people for access to full information, such as full addresses, phone numbers, and so on.

Apart from public listing sites, search engines and social media companies also have a lot of information on you that can be misused.

What Information About You Is Available Online?

These sites can gather a lot of information about you, including, but not limited to

  • Your name.
  • Your current home address.
  • Assets, such as whether you own a house.

Some sites may even have access to more sensitive data, such as your social security number.

What’s Wrong With Personal Information Being Available?

If a hacker gets hold of this information, you’re vulnerable to identity theft, spear phishing, SIM swaps, and other cyberattacks. The more people who can access your personal details, the easier it is for someone to pretend to be you or to target you.

If you’re concerned about privacy, you should get this information taken down. This is particularly important if you want to avoid being stalked or harassed.

Where Do These Websites Get Their Data?

Although these sites may be annoying and intrusive, they are not illegal. Even though you didn’t give your information to the sites personally, they gather information already publicly available.

Often, these sites source data from public government databases. These include the electoral roll, census records, criminal conviction databases, marriage certificate records, land use records, and more.

Another source of information that many sites use is your social media profiles. If you have publicly accessible personal information available on your Facebook, LinkedIn, or X account, it will likely end up on a directory site. It’s a good idea to consider whether you share too much information online.

How to Remove Personal Information From Public Records on the Internet

It used to be that listing websites would make it very difficult for you to remove your data. Often, they would create additional steps meant to deter you, like printing and posting a paper form or even requiring you to send a fax.

But now, thanks in part to the EU’s GDPR, the sites must give you a reasonable way to remove your details. Even if you live outside the EU, a website must allow you to remove information if it operates within Europe. Furthermore, removing your personal data from these websites is free. Third-party websites may offer to remove your public information from the internet for a fee, but most major websites will have an official request method that shouldn’t cost you a dime.

Below are three ways to remove your information from public online records.

1. Delete Your Social Media Footprints

Facebook and X would be what you’re probably going to focus on the most here. Luckily, Facebook has a feature where you can even delete your old posts in bulk. You can do this from any computer.

  1. Log into your Facebook account and click on your name to go to your profile.
  2. Click on Manage posts, which is right under where you create a new post.
  3. Use the Filter to sort your posts depending on your preferences.
  4. Select the checkbox located on each post to mark it for bulk deletion.
  5. Click on Next.
  6. On the next page, select the Delete posts radiobox and hit Done.

All of your selected posts will be deleted in a few seconds.

X, in contrast to Facebook, doesn’t offer any feature of their own to bulk delete old tweets. You can use third-party tools like TweetDelete and Tweet Deleter, which offer free plans (which have their limitations, of course).

Now, follow a similar approach for your Instagram. Head to your account’s settings and delete your unwanted or old posts in bulk. Here’s how:

  1. Login into your account and click on the More (three lines) from the bottom left.
  2. From there, select Your Activity.
  3. Click on Photos and videos.
  4. Depending on what you want to delete, select Posts, Reels or Highlights.
  5. Click Select to select posts and then select all the posts you’d like to delete
  6. Finally, click on Delete.

You will be asked for confirmation after the last step. Click on Delete and that’s it—posts will be instantly deleted from Instagram.

2. Delete Old Emails and Email Accounts

The old emails in your account that aren’t useful anymore contain lots of sensitive information that can be used against you. To protect yourself, you should delete old emails that you haven’t interacted with for years.

But what if you suddenly need them again in the future? If you are concerned that you might, just download the emails to your hard drive. That will be much safer than cloud servers, anyway.

If you can afford to pay for an encrypted email service, consider doing so. ProtonMail and Tutanota are great options to get started with.

3. Ask Data Brokers to Delete Your Records

Online data brokers are companies that collect your personal information, including where you live, your gender, and your date of birth. They sometimes also have more intimate details, like information about your partner, the number of kids you have, and more.

This database about you helps them build a more realistic profile about you for marketing and advertising purposes, which they eventually sell to other companies.

Fortunately, you can get your data removed from such websites. All you have to do is email them. Here are some of the most popular data collection websites:

Most of the popular brokers remove all or parts of your information simply if you ask them to. But a word of warning: sometimes, online data brokers will ask for more of your details in the removal form. You should only ever give the details that the site already has; never give any new information.

You can also hire online content or data removal services if you’re short on time. For a service fee, they’ll do the cleaning up for you.

4. Delete Your Data From Google Search

Another big step in removing your personal data from public records is managing the Google search results for you. While Google gives a fast search experience, it is no secret that it’s also riddled with many possible privacy issues. Showing your unauthorized private information on its products—particularly Google Search—is one of them.

Luckily, you can get it removed relatively easily. For example, if old photos or other content comes up when you look yourself up in a search, you can easily get it deleted through Google Support.

You can also request Google to remove your bank account number, government ID, signatures, and so on, should it come up in searches for you. Again, just head to the Google Support page, and click on Start removal request. From the new page, follow the steps below:

  1. Select the reason for removing the content, enter your country of residence, and click on Next.
  2. Pick the type of personal information you’d like to remove (address, government ID, images of signature, etc.), fill in any other relevant information if asked, and click on Next.
  3. Enter some more details like your email address, image/content URL, screenshots, etc.
  4. Select the confirmation checkbox and click on Next.

That’s it. Your request will be submitted, and you will instantly get confirmation on your Google email. Google will carry out its investigation and remove any malicious content on URLs covered under its policy. If not, you’ll get a brief explanation in your email with the reason.

Google has eased the removal process for outdated or unwanted content. But it’s not enough. In the long term, switching to more privacy-oriented alternatives of Google will serve your privacy interests best.

Remove Your Personal Data and Stay Safe

Directory sites, background check sites, and address listing sites are all common. They can list information about you without your permission. All the modern search engine companies also store heaps of information about you.

By using the tricks listed in this article, you can easily remove your information from public records. That way, you’ll stop your data from falling into the hands of malicious groups or people.

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