You probably won’t be surprised to learn that your online data is very valuable to businesses. They would love to know where you shop, what pages you like on Facebook, how long your commute is to work, and what type of magazines you are subscribed to. That’s why data broker companies exist.
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Data brokers are companies that use software to crawl public records, mailing lists, surveys, social media profiles, and other sources of information to create a digital profile for millions of people. The profile of information collected by these companies can be quite extensive, everything from your date of birth and home address to your job title and number of known family members.
In most cases, people are not even aware that these companies exist and are nabbing your personal information. If you have ever performed an online search on yourself or another person your search results have probably turned up multiple entries from data broker websites. This information can be useful if you are trying to locate long lost family members, however, there is a darker side to the collection of all this private information.
Data brokers also sell this information to businesses including advertisers, marketers, insurance brokers, and even other data mining companies. They profit from your personally-identifying information. This is where Instant Checkmate opt out can help.
As one of the largest online data brokers, Instant Checkmate has almost certainly amassed a large amount of information about you – information that you probably do not want to be accessible to anyone willing to cough up the cash to get it. Whether you are trying to reduce the amount of unsolicited telemarketer phone calls you receive or you simply want to protect your privacy online, removing yourself from Instant Checkmate’s digital database can bring you peace of mind.
What Is Instant Checkmate?
Instant Checkmate is just one of the dozens of these online data broker companies that gather your personal information from a wide range of sources and then aggregates that data into a single report. Instant Checkmate then makes this information available for purchase to anyone who wants to pay for it.
The company was launched in 2010 by Kris Kibak and Joey Rocco in San Diego California. Instant Checkmate is a background check service that allows you to search for millions of people in America. The site allows you to search demographic data, criminal records, and other public records across the United States. It might interest you to learn that they were fined $525,000 by the FTC in 2014 for violating the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).
Instant Checkmate offers a five-day trial membership for just $1.00. A monthly membership is $22.85. You can also purchase a single report on anyone living in the United States for under $20. Membership on Instant Checkmate gives you access to all of their data profiles and members can search for just about anyone who hasn’t completed the Instant Checkmate opt out process.
Data broker companies like Instant Checkmate do serve a legitimate purpose – for example, they can provide important assistance to adoptees searching for their biological families or offer clues to people conducting genealogical searches – but they can also be used for more nefarious purposes, such as predatory marketing, harassment, or even by stalkers.
How Does Instant Checkmate Work?
Instant Checkmate uses several forms of web scraping software to gather personally-identifying information from the following sources.
- Court records, including arrest records, warrants, traffic violations, sex offender databases, and fugitive records
- Phone directories
- Email databases
- Social media profiles
- Property records from government agencies, including real estate deeds and tax assessment records
- Consumer indexes, which typically include your name, age, address, and other demographic details from consumer profiles
- Vital statistics are drawn from government records like birth certificates, death certificates, marriage licenses, and divorce decrees
- Business directories, which may include your name, title, business address, website, business phone number, and email address
Many people are completely unaware that their personal information is available online for anyone to look at and purchase. It is also completely legal for data brokers to collect it and sell it. Unless you explicitly go through the Instant Checkmate opt out process and ask data broker companies to stop selling your personal information they will continue to profit from your information. They are however legally required to comply with your request for removal from their database.
What Are the Risks?
It’s hard to ignore the fact that much of our activities have shifted to take place online. We fill out a job application online, shop online, and even keep up with our friends and family online. It’s an undeniable fact that you have a lot of private information online just waiting for almost anyone to find. Some people are not as concerned about this. They point out (correctly) that all of this information that data broker companies like Instant Checkmate sell is already available for people to find online. Instant Checkmate simply sources all of this information and makes it available in a single source.
While this is true, there is a growing number of Americans who are uncomfortable knowing that their personal information is no longer private. That their information can be easily accessed and used to commit fraud, identity theft, and a long list of other illegal activities. Moreover, some people simply want to prevent companies such as Instant Checkmate from profiting off of their information.
While going through the Instant Checkmate opt out process won’t erase your personal information from the internet, it does make it more difficult to find. Once you opt out, someone searching for your on the internet would have to go to multiple sites to manually collect all of your data. Optic out doesn’t make you immune to online criminal activity but it does make you much less of an easy target.
How to Remove Yourself From Instant Checkmate
If you have decided that taking control of your personal information online is worth the time and hassle to go through the Instant Checkmate opt out process, the guide below will take you through the process step by step.
Instant Checkmate Opt Out Guide
Completing the process below will remove your personal information from Instant Checkmate’s database, but keep in mind you’ll need to go through similar steps with other data broker companies including PeekYou, Whitepages, Spokeo, Intelius, and a long list of others to ensure your personal information is virtually impossible to find.
First, create an email account that doesn’t use your name or any personally identifying information—the more generic, the better. You’ll use this email to complete the removal process with Instant Checkmate, which requires you to click on a link within a confirmation email to finalize your removal. Creating this “burner” email account prevents Spokeo from retaining (and potentially sharing) an email address you use for business or personal correspondence. Guerrilla Mail, which offers temporary “disposable” email addresses, is a good option for this step, but make sure to complete the process before your account automatically disappears.
Go to Instant Checkmate’s opt out website and conduct a search for your name, including any variations that may exist online: professional names, maiden names, nicknames, full names, middle names, and even your spouse’s name.
Click on any results that apply to you, starting with the state where you currently live, and click on your street address. Then click “remove this record”.
Type in your email that you just created and complete the CAPTCHA box.
Instant Checkmate will send a verification email to your new email address that you just created. Wait for the email to arrive and then verify the record that you would like to have removed.
You’ll need to repeat this process for any other listings for you that are associated with different addresses.
What Information Does Instant Checkmate Remove?
After completing the Instant Checkmate opt out process Instant Checkmate will no longer include your information in its listings going forward, keep in mind that dozens of other entities including other data mining companies, marketers, and individual users, for example, may have already accessed, downloaded and shared your information. Simply opting out of Instant Checkmate will not put the cat back into the bag.
You may also notice that your Instant Checkmate listing still shows up in search results when you search for yourself online, even after completing the opt out process. While users will not be able to access your Instant Checkmate profile, they may still see snippets of your personal information in the search results preview. This information may linger online for some time depending on how various search engines index their results.
Additionally, the information sources that Instant Checkmate used to complete its profile on you are still available online, just not all in one place. Eliminating most or all of these profiles can be extremely tedious and time-consuming, which is why thousands of people rely on third-party services like Removaly. Removaly uses powerful web search tools to locate and handle opt out processes for hundreds of online directories, data brokers, and other information aggregators.
Frequently Asked Questions About Spokeo Listing Removal
How Long Does it Take to Get My InformationRemoved From Instant Checkmate?
According to Instant Checkmate, your personal information can take up to 24 hours to disappear from its website, although the removal process may occur more quickly in some cases.
Is the process of Removing My Information From Instant Checkmate Secure?
When you use a data removal service like Removaly, any information you submit goes through SSL encryption to protect its security. If you choose to complete the opt out process yourself, Instant Checkmate doesn’t offer any guarantees about the security of your data.
What Does Instant Checkmate Do With My Personal Information?
Generally speaking, the information you use to remove yourself from Instant Checkmate is used for that purpose alone. However, using an email address created explicitly for the removal process (as recommended in the step-by-step opt out guide) helps ensure that your personal or professional email address won’t inadvertently be retained or shared.
I Have More Than One Listing on Instant CheckMate. What Should I Do?
Instant Checkmate draws its data from thousands of online sources, including government records, social media, marketing databases, and even other data brokers. This online information has accrued over the course of your lifetime, so if you’ve used different names at different times or for different purposes (such as replacing a maiden name with a married name or using a nickname to subscribe to a magazine or digital newsletter), you may have separate records for each variation. Changes in address can also trigger new records.
Unfortunately, each of these separate listings must be removed via a separate opt out process. One of the primary benefits of data removal services like Removaly is that they take on this time-consuming, repetitive work for you, so you have more time to devote to the things you care about most.
What If I Don’t Have the Time Available to Remove my Data From These Sites?
If your information is on Instant Checkmate, it’s almost certainly available through other data brokers as well, and there are dozens of them. Some are well-known and easy to find, such as Intelius, Whitepages, and People Finder, but others fly under the radar and can be difficult for the average person to locate.
Even if you were to focus just on the more visible data brokers, completing all of the removal requests, confirmations and any needed follow-up can eat up hours of valuable time. Services like Removaly are able not only to locate both the highly visible and the obscure data mining services but also take on the burden of completing the opt out process for all of them, allowing you to redirect your resources elsewhere.
Other Opt Out Guides
- Spokeo Opt Out Guide
- MyLife Opt Out Guide
- Radaris Opt Out Guide
- Whitepages Opt Out Guide
- Intelius Opt Out Guide
Instant Checkmate and The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA)
The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), passed in 2018 and implemented in January 2020, significantly shifted the landscape for online data brokers like Instant Checkmate.
Under the law, California residents have the right to:
- Request that a business collecting personal information disclose the categories of information it collects, as well as the specific information the business has collected on that person and the purpose for which it was collected.
- Request that a business deletes any personal information it may have collected about them.
- Request that the business discloses the categories of personal information it sells and the purpose of the sale, as well as any personal information for that individual that the business has sold.
- Opt out of having their personal data retained or sold by a business.
Not only must companies comply with these requests at no charge to the requesting individual, but they are also required to provide a clear avenue for consumers to make these requests (typically a phone number, website, email address, or some combination of these). Companies’ websites must also include a detailed description of consumers’ rights regarding the collection and sale of their personal data.