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If I wasn't born at all. 3 ways to erase your digital identity in 2021


Is it possible for me to become nonexistent from my digital life?

This prevalent question might be asked by somebody fed up with the toxicity of social media, somebody who wants a fresh start, and it may be for job or dating purposes. It could also be someone who has faced a data breach recently. No matter what the reasons are, uploading personal information on the Internet is easy, but removing it completely is not going to be an easy task.

But that doesn't mean you should give up on your plan to eliminate personal data from the Internet. There are two news I have for you, the sad news, removing yourself, as if you never existed, Might not be possible. The good news is, for the average person, there are ways you can trim your online footprint, which would prevent your data from falling into the hands of hackers.

Let me guide you through these 3 manual steps you can take for erasing, if not all 100, at least 99 per cent of it.

 

Find and Delete

The first step involves finding web pages, newsletters, shopping accounts you have signed up for since your first day of using the Internet and deleting your credentials.

Web pages you had signed into

From the first day, you must have created many accounts, mainly for gaming, the latest news online, or online shopping. Curiosity may be one factor, or special features might have pulled you in.

Open your . (If you have multiple email accounts, do this same procedure on all of them).

Type in the search email: “”, “", or "”. Their eagerness to confirm your login email address will help you here. Now you know the web pages, mainly newsletters or Shopping accounts which you are currently logged in to.

Open the emails one by one and delete your account credentials from their databases.

Though time taking, it’s worth it. If you are not able to delete an account, replace your information with something fake or random.

Don’t forget to Unsubscribe from mailing lists.

If you don't unsubscribe from mailing lists, you're leaving a bit of personal data out there. So it's a good idea to get rid of them. Even if you don't want to leave the Internet, it's still smart to purge old mailing list subscriptions once in a while—they take up a lot of inbox space.

Apps installed

  • Facebook: A Facebook breach exposed over 530 million users' information. Many people today have stopped using Facebook merely because the app is getting more invasive every day.
    Follow these steps to delete your profile on the Facebook app.

Deleting Facebook

  1. Open settings and privacy.

    How to delete Facebook?

  2. Tap on Account, then “Account ownership and control”.

    Deleting your Facebook account

  3. Now click on “Deactivation and Deletion” to permanently delete your account.
    Within 30 days, if you change your mind. You can recover your account.
    Afterwards, your data will no longer be accessible. Keep in mind you will lose messenger too.
  • Twitter: 

For deleting Twitter id, follow the steps given below:

Deleting your Twitter profile

  1. Click Settings & Privacy.

    How to delete your Twitter account

  2. After tapping on Account option, select “Deactivate your account”. Now your account has been deactivated and will be permanently deleted within 30 days. For anybody searching, Twitter will show a notification saying: “Profile not found”.

    Profile not found

    Image source – Linkedin.com

Emails and accounts

Before you delete your account. Delete your emails first.

  1. Check the open box in the upper right corner of the screen
  2. Click to select all conversations. This will first select all emails in the inbox.
  3. Click the trash can icon and delete the email.

An email is required to do the next steps too, so make sure you delete it at the end.

Delete emails before deleting email accounts

Clean your browser and file storing and sharing spaces

  • Clean up your browser

Chrome, Firefox, and Explorer are all browsers that offer to save login information. Even If you forgot the login information, check it in browser settings.

You can remove information from Google by searching giant's activity controls where you can manage web and app activity, YouTube history, and ad personalization.

To minimize the damage if hacking occurs, you should keep the bare minimum of sensitive information.

These browsers contain tons of data on their browsing history, as well as cached files and passwords. Let us delete them first.

If you face a problem degoogling yourself, consider reading our detailed article on removing yourself from this giant.

Steps to delete browser cache

  1. Go to Settings, click on Privacy and security.

    Steps to delete browser cache

  2. Then click on clear browsing data.

    Steps to delete browser cache

  3. Further, click clear data. Afterwards, log out and delete the account.
  • File storing and sharing spaces

File sharing sites mainly include Dropbox and Google Drive, or any cloud photo app you may have. On being hacked, your cloud data storage sites will yield not only your photos but also crucial information like your birth certificates, CV, or tax return.

  1. Permanently delete files from Dropbox
  • Click Deleted files in the left sidebar.
  • Tap on the box on top of the file or folder you want to permanently delete.
  • Click permanently delete.
  • Click permanently delete again to confirm.
  1. Deleting Dropbox account
  • Open Dropbox.com on your web browser
  • Sign in with your account details.
  • Click on your user icon on the top right-hand corner.
  • Tap Settings.
  • Scroll down and click the delete account button, which is present at the bottom right-hand corner.

Data Brokers, Wipe them up

Data Brokers are the companies that work to collect information about people, Some of which are Spokeo, Whitepages.com, People Finder, and plenty of others. They collect data from your activities and sell that data to companies, specifically Advertising ones, so they can show personalized ads.

But how do these websites track your activity and share it with others? We have answered this question just for you.

Probably the most difficult procedure will be to remove yourself from data collection sites because you will have to deal with each of them individually. Some sites might ask for sending faxes and filling out actual physical paperwork.

After accomplishing this task, it will be almost impossible for anyone to find it. You will not even appear in search results. The result of searching you would be a blank page. Feel satisfied? Well, that's amusing.

Intelius, a massive Data broker website

Image source – Intelius.com

Intelius is a data broker giant, owning people search sites like Classmates.com, I Search, ZabaSearch, People lookup, Public Records, and many others.  An opt-out form has to be filled for removing yourself from Intelius. When Intelius deletes your data, it will be deleted from all websites it controls.

First, enter your name and email address into your opt-out form.

Then click Continue. You will be asked to identify the profile which has to be removed.

Filling Intelius' opt-out the form

Image source – Intelius.com

Then you will be sent a confirmation email for further processing of a request.

Opt-out form submission to Intelius

Image source – Intelius.com

Look for a 24-hour message from the Intelius sender. If you don’t see the letter in your inbox, please check your spam folder. It can take up to 72 hours to fully process the cancellation. Search for Intelius again after 72 hours.

Opt-out the procedure on Intelius

If your information is still displayed after receiving the confirmation, please send an email to CUSTSERV(at)intelius.com with the confirmation number you received.

I have listed some other data broker websites below; they will also follow more or less the same procedure.

  • BeenVerified
  • White Pages
  • InstantCheckmate
  • Pipl
  • Spokeo
  • ZoomInfo
  • Apollo.io
  • MyLife
  • TruepeopleSearch.com

If someone's posted sensitive information of yours such as a Social Security number or a bank account number and the webmaster of the site where it was posted won't remove it, you can send a legal request to Google to have it removed.

Take help from dedicated websites

If you lack the time and energy to do these steps, I have an alternative for you which is a way easier way to do it is to use a service. On getting paid, it will do all the repetitive tasks for you. Every few months it will follow up to make sure your name hasn't been re-added to these sites.

  1. DeleteMe: offers a set of DIY guides if you would prefer to do the process of removing your data from all the data brokers yourself.
  2. Account Killer: lists direct links for deleting all your profiles from around 500 different sites.
  3. Unroll.me: On signing up with your email account, Unroll. I will check your inbox to find all the mailing lists subscriptions. Go through the list and Unroll the ones you want to eliminate.
  4. Deseat.me: You are required to log in with Outlook or Google account. On logging in, all the accounts you have ever logged into will appear as a list, you can then select all the profiles you want to delete.
    If you want to get rid of a bunch of accounts you forgot you had, these websites are a good option.

Conclusion

The Internet has been a revolution in human lives. Social media, websites help them interact with others and to share content. But remember that nothing can remain private on the Internet, and once online, it is hard to control. So we should be careful when sharing information through the Internet. If you would rather use strong passwords, read our Top 9 tips for password security.

Share this article with anybody who wants to delete their inactive accounts.


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