This goal of this guide is to provide you the basics on data removal you can do yourself for free. I will cover using our opt-out lists along with some advice on the best ways to attack some common issues that people face when going through this process. I will be referencing several parts of this site and others that get updated frequently, so be sure to reference back for any updates.
Rules for Data Removal
- Do not use your personal or main e-mail, phone number or address unless specifically requested
- Do not opt-out or preform a data removal request if your data is not on the brokers website
- Provide the bare-minimum amount of information required, nothing more
Preparation - Tools you will need
Redacted Drivers License - A license is sometimes required for verification of your identity. Never ever send an unredacted license unless absolutely necessary.
Throw-Away E-mail Address - A throw away or burner e-mail address to complete the data removal process. This can be something as simple as a new GMail account or use a re-director to and existing address such as 33Mail.
Opt-Out Forms - These forms provide a basic template for most opt-out or data removal requests.
Data Removal Procedure:
Verify your data on any site on the Opt-Out List BEFORE you preform the data removal . (Don't skip this step)
Use your Personal Data Worksheet and do a few searches for combinations of your name, alias, addresses and phone numbers. The main reason this is important is that you will have to submit a request for each record found on the data brokers website. Make notes or print the information for each record you want removed so you can make a separate request for each record.
Different Data Removal Methods:
These are the easiest to request your data to be removed.
All you have to do is click on the link and fill out the form.
Be sure you use your throw-away e-mail address.
E-mail the Basic Opt-Out Form or which ever form meets your situation to the listed e-mail address. Make sure you put "Data Removal Request" or "Opt-Out Request" as the subject.
Mail in Request:
Print out the Basic Opt-Out Form and use standard 1st class US Postal Mail to the listed mailing address.
Step Three - Follow up:
This is an extremely important step. Most sites take between 7 to 30 days to remove your data but the process doesn't always happen the first time.
Persistence is key for data removal.
Keep following up and being persistent to sites that won't remove your data. Use the information you gathered to follow up after 14-30 days for each site.