Are you fed up with hearing of data breaches in accounts, identity theft and bank accounts fraud? Nearly daily, we hear of such events, and it shows that if large businesses are vulnerable, how much at risk are regular individuals?
Cybercrime is big business, yet there are more threats out there than a lone group of hackers.
Most of us need to contend with websites which track our every move and bombard us with personalized ads.
- How Do I Clear My Online Presence?
- See What You Can Find
- Clear Out What You Can
- Lock Down Your Social Media
- Is It Possible to Delete Your Digital Footprint?
- Delete Your Online Accounts
- Take Control of Broker Sites
- Get Rid of Email Accounts
- How Can I Remove My Personal Information from Google?
- How can I Hide My Personal Information Online?
Suppose you’re like the millions who spend a large proportion of their life online. There are chances you share a small portion of personal information on social media, with accounts on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, and countless others. (Learn How to Delete Twitter Account Permanently)
Perhaps you have done things you were not proud of, and now want to delete your data, or you want to clear away all the information you have posted previously.
Here you can find out, can you delete yourself from the internet, or at the very least. Take back some online privacy and remove my personal information from the internet.
How Do I Clear My Online Presence?
On your first steps to delete me from the internet, you do need to do some groundwork in the beginning. You may be shocked when you find out how much stuff is out there.
Here is a quick 3 step plan you can follow to make sure you know where to look to delete your rights reserved data.
See What You Can Find
One first step is to search for yourself in the top search engines. Google, Bing and Yahoo the most common. Placing your name in quotation marks helps narrow down search results that should be more specific.
It is possible to do Google image searches before you begin checking all the social media sites or areas you may post information. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, or any others you use. (Learn How to Delete Reddit Account)
Search inside these and then search for yourself inside these platforms, and then check search results on Google while being platform-specific. For instance, for FB use “your name’ site:Facebook.com”
Clear Out What You Can
It is easy to delete your things on social media, yet it gets a bit trickier when you bring other people into the equation.
Ask friends who posted about you if they can remove comments and pictures.
If they don’t delete any pictures, you can untag yourself. Doing this means that picture won’t show in a name search for you.
If you know, there are any articles, blog posts or other areas where you may have a mention about something that doesn’t set the best example. You can ask the publisher to remove it.
Go through your contact lists and start to unfriend people who you haven’t been in touch with, or who don’t post the most flattering comments. (Learn How To Delete An Instagram Post)
Lock Down Your Social Media
You may not remove everything you want, yet you can narrow down who can see it. Change your privacy settings and also limit what others can post. You can stop others tagging you in pictures that will be shown in public.
Is It Possible to Delete Your Digital Footprint?
It isn’t possible to delete yourself totally from the internet; it isn’t likely to erase yourself. You will find many courts and government agencies are way ahead of anyone and have been posting public records from the mid-90s.
Anything to do with vehicles, voting, professional designations or court files are all there and available for anyone to see. It is possible to clear up a fair amount of online data, and thus reducing your digital footprint. The main ways to get going in this department are here.
Delete Your Online Accounts
You may have more online accounts than you think. You can sign up for no end of things without giving them a second thought.
Sites like Netflix, Amazon, Twitter, Facebook and Google all keep track of you every time we use them. You want to delete accounts you don’t use, or even delete the ones you want to limit exposure makes all the difference. (Learn How to Delete Amazon Account)
Take Control of Broker Sites
You may not have heard of data brokers, yet these can contain information anyone can get hold off. Your phone number, address, any criminal record is all accessible and takes a few minutes to obtain this information.
Data brokers may charge a fee to hand over the information, yet these data brokers or people-search sites in some instance do have data for free.
You can find companies like Intelius and Spokeo who harvest information from public records. Some also aggregate data from primary brokers and add this to information gleaned from social networks or various other online sources.
One saving grace is such sites as this may only grab information from the United States. However, such broker sites exist everywhere, and they can get your address and phone number regardless of where you live.
Get Rid of Email Accounts
For many, getting rid of your email account can be a step too far. One reason being you still need email for many things, such as your online banking.
If you can’t get rid of your email address, you can change to a secure one, and that would mean stopping your Gmail account. It is easy to close, and you can download old data.
Log in and head to the “Account Preferences” then “Delete Products” – Gmail.
Follow any instructions, and hit “Delete Gmail” to confirm.
Yahoo is still popular, and to close this login and head to “Terminating your Yahoo account” page.
Read the info under “Before continuing, please consider the following information.” Confirm your password, and then click “Terminate this Account.”
Gmail alternatives such as Proton Mail are highly secure and won’t pass on your data.
How Can I Remove My Personal Information from Google?
Here is all you need to remove yourself from Google, clear yourself from Google search history and stop them tracking you in future. (Learn How to Delete Google Searches)
Clear Android Browsing Data
- On tablet or smartphone, open Chrome browser
- In the top right, tap ‘More History.’ If the address bar sits at the bottom, swipe upward
- Tap ‘Clear Browsing Data’
- Next on the ‘Time Range’ select how far back you wish to clear browser history
- Tap on ‘Clear Data.’
Clear Desktop Search Results
- Click ‘Control your data in Google Search.’ (Found underneath Google Search, I’m Feeling Lucky Buttons)
- My search history page displays your browsing history.
- Here, you can clear search and history for any Google service search data, or a complete day web and app activity by selecting clear browsing data for these periods.
Delete Google Activity
If you delete activity, it deletes information about searches, video searches, and any ads you have clicked.
- Navigate to Google, My Activity page. (Click three dots)
- Select ‘Delete activity by.’
- Change the date from today to ‘All time.’ Then select the listed Google services from the drop-down menu.
- Click ‘Delete.’
- The page reminds you of how Google uses personal data to make things more accessible.
- Select ‘OK’
- Google asks again, ask if you are sure. Select ‘Delete.’
- The last screen shows ‘No Activity.’
Stop Google from Tracking Me
After you clear your Google history, you need to stop them from tracking you again.
- Google won’t let you disable tracking forever, yet you can it is possible to pause the recording of activities.
- Here’s how you can pause the recording function.
- Head to the app Activity Controls page. You will see a section called ‘Web & App Activity.’
- Slide the switch left
- Google asks if you wish to ‘Pause’ web & app activity.
- Select ‘Pause’
- Make sure the activity is paused. If so, the toggle will be greyed out, and it states they have halted everything.
- You can ‘Pause’ Google from logging online activity in your account on their apps or services. Toggle each switch to the left to pause.
How can I Hide My Personal Information Online?
While you can delete your account on social media, and close all your accounts you think are excess, there are certain things you can’t get away from.
However, one of the best things you can do is prevent your activity being linked to any account you have. The best way you can do this is by using a VPN service. (Read the Best VPN)
Such services are so effective; they can stop your ISP from keeping tabs on your online activities. With military-grade encryption, you can mask your IP address, and as you go about your activities, you appear to be invisible.
If you sign up for any other accounts on social media, or for any other service, you will leave a trail. Yet, for most of the other times, you won’t be building up a portfolio of online activity for anyone to see and use.