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I recently wrote about FamilyTreeNow, an online people search site that bills itself as a family history site. In that article, I explained how easy it is for people to find detailed, personal information about you and your family members, such as ages, birth dates, past and current addresses, and phone numbers.

There are many such sites on the Internet that provide this kind of information. Many of them charge a fee, although FamilyTreeNow is free. Untrustworthy people may use this information for identity theft, fraud, stalking, or harassment.

This article explains how you can opt out of these sites to make it harder for people to find detailed information about you.

General Tips

  1. Play hard to get with your information. Most companies don’t need as much information as they ask for to process your request.
  2. Use a P. O. Box instead of a home address when possible.
  3. Keep your IP address private by using private browsing on your computer or smartphone.
  4. Consider an identity theft prevention program that monitors databases, such as credit bureaus, criminal registries, bank accounts, sex offender registries, etc.

Google Yourself

Google yourself to see what information comes up. Look at the first 5-10 pages of search results and see who has your name. Then set up a Google Alert for your first and last name to get notified when your name is posted on the internet.

Opt Out of Information Databases

Your information will probably be on sites such as WhitepagesSpokeo, Persopo, and Intelius. If you want to spend the time to opt out of information databases, refer to the Opt Out List at to learn what kinds of information data brokers have about you and how to exercise your opt-out choices. Many sites offer a way to opt out, but be careful because sometimes the opt-out process is just a scam to gather even more information about you. If the site requires you to verify your identity before opting out by giving more information about yourself, don’t do it.

Social Media Accounts

Having a social-media account is, more or less, ensuring your active participation in letting the Internet learn more about you. Facebook, in particular, knows a lot about you and is very good at tracking what you do across the rest of the Web. (Yes, even when you’re not actively using Facebook.)

Using Social Media Credentials

Many companies let you sign up for their services using your Facebook or Google account. That makes it easy for you to sign in, but it also increases the web of information available online, linking your profile to more places.


Take a look at the permissions you have given each of the apps on your phone or apps linked to your social media accounts. Most apps ask for way too much information. Don’t give apps unrestricted access to personal information or to your list of friends. When you no longer need an app, delete it.

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