How to Stop People From Searching for You Online

By Rachel Levy Sarfin

The U.S. Constitution contains several safeguards to protect citizens’ privacy, such as the right to privacy of religious beliefs, defense against unreasonable search and seizure and the right not to incriminate yourself. However, the Founding Fathers most likely never imagined people would willingly share public information on a forum such as the Internet. No constitutional safeguards exist to keep your personal information safe online, but you can take certain steps to prevent people from searching for you.

Step 1

Learn how much of your personal information can be found online. Conduct a Google search for your name, and see what turns up. This will give you an idea of how much information about you is available.

Step 2

Track down the sources of your personal information. The two biggest players in the personal record sales game are Intelius and Axicom. They sell your personal records to a number of other people-finder websites.

Step 3

Remove your personal information from Intelius and Axicom. Intelius requires you to fax a copy of a state- or government-issued identification to the company. Axicom will send you a form to sign in order to opt out of appearing in its online directories.

Step 4

Request that Google stop displaying your address and phone number. Google makes it easy to remove this type of personal information. You only need to fill out a simple form. However, just because your address and phone number will no longer appear in Google’s reverse phone book does not mean other sites will stop providing this information.

Step 5

Change your profile settings on social networking sites. If you use Facebook, LinkedIn or MySpace, your profile might be appearing in search engine query results. Your account settings hold the key to maintaining your privacy. Take advantage of the setting that hides your profile from online searches.

Step 6

Exercise common sense. If you do not want your personal information appearing online, do not voluntarily share it. Congress has yet to legislate that everyone must have a social networking site profile. Until then, do not create one, or take down your blog or your Twitter, Facebook, MySpace or LinkedIn profile, or whatever other online presence you have.