As you browse the internet, creating accounts, shopping, and talking to your network on social media, you are creating a digital footprint. And that digital footprint can hold a lot of your information. In fact, it might hold more information than you might think! If that makes you uneasy, there are steps you can take to delete your digital footprint, and we’ve outlined some of the steps for you below.
First, Figure Out Where Your Personal Information Can Be Found Easily
One of the first steps you need to take to remove your digital footprint is to find out where your personal information is easy to find online. Did you know, for example, that there are a lot of people search sites that serve as databases of personal details like contact information, lists of relatives, and background checks? It’s true! Check out Whitepages as a prime example. Is your information on there? Then you’ll want to opt out of Whitepages to remove that footprint.
But Whitepages isn’t the only people search site. Another good example is Spokeo, which is used by a lot of people to find details about others. Thankfully, the Spokeo opt out instructions aren’t hard to follow.
And the same is true of FastPeopleSearch. Once again, check if your information is on there, and then just follow the FastPeopleSearch removal instructions provided by the website to quickly and easily have your details taken down.
Delete Old Accounts and Email Addresses
Over the years, you have likely opened more accounts online than you might even remember. So, go through your emails to see which accounts you’ve opened, and then go to each one to figure out how you can totally deactivate and delete it. Once you have done that, you can go ahead and delete all of the email addresses that you have created. These steps will further help you delete your digital footprint, making it harder for people to find you online.
Deactivate Your Social Media Accounts
In order to delete your digital footprint, it isn’t enough to just deactivate email addresses and various accounts that you’ve created on websites like online shops and news sites. Instead, you have to take yet another step to delete your social media accounts. After all, they can host a lot of private information about you, and if they are easy to find by anyone because they aren’t totally private, your digital footprint will remain if you keep them active.
Consider every social media platform that you’ve signed up for over time. You might have totally forgotten about Myspace, as an example, but you’ll want to go back and see if that account is still active. If it is, follow the instructions to delete it. It’s as simple as that!
Need to Keep Some Accounts Open? Make Them Private!
Finally, if there are certain online accounts that you will need to keep open, such as an online account with your bank, just make sure it is totally private. Check the settings to ensure none of your personal information is shared with third parties. And if you keep one email account open, be cautious about where you share that email address so you can limit how many people will have access to it.
It can take a bit of time and effort, but deleting your digital footprint can help you feel better if you’re concerned about your privacy.