The amount of information about ourselves that's collected and stored online is truly frightening, but the harsh truth of it is that much of it is self-inflicted. We give our email and social media accounts our full names, we mention places we go to, we enter our postcode and phone numbers when requested, and we do much more in addition to that as well. All this adds up to make a very full picture of our lives. When I realized this, I began to panic. But there are some great ways of getting rid of all this information. Here are 8 handy tips to help you remove your identity from the internet:
1. Social Networks
Social media accounts can contain an awful lot of information about yourself that you have volunteered in the past. Some of it you will even have forgotten, or may regret. Luckily, we can erase our accounts' histories by deactivating them. Once we do this, the information will be unobtainable. Though, many social networks will allow you to retrieve your account later on if you change your mind (usually this is a cooling-down period that last approximately 14 days).
2. Can you remember where you have been online?
Have a think about any sites you may have registered with during your years surfing the internet. If you can log back into these you will also be able to delete your profiles. If you have forgotten the old passwords, there will be a way to gain access by providing your email address. Otherwise have a look through your inbox to find log-in details you've long forgotten.
3. Give false information
Some sites will not offer you that chance to delete your account, and so this is where you will need to get creative. Make an online cloak for yourself by changing your profile name, address etc. Give completely false info, so no one will ever know it is you. This is almost as good as erasing the account.
4. Free your inbox of spam
Receiving lots of spam emails is a sure sign that your information has been bandied about a little too much. Check your inbox for emails that show advertising and links to news webpages. Find the unsubscribe option and happily select it.
5. Banish your name from search engines
Choose a search engine, like Google, and put your name into it. If the search brings up true details about you, you may decide that this displeases you. To get rid of it, read information about how to do so here.
6. Get in touch with webmasters
If a website does not offer the chance for you to delete information about yourself, search for the webmaster of the site and write your request into the contact box provided.
7. Tell these places to forget your information
Contact the customer service department at these American websites. If you have ever entered your details online before, they are sure to appear here. Fortunately, you can request that they delete the information they have about you.
8. The last thing you can do...
As an absolute last resort, when you are sure you will not be needing the site's customer support service, you can delete your actual email account. From now on it'll be like you never existed at all.