Do you ever wonder how your abuser knows about what is going on at your place of work, where you have moved, who you know, …? While social media is a major piece of how abusers find current information about victims, abusers also use online name searches through sites like google, Bing, and yahoo. These sites pull up information from search engines like people search, classmates.com, and public records. These programs search the internet for all of the information about you to create a public profile that they share. The collected data could include your home and work addresses, phone numbers, and links to other people.
The internet may seem overwhelming and uncontrollable, but there are things you can do to remove your information from public searches. The information below, from Komando.com - How to remove yourself from people search websites, will help remove your data from the main search engines. Removing yourself from searches will make it more difficult for your abuser to find current information about you, which could possibly increase their aggression and risk of harm to you. Please only remove yourself as part of your overall safety plan. If you don’t have a plan, contact MSCFV at 1-800-927-4673 to work with our case managers to develop your plan.
Intelius: This is one of the biggest data brokers on the web and owns a large chunk of people search sites like Classmates.com, iSearch, ZabaSearch, Peoplelookup, PublicRecords and many others. If you remove yourself from Intelius, you remove yourself from all of the sites it controls.
BeenVerified: This website is a major hub for people searches and probably contains a significant amount of information on you. This includes your full name, phone number and street address. To remove your information from BeenVerified completely, follow these steps:
On Facebook, adjust the following settings to restrict your profile:
1. Click here to open privacy and safety settings
2. Under the section Tweet privacy, check the box next to Protect my Tweets.
3. Tap Save near the page bottom. Enter your Twitter password to confirm the change.
One of the easiest ways of making sure your abuser can not access information about you online is to make sure it is not posted in the first place. Make sure to select firm privacy settings on whatever sites you use. Don’t click on links in emails that you do not know who specifically sent them. When given the option, like after making a purchase at an online shop, deny permissions for them to share your purchase information.
If you have other ideas on how to protect personal information, send them to firstname.lastname@example.org to be included in updated tip sheets for victims.
Other Resources: For more information about people searches and internet safety, check out: