Exempt yourself from online background checks

Remove your records from online background check services. Here's how!

Jul 28, 2011, 2:29 pm

Internet Culture

Kevin Morris 

Kevin Morris

In his Dot Dot Dot column yesterday, the Daily Dot’s founding editor Owen Thomas explored the potential pitfalls of trying to control your identity online.

Yet as some users of social news site Reddit have discovered, not all of your information online is quite so hard to control.

Take your information on background check websites, such as Intelius and Acxiom, for instance. These collect potentially sensitive data about you from publicly available records.

It’s easy to access these databases. All you need is to pay a small fee. This gives anyone — an ex, a coworker, a stranger —  access to information like your home address, arrest records, and even driving and vehicle registration records.

The good news? Unlike your reputation online, you can control the information on almost all these websites. You just need to know who’s tracking you, and how to opt out.

Luckily for the privacy-conscious among us, redditors pibbman and LawyerCT have done half the work already. They’ve compiled a list of all the major background check companies, with links to their opt-out pages or instructions on how to get your name off their sites.

Just keep in mind — everything on these sites comes from publicly available information. Even if you exempt yourself from the sites, your information’s still all out there.

But if you opt-out, finding that information will require a lot more than an easy web search.

At the very least, it’ll require a trip to the county clerk’s office. And in the age of Google and Wikipedia, who wants to do that?

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Last updated Jan 29, 2019, 8:07 am