People search websites are great for finding the personal information of almost anyone, but not so much if you don’t want to. yours information, including your addresses (past and present) and the names of your family members and known associates, accessible to all. Many of these services are free or cost very little to use, and they provide a very detailed picture of an individual without their knowledge or consent. Keeping your information out of them will take some work on your part.
Here’s how to protect yourself against Family Tree Now, Whitepages, Spokeo, and other popular search engines like them..
Family tree now
Removing your information from Family Tree Now is Fortunately fairly straightforward, provided they actually honor your requests for complete deletion of their database:
- Head to the opt-outside page and click on the “Start the unsubscribe procedure” button after proving that you are not a robot.
- Search yourself using your name and date of birth, then select your list of records from the results.
- Make sure it’s you and not someone with the same name, then click the big red “Unsubscribe” button at the top of the page.
It will take 48 hours for your information to be deleted, but that’s it. If you have multiple listings, repeat the process for each record.
Whitepages is one of the most popular people search engines, and also provides information for other aggregated search engines. As a result, the withdrawal process it’s a little more complicated:
- Go to the site and search for yourself. Copy and write down the URL of all your ads. They should look something like “http://www.whitepages.com/name/John-Doe/Seattle-WA/6u3wkef “.
- Go to blank pages opt-outside page.
- Paste the URL of your ad. Then click on “Deactivate”.
- Check the recording you want to delete and click the “Delete me” button. On the next screen, choose the reason for deletion from the drop-down menu.
- Then you will need to enter your phone number to receive via an automated confirmation call. Click “Call now to verify”, which will take you to a page with a confirmation code.
- Wait for the automated verification call, then follow the prompts. Keep in mind that some call blockers may prevent the call from going through or alert you to possible spam. You will need the confirmation code to complete your deletion request.
The above process will remove you from all free searches, but Whitepages Premium subscribers will still be able to search for you. To remove your data from Premium searches, you created a support ticket:
- In your search results, find the Premium record for the report you want to delete. This is the list with the blue “View Full Report” button next to it.
- Right-click (or CTRL + click) this button and select “Copy link address”.
- Head to the white pages support request page.
- Select “I need to edit or delete an ad” from the drop-down menu and complete the form. You will need to provide your first name, middle initial, last name, city, state, and listing URL.
The process will take approximately 72 hours. Like the other search engines on this list, removing your information from the White Pages does not remove it from the public records.
Spokeo’s people search engine aggregates publicly available information from third-party sources, so removing your ad there doesn’t necessarily remove your ad elsewhere. That said, it’s always worth opting out of Spokeo so that your information doesn’t linger. Here’s how to do it:
- Search for yourself using Speak and copy the URL of your ad.
- Head to the Opt.–exit page, then paste the URL into the first text box.
- Enter an email address in the other second text box. This is necessary so that they can send a confirmation link. (The same rules as above apply – any address that can receive a confirmation email will work here.)
- Click on “Remove this ad”.
Once you’ve confirmed the deletion via the email you provided, you’re good to go.
Take a look
PeekYou is designed for people looking to reconnect with old classmates or co-workers, but service can still be pretty scary in the wrong hands. Here’s how to turn off PeekYou searches:
- Search for yourself using Take a look. Save the unique identification number at the end of your ad URL. You don’t need the entire URL, just this number.
- Head to the PeekYou opt-outside form page and enter your information, including the unique identification number.
- Check both disclosure boxes, then click “Submit”.
You will receive a verification email, but your information should now be completely deleted. However, keep in mind that PeekYou may have multiple listings for you in their database. You will need to repeat the above process for each ad.
Instant Checkmate is a public records search and background check service that collects local, state, and federal data on individuals. The service is widely used, but unsubscribing is a snap:
- Head to the Checkmate Instant Deactivation Page.
- Search for your report using your name and location.
- Select the report and enter your email address. You will need to confirm your request by email and the deletion can take up to 48 hours.
Again, you can have multiple listings, and each will require a separate form. Make sure to check it out. You can also request to be picked up by post if you prefer.
Pay someone else to do it you
Other popular people search engines, like Pipl and Intelius, have similar opt-out options. You will need to contact the company and make a removal request to have all or part of your information removed from these search engines.
Of course, the only way to keep your information off of these sites is to delete sources, such as social media profiles, court documents, articles, and anything else that mentions your name. If you’re serious about privacy but don’t want to do the job yourself, you can handle this via a paid service like DeleteMe; it’s efficient, but it will cost you – the basic plan is around $ 130 per year, billed monthly. But if you don’t do the rubbing job your data on the Internet, it will be permanently searchable to some extent. But pay a monthly fee in perpetuity may not be an option for you, so make a dent by deleting your public search engine records first.
This story was originally posted in January 2017 and updated on March 4, 2021 to verify updated outdated links and processes and screenshots, and to add information about DeleteMe subscriptions.