As you surf the web and social media, companies and data brokers are building a robust online profile. They use everything from the ads you click on to the topics you spend the most time browsing to hit you with related ads.
It may feel creepy or annoying sometimes, but it can be worse. You could get hit with ads that offend or upset you. A recovering alcoholic, for example, should not get ads for alcohol. Google lets you opt out of certain topics so you won’t see them in places like YouTube and Gmail. Tap or click here for steps to shut down ads you don’t want to see.
Another way to stop all the tracking is to delete as much of your private info from the web as possible. That starts with data-hungry people search sites. For this week’s Opt-Out Tuesday entry, we’ll show you how to remove yourself from ZabaSearch.
Avoid people search sites at all costs, especially if it costs you
First, a warning. Be very cautious about paying for any people search service, even if you’re seeking info on someone else. Many of these sites are scammy in nature. You may think you’re paying for one report and later find that you’ve been roped into recurring charges.
Don’t pay to remove your information from any site, either. This process must be provided for free.
Finally, be very careful which links you click on these sites. They are often filled with ads that lead you to another site that requests payment. We’ll provide accurate links to remove yourself from these sites with each Opt-out Tuesday report. If a button or link redirects you to another site, your best bet is to close out and start again.
Your information is out there for anyone to see
People search sites collect and sell personal information including your name, address, birthday, gender, marital status, family members, social media profiles, education level, property records, financial records, phone number, police record and employment information.
These sites scrape this information from local, state and federal public records, court records, social media, forums and other sources. They also buy information from data brokers. Yes, this is all legal.
Though these sites advertise their services as a good way to locate friends and relatives, there’s no stopping bad actors from accessing the information. That’s why it’s really in your best interest to remove your data from as many of these sites as possible.
Get out of there
ZabaSearch is powered by Intelius, which has its own people search site and owns others such as US Search.
People search sites typically offer you a way to opt out and remove your data, though it’s not always a simple process. ZabaSearch links you to an opt-out page via Intelius.
Intelius makes it fairly easy to opt out:
- Go to intelius.com/opt-out/submit.
- Enter your first and last name, state of residence and email and select Continue.
- Find your name on the next page and select Remove This Record.
- You’ll be sent to a page informing you that an email confirmation was sent out.
- Open the message in your inbox and scan the information before hitting the Confirm Email button.
- You’ll be taken to a final confirmation page.
- Your information will be removed from the Intelius database within seven days. Check back after a week and if it’s still there, repeat the process.
- If you need help, contact customer support at 888-245-1655 or send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org.