Public Records

Anyone who has been on the internet or even just alive for at least 20 years likely has publicly accessible online records about themselves. This is something that consumers don’t necessarily opt-in for but is the byproduct of having a digital life. 

Social media can be a confusing tool to effectively utilize while also maintaining some privacy in certain aspects of your life. If you have public social media accounts, now is the time to search through those and proactively remove any information that could be used against you including photos of your home, car, license plate, driver’s license, etc. 

Now is also the time to go into each social media account’s Privacy Settings and verify those are set to the least amount of public sharing you feel comfortable with. 

It is nearly impossible to remove yourself completely from public records. Below is a list of sites that you could visit that, while somewhat time consuming, could significantly limit the number of public records available about you online. You can visit each of these sites and follow their instructions to opt-out of having your information publicly listed. This is also something you will want to do on a periodic basis as some of these sites do not allow you to opt-out forever. 

There is also the option to pay for a service to do this for you. For example, for about $250 USD annually, DeleteMe will search through all of the links above (about 30 databases in total) and repeat this search and removal process every 90 days. You can also check out Reputation Defender

We are not endorsing these services, but they may save you time and be more thorough with the alternative being you manually going in link by link and refreshing this activity 3-4 times per year. 

The goal here is not to completely remove your records from all sources as that would be quite impossible - public records cannot be completely removed. Rather, it is meant to provide you with additional layers of privacy so that if a search were to be done on you, your information would not be as accessible as it was before. For example, it may take someone a dozen or so Google pages before they can locate you or your correct address. 

Fun Fact: If you have a common name, you’re in luck as there may be hundreds of listings that are not you within search results. Blending in and not sticking out plays as a security strength in the real world.

(This guide is part of a series on Personal Security.)