Your personal data is worth a lot of money to certain people. Data brokers know this and collect information on everyone using the internet.
The data industry is worth billions.
It doesn’t matter how careful you have been, the first time you logged onto any internet site, data brokers would have started collecting your information.
It’s estimated that the biggest corporations on the web, such as Google, can have as many as 1.5 million Word documents about every person on the internet!
Some people are happy for everyone to see their data, releasing plenty of personal information with every social media post.
Others try to keep their details secret, but it’s harder than you think.
If you’re concerned about what others can see about you, it’s time to learn how to remove yourself from the internet for free in 2023.
Data That Could Be Held About You
You may be surprised by the amount of personal data that can be found online. Your name is entered into almost every account you make.
Alongside this, you will often add address details and your date of birth.
Of course, data brokers also know your income, your house value, when you purchased it, your financial status, and even, your hobbies and pastimes.
In fact, there is little they don’t know about you.
Data is collected using bots and algorithms to search the internet and extract freely available information.
Small amounts of data in various locations add up to a large file, detailing everything about you.
The Danger Of Too Much Personal Data
You may not be concerned regarding what people know about you. However, you should be.
The more information a data broker possesses the easier it is for cybercriminals to target you.
They are likely to send emails with malware or links to fake sites, (phishing), to obtain your passwords.
They may even have enough information to guess your password.
Once they have a password they can access your finances and cause chaos for you.
In addition, they may steal your identity and borrow funds on your behalf.
It’s even possible for criminals to obtain your physical address from your online behavior.
As they will know your movements they will be able to target your house or you.
Erasing your personal data also helps you maintain privacy and balance in your life.
There is no reason for everyone to know everything about you.
In short, to keep yourself safe online and in the physical world, you need to remove your personal data from the web.
How to Remove Yourself From the Internet for Free in 2023: Simple Solutions
The longer you have been using the internet the more complicated and time-consuming it will be to remove yourself completely from the internet.
1. Check Your Accounts
The first thing to consider is what accounts you have online and do you still need/use them.
It doesn’t matter if you’re talking about a social media account or a loyalty account, make a list of all the accounts you have.
Naturally, there will be some old and forgotten accounts, they will be harder to trace.
All personal accounts can be deleted. The exact process will depend on the account.
In most cases you will need to go into the settings menu and find your ownership and control option.
This will allow you to deactivate your account or delete it.
In some cases, the delete option is under settings and account actions.
Deleting social media accounts is essential as the first step. These are the biggest sources of information for data brokers.
If you want to remove yourself from the web you’ll need to delete all social media accounts, along with any other online account you have, such as Skype or Tinder.
If you have old accounts that you’ve forgotten about, the best approach is to put your own name into Google and search.
This is the perfect way to find any remaining information that Google and the data brokers have about you.
2. Check Websites & Forums
Once you have deleted your social media accounts you’ll need to think about all the websites you have interacted with.
That means any site where you have created an account and posted comments.
The first step is to identify these. You can then close any sites that you have owned and delete any forum accountsµ.
You’ll need to check that all messages have been deleted. Some forums will remove the message and your account details when you delete your account.
Others won’t, you’ll need to edit each message you’ve posted. Remove the text and leave a full stop in the comment.
All the steps so far are important if you want to remove yourself from the internet. However, much of your information will already be recorded by data brokers.
Removing and closing accounts won’t delete the data the brokers have.
You’ll need to contact the data broker and ask them to delete your data.
This request can be done online or in writing, you’ll need to check the process with each data broker.
Unfortunately, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of data brokers.
Contacting each one will take time. It’s been estimated it could cost you over 300 hours.
A simpler solution is to use a third-party data-removing service.
3. Use Incogni
They will effectively help you remove all data and they make the process surprisingly simple.
The first step is to create an account. To do this you’ll need to:
- Visit the Incogni website
- Choose the sign-up option
- Enter your email address and create a password
- Wait for an email to arrive in your inbox and verify the email address with the link inside the email
- Input your name and address into Incogni
- Complete the authorisation form – this allows Incogni to contact data brokers on your behalf
- Select your subscription option
There are two subscription options. You can choose to pay annually, the cost is $77, approximately $6 a month.
Or, you can pay monthly. That will cost you just over $12 a month.
If you opt for the monthly option then there is no contract, you can cancel at any time.
Once you’ve completed your payment, Incogni will start searching for data brokers using your profile information.
They will send each data broker a request for them to delete your information.
You can access the Incogni dashboard at any time. It will show you the amount of data deletion requests sent, how many have been completed and how many are in progress.
It will also show you the number of requests that need further information.
It’s common for you to be emailed directly by the data broker asking you to verify information.
You need to reply to these to complete the deletion request.
There is also a detailed view. This allows you to see information about the data brokers contacted and any responses received.
The process is simple but the best part of the service is the future monitoring and resending requests.
Data brokers must remove your data from their system when you ask them to.
However, there is nothing that says they can’t reupload the data in a month or two. Many data brokers do.
Incogni will monitor and resend the deletion request when necessary. You don’t need to do anything, provided you are still subscribed to their service.
This is my favorite part of the process and one of the reasons Incogni is the best on the market.
I didn’t need to do anything but my deleted data remained deleted.
In addition, I was impressed when a data broker failed to remove my details.
I still didn’t need to do anything, Incogni contacted the local data protection authorities and got the issue resolved.
Incogni will also block spam emails from getting to you and detect any phishing emails.
They are then stored separately and you’re advised about the issue.
The customer support offered by Incogni is first-class.
They are easy to contact via live chat or email and can be contacted at almost any time of the day or night.
This data-removal service is currently offered in the US, UK, and Europe.
I highly recommend using Incogni.
However, if you have any doubts you can start using their services and cancel within 30 days and claim a full refund under the 30-day money-back guarantee.
It’s unlikely you’ll want to.
4. Delete Email Accounts
You can’t do this until everything else is done because you’ll need an email address to complete the data removal processes.
However, if you really want to remove all your data from the internet, your final stage will be to delete your email accounts.
In most cases it’s as simple as logging into your account and choosing the delete account option in the settings.
You’ll be asked to confirm the action.
You should note it can take up to six months for the information to disappear from the web.
You’ll need to periodically put your name into the search engines to verify that your data has been removed.
Tips To Reduce Data Collected In The Future
The easiest way to remove yourself from the internet is to close all online accounts and allow Incogni to do its job.
Unfortunately, the truth is that most people are reliant on the internet. It’s simply part of everyday life.
The good news is that you don’t have to give it up to stay safe online.
There are several other things you can do to protect your online data.
1. Use Fake Data
When creating an online account, before you complete the required information, ask yourself why the business needs this information.
In many cases you don’t need to give your real information.
Instead, create a fake name, date of birth and even address. Data brokers won’t be able to use the information successfully.
Naturally, some accounts need the real information. These are usually banks and other financial institutions.
Before you give them the information, verify why they need it and what they do with the provided data. It should be securely looked after.
2. Limit Social Media
Social media accounts can generally be created with fake information, lowering the risk of data brokers getting your personal data.
Of course, to help you stay below the radar it’s advisable to minimize your use of social media accounts.
In particular, avoid biometrics. These are increasingly popular with corporations and represent a massive threat to your personal privacy.
3. Choose The Right Browser
Most people use Google Chrome or something similar to browse the web. It’s often because it is preloaded and easy to use.
However, it is not the best option if you are trying to protect your personal data.
Google is known to collect and collate as much data as possible. You should try a browser more focused on privacy. For example, Brave or DuckDuckGo.
4. Add A VPN
A VPN is easy to add to your devices and will make it much more difficult for anyone to spy on your data.
The best VPNs can be used with multiple devices, in any location, and they will automatically block third-party trackers.
The answer to finding ways to removing personal information from internet is to do it by deleting accounts and using Incogni to remove personal data held.
It’s not the fastest process as data brokers don’t want to give up your information.
The process is worthwhile and, using a third-party means you can concentrate on other matters, while they handle the data removal for you.
However, for it to be successful you need to adopt good practices moving forward.
There is no reason for everyone to know everything about you. Consider carefully before creating an online account.
If you are not concerned about what personal data is held, you should be.
The information can be used against you.
That makes creating an Incogni account worthwhile, you should try it today!