Can You Remove Your Personal Information From People-Finder Websites?

There are plenty of legitimate reasons why folks might use a people-search website like or Spokeo. Maybe you're organizing a 20-year high school reunion and want to find email addresses for lost classmates, or maybe you’re a creep and the reason you want that information is to stalk an ex by make harassing phone calls. For $10 or less, anyone with a credit card can log in to one of hundreds of people-search websites and download a detailed background report on just about anybody in the country. Those reports include phone numbers, email addresses, home addresses, the names of spouses and relatives, criminal records, and other public records like marriage records and bankruptcies. What if you don’t want that information out there? Is there a way to delete your information? The short answer is “sort of.” What's most frustrating to privacy advocates is that there's no federal law or single online form you can fill out to delete your information from people-search websites. Instead, the only surefire way to opt out of people-search websites is to contact each one, website by website. While none of them have to let you opt out, most do so as a courtesy. Public service privacy advocate Grauer maintains an online document called the Big Ass Data Broker Opt-Out List, which is a continuously updated list of every major people-search website and their process for deleting your information. It’s likely you’re saying, “Can’t someone else do this for me?” The answer is yes. There are plenty of services that say they will scrub your personal information from the internet, but in Grauer's experience they're not all created equal. Grauer personally recommends Kanary and DeleteMe, which offer subscription packages that continuously monitor and delete your data. The cost is roughly $90 to $130 per year for an individual.