How to Remove Public Records From The Internet

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If you’ve ever Googled yourself, you know that there’s a treasure trove of your personal and contact information available to any user of the Internet. From your home address to your criminal history to your closest relatives and more, privacy and security have become a thing of the past. Depending on your personal preferences, you may or may not be comfortable with this much information being readily available online.

You'll notice that a lot of your information can be found pieced together on large sites that specialize in information about people. Information about you is aggregated and displayed on a host of data broker sites, which charge subscription fees in order for users to access the more detailed and invasive minutia of your life. These are sites like Whitepages, Spokeo, and True People Search, although these are just a few of the hundreds (or possibly thousands) of data broker sites out there.

So where does this information come from? There are a few main sources: public records, your social media profiles, and sites that you use frequently (like Google). Even though you are voluntarily providing some of this information, much of it comes from those pesky public records that are kept about you, whether you like it or not.

If you’re reading this article, it’s likely because you’re not comfortable with this much information about you being available online...

Your reasons for this can vary considerably, but all are very valid. Maybe you’re tired of all the spam and scam emails and phone calls that find you on every phone number and address. Perhaps there are people from your past that you prefer not to have access to where you currently live. 

If you’re applying for schools, rental properties, or jobs, things like criminal records and financial records can all have an impact on how your application is received. These are all great reasons to want your public records made private, and there are plenty more reasons out there as well.

Whatever your reason(s) for being concerned about your online presence, you are unfortunately facing an uphill battle to have everything about you removed from the world wide web. 

As already mentioned, the list of data broker sites is long, and over the years you have likely provided your information to dozens, if not hundreds, of other sites as well. If you’ve ever created a profile on a site in order to checkout, that company has your name, address, phone number, and email address, as well as a record of your online shopping habits and preferences.

Even though the idea of cleansing the Internet of your presence can feel overwhelming, it’s a noble effort well worth your time and investment. If you're really serious about managing your online presence, you'll want to partner with an online reputation management firm. 

Reputation Rhino is a great one, and they'll handle a lot of the heavy lifting for you. If you want to go it alone, be ready to dedicate some serious time and effort - and even money - to the cause. Your first step will be removing public records.

What are Public Records?

Public records have been around for pretty much forever (remember phone books?), but they’ve only grown with time. 

There was once a day that you had to physically travel to government offices and file formal requests for public records. 

Alas, those days are behind us; now, you simply purchase a premium subscription on a data broker site and voila! 

You can see a person’s cell phone numbers, criminal records, address, relatives, landline numbers, age, traffic records, fraud ratings, financial records, business details, lien records, professional licenses, maiden names, and property details.

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Types of Public Records

As you have learned, there are a wide variety of public records out there. Some are contact information-based, while others pertain to your history and activity, and can even include photographs or newspaper articles.

  • Arrest records: Your criminal history, including arrests, and in some states, mug shots, can be found online and used by a variety of people. Lawyers may contact you offering representation, landlords may choose not to rent to you, and employers may decide that your criminal past is not a good fit within their company.
  • Government contracts with businesses: If your company has ever been contracted to complete a job for the government, that contract is a public record and can be reviewed by anyone who would like to see it.
  • Driver’s license information: If you’ve ever had your license suspended, been in a car accident, or gotten a speeding ticket, this is all public record. Again, you may hear from lawyers following these incidents - and they all got your information by finding it on the Internet. Your driver’s license number, however, is not considered public record.
  • Birth, marriage, and death records: You can request and access documents that are filed with government agencies, like birth, marriage, and death certificates. These are used to find your closest relatives and add them to your data broker profiles.
  • Occupational licenses: If you’re licensed by the state, this is also part of your public record that can be found by interested parties. They can find out when your license was issued, renewed, and if applicable, expired.

  • Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filings: Public companies also have public records, and you can find information about a company dating back 20 years, something you may want to do prior to investing with them.
  • Court files: If you’ve been to court, those documents are also a public record. Lawsuits, divorce proceedings, and criminal cases are all accessible to those looking for them.
  • Voter registration: Who you voted for may be private, but your voter registration isn’t, so anyone can find out your party affiliation, as well as the last time you voted.
  • Property ownership/tax information: All properties that you own, and the taxes that you pay on them, are easy to find and view. Real estate agents and house flippers can then contact you about selling, a common occurrence these days.
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How to Remove Public Records from the Internet?

Removing public records from the Internet is not for the faint of heart. 

You will put some serious time and effort into removing as many records as you can - and be warned, you won’t be able to remove them all. 

And if you really want your online footprint to be minimized or as close to eliminated as possible, prepare for a life without any social media.

  1. First, Google yourself. Go through as many records that come up as you can, and make notes on where you’re finding information about yourself. You’ll have to deal with many of these sites individually unless you’re hiring a company to do the work on your behalf.
  2. Next, get a PO Box and a new phone number. This phone number should be used only for communicating about your removal requests, and the PO Box allows you to remove your physical address from public view.
  3. Start an LLC. This allows you to further separate your personal information from public records.
  4. It’s time to get familiar with your County Clerk’s office. Visit their website and find out when you can visit and what types of ID you’ll need to bring with you, and download the necessary request forms. When you visit the office, ask to see all of your public records, and find out what information can be redacted from them, as well as where you can use your new PO Box in place of your physical address. The County Clerk is where you’ll find Marriage licenses, Court records, Deeds and mortgages, Old wills, Probate cases, Government surveys, Civil circuit files, Birth certificates, and Death certificates.
  5. Ask about the UCC. The Uniform Commercial Code specifically houses property ownership and financing statements - which could contain your social security number. Ask the County Clerk about these records as well, and follow up on all of your requests after you leave the office.
  6. Get that new PO Box on your driver’s license. If you can legally use a PO Box on your driver’s license, do so.
  7. Visit all publicly funded places you’re a member of. From your local library to the unemployment office, visit each one and change your address to that new PO Box.
  8. Time to tackle those nasty data broker sites. True People Search, Whitepages, Spokeo… the list goes on and on. Unless you’re working with a company like Reputation Rhino, you’re responsible for contacting each site and following their opt-out process.
  9. Be organized. Make sure you’re tracking every removal request that you submit, and follow up regularly to ensure things are being removed.
  10. Check the privacy settings of every app and website that you use and log into. Anytime you need to input your phone number or address, use your new ones.
  11. Stay vigilant. Continue to follow these steps as needed until you’re satisfied that the majority of the information that you want suppressed, is.

Final Verdict

Removing all of your personal information and public records from the Internet is a tall order, and requires a major investment of time and effort on your part. 

You can follow the steps outlined in this article in order to do your best, but the recommended approach is to contract with an online reputation management company like Reputation Rhino. 

Whichever method you choose, it’s a noble effort and one worth pursuing to ensure your internet privacy and protection.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How do I remove all public information from the internet?

Technically, you cannot remove all of your information from the internet. However, you can get pretty close using a multi-step process and continuing to monitor sites, or working with a company that knows how to remove negative search results.

How do I remove information from Google and public records?

You can make requests to Google, and even involve lawyers, in order to have information removed. When it comes to public records, you’ll need to make stops at the County Clerk’s office, the DMV, and any publicly funded place that you have provided your address to.

How can I remove my name from public search?

This is a lengthy process, and involves you visiting each and every site that you find your information on. You’ll need to complete each individual opt-out process.

How do I remove information about myself from the Internet?

There are many steps to doing so, involving both in-person and online requests to various offices and websites. The full process is outlined in this article, and requires careful monitoring going forward.

How can I hide my personal information from Google?

When you Google yourself and find personal information in the results, click the three dots next to the result. Request removal through Google’s new removal tool. Going forward, follow the steps in this article to keep this information from appearing online in the first place.


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