Remove yourself from scary people finder sites

Your smartphone’s built-in GPS is handy for plotting directions. It’s also great for finding nearby restaurants and other attractions. The flip side is that you can be tracked through your phone.

There are settings to limit or stop location tracking, but finding them isn’t always easy. You can opt out of targeted ads. Tap or click here for eight ways to stop your iPhone or Android phone from tracking you.

Opt-out Tuesday is our new series in which we show you how to opt out, step-by-step, from people-searching sites. These sites advertise their services as helping you find friends or relatives, but anyone can use them to find out more about you. Keep reading to take back some of your privacy.

People Search Sites are Good for Scammers and Hackers

People search sites collect and sell personal information. This may include your name, address, date of birth, gender, marital status, family members, social media profiles, education level, property records, financial records, number phone number, criminal record, employment information, etc.

RELATED: How to remove your address and phone number from Google search results

The sites pull this information from local, state, and federal public records, court records, social media, forums, and other sources. They can also buy information from data brokers.

Anyone can use people search services to find information about others. A jealous ex may know where you live. A scammer can use the information for extortion. The more someone knows about you, the more damage they can do.

How is it legal? Data brokers are loosely regulated at best, and there are no laws preventing them from collecting and selling publicly available information.

Many sites have a process for deleting your recordings, although it’s not always straightforward. You may need to repeat the process if your recordings appear under different names (due to a name change or a typo). You may also need to repeat the process several times before your information no longer appears in searches.

Avoid people search sites at all costs, especially if it costs you

Never pay for a people search service. Many of these sites are fraudulent in nature. You may think you’re paying for a report and find you’ve been hit with recurring charges.

Don’t pay to have your information removed from any site. This process should be provided free of charge.

Be careful what links you click on. These are often advertisements that take you to another site that asks for payment. We will provide specific links to remove you from these sites with each Opt-out Tuesday report.

Opt out of BeenVerified

BeenVerified allows users to search ownership records. You will want to withdraw.

Here’s how to delete your data from BeenVerified:

  • Go to https://www.beenverified.com/app/optout/search.
  • Enter your first and last name and select your state from the drop-down menu. Then press the Look for button.
  • Select the correct match from the search results and click Unsubscribe.
  • Enter your email address and click Send verification email.
  • Open the email and click on the link on the inside. This will take you to a confirmation page.
  • Expect it to take several days to several weeks before your information disappears.

You can now delete your business data:

  • Go to https://www.beenverified.com/app/optout/address-search.
  • Enter your address in the search field.
  • Click on Continue next to your corresponding result.
  • Check the box of the names you want to remove from the record, then click Owner.
  • Enter your email address and click Send verification email.
  • Open the email and click on the link inside. This will take you to a confirmation page.
  • Expect it to take several days to several weeks before your information disappears.

Tap or click here for our report on BeenVerified.

Opt out of PeopleFinders

PeopleFinders has been around for 20 years and is a popular people search site. You will definitely want to remove your information from it. Here’s how:

  • Go to peoplefinders.com and enter your name, city and state, then click Look for.
  • Find your profile and click See.
  • Copy the URL and go to peoplefinders.com/opt-out.
  • Enter the URL and your email address.
  • Complete the Captcha and click Send a request.
  • Click the verification link in the email and eventually your information will disappear from the site.

Tap or click here for more information on PeopleFinders.

Opt out of US research

US Search is one of the premier people search sites, having been around since 1993. Here’s how to opt out of this persistent privacy invader:

  • Go to ussearch.com/opt-out/submit.
  • Enter your first and last name, state of residence, and email address, then tap Continue.
  • Find yourself in the list of results and press Delete record.
  • You may need to scroll down and complete the verification process and select Check.
  • You will receive verification by email. Check the information and select confirm your email. You will be redirected to a page that tells you that you are confirmed.
  • Allow some time for your information to be deleted.

Tap or click here for our report on US Search.

You might also like: 8 ways Google constantly invades your privacy – and how to fix it