If you’ve ever searched online for a colleague, love interest, or even yourself, you’re not alone. According to Live Science, 78% of Americans say they have Googled themselves with 19% claiming to search for themselves regularly online. It’s becoming more and more common for people to look up their dates before meeting them or for interviewers to look up candidates before inviting them to sit for an interview.
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So, what can you find when you search for yourself or another person online? One thing that just about everyone can find is their information on multiple data broker websites. Data broker companies crawl public records, mailing lists, surveys, social media profiles, and other types of information that are available online and create a digital data profile for millions of people, sending this information to services such as PeekYou.
Sometimes this information is helpful. If you are trying to find a long lost relative or a friend you lost touch with in high school, these sites can be pretty handy. However, you should be aware these sites do not exist simply to help you look up a potential date before meeting them. These sites make their money by selling your data profile to businesses including marketers, advertisers, insurance brokers, and other data mining websites. These companies profit from your personal information.
Most people are uncomfortable with their personal information being bought and used by advertisers to sell their products. This is where PeekYou Opt Out can help. As one of the largest data brokers online, PeekYou has more than likely collected a large collection of data on you.
This is information you might not want to be readily accessible to anyone willing to pay for it. Whether you are looking to reduce the number of telemarketing calls or emails you receive or you simply want to protect your privacy, removing yourself from PeekYou’s digital database can help to bring you peace of mind.
What Is PeekYou?
PeekYou is one of the dozens of online data broker companies that gather your personal information from a wide range of online sources and then aggregates that data into a single report or profile. PeekYou then makes that information available for purchase online to anyone who wants it.
The company was founded in 2006 by Micheal Hussey. PeekYou claims to have indexed over 250 million people, mostly in the United States and Canada. PeekYou claims over 10 million people search its database on a monthly basis. PeekYou offers basic information on each profile for free such as your name, age, part of your address, and phone number along with links to your social media profiles. It then gives links to different data aggregator sites where you can purchase more extensive profiles on information such as arrest records, driving records, and property records.
With PeekYou you can access more than millions of data profiles full of information about virtually anyone who hasn’t gone through the PeekYou opt out process. Data brokers like PeekYou do serve a legitimate purpose – for example, they can provide vital assistance to adoptees searching for their biological families or offer clues to people conducting genealogy research – but they can also be used for more nefarious purposes, such as stalking or by predatory marketing companies
How Does PeekYou Work?
PeekYou uses several forms of web scraping software to gather personally-identifying information from the following sources:
- Social media sites such as Myspace, Facebook Twitter and Instagram
- News sources
- Public records that list your home or business address, or phone numbers
- Websites and blogs
Their technology identifies the people behind these data points and pulls all of the data into a comprehensive record of their online identity. Most people do not realize that this information is available to the public. It is also perfectly legal for data brokers such as PeekYou to collect and sell this information.
Unless you explicitly opt out of these databases, they will continue to profit from your private information, but they are legally bound to comply with your request to remove yourself from their sites.
What Are the Risks?
More and more our daily lives have become wrapped up in technology. We are sharing more of our personal information online than ever before. It is an undeniable fact that your personal information is available online for the world to see it. This isn’t unnerving to some people who point out (correctly) that all of the information is already publicly available and that data brokers like PeekYou simply arrange it into a single convenient source.
However, a growing number of people in the United States and Canada are uncomfortable knowing their personal information is no longer private and that it can be more easily accessed on sites such as PeekYou. This access to your personal information makes it easier to commit fraud, identity theft, or even harass or stalk individuals. While opting out of PeekYou won’t erase your personal data from the internet, it does make it more difficult for people to find.
Once you complete the PeekYou opt out process, someone searching for your personal information would be forced to manually visit multiple sources to compile the same packet of information that PeekYou previously provided with just a single click. Opting out doesn’t make you immune to online criminal activity, but it does make you less of an easy target.
How to Remove Yourself from PeekYou
If You’ve decided that exercising additional control over your personal data is worth the time and effort it takes to opt out of PeekYou, the guide below will take you step-by=step through the entire process.
PeekYou Opt Out Guide
Completing the process described here will remove your personal information from PeekYou’s database, but keep in mind that you’ll need to go through similar steps with other data brokers (including Spokeo, Intelius, and a host of others) to ensure that your personal information is virtually impossible to find online.
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 PeekYou, which requires you to click on a link within a confirmation email to finalize your removal.
Creating this “burner” email account prevents PeekYou from retaining (and potentially sharing) an email address that 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 PeekYou 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. Then select your location from the drop down menu.
Click on any results that apply to you. If there are quite a few people that have your same name in your state take a look at the other identifying information out beside the name such as the city, state, age, and previous residence. Copy the URL of the page that lists all available information about the person associated with the address. Be sure to make sure you look through all of the names listed. Sometimes people have more than one data profile on PeekYou.
Then, navigate toward the bottom of the page and click on the footer text that reads “Do no sell my private information.” On the next page scan down to about the middle of the page where you will find a link that reads “do not sell my personal information” at point C. Click the link.
You will then be taken to a form to fill out to begin the application process. Fill out all the information that is marked required with a red asterisk. At the bottom, it will ask you for the PeekYou URL where you found your data profile. It will also allow you to give more than one URL which comes in handy if you have found more than one data profile on PeekYour for yourself. Once the form is completed click the captcha, check the four boxes to confirm your identity, and then submit the form.
The next screen will tell you that you will be sent an important verification email Go to your inbox that you just created to verify your identity and check to serif you’ve received the email from PeekYou. Click the link in the email to confirm that you want to be removed from PeekYou’s database.
What Information Does PeekYou Remove?
While PeekYou will no longer include your personal information in its database going forward, keep in mind that dozens of other database aggregates exist online. Also, other data-mining companies, marketing companies, and individuals have already accessed your profile before you removed it. They may have even downloaded and shared or sold your personal information. Simply opting out of PeekYou won’t put the toothpaste back into the tube.
You may also notice that your PeekYou listing still shows up in the search engine results when you search for your name, even after completing the PeekYou opt out process. While users won’t be able to access your personal information, they may still see snippets of your profile on the search results page. This information may linger online for some time depending on how various search engines index their results.
Additionally, the information sources PeekYou used to compile its profile of your still exist online, just not all in one convenient place. Eliminating most or all of them can be an incredibly tedious and time-consuming process, which is why millions of people rely on third-party removal services like Removely, which uses powerful webs search tools to locate and handle opt out processes for hundreds of online directory sites, data brokers, and other informational aggregators.
Frequently Asked Questions About PeekYou Listing Removal
How long does it take to get my information removed from PeekYou
According to PeekYou, your personal information can take up to 24 hours to disappear from its site, although removal may occur more quickly in some cases and longer in others.
Is the process of removing my information from PeekYou secure?
When you use a data removal service like Removaly, any information you submit goes through SSL encryption to protect your security. If you choose to complete the PeekYou opt out process on your own, PeekYou doesn’t offer any guarantees about the security of your data.
The site claims to take an unprecedented level of security but they give no specific guarantee of that security.
What does PeekYou do with my personal information?
Generally speaking, the information you use to remove yourself from PeekYou is used for that purpose alone. However, using an email address created explicitly for the removal process (as recommended in the step-by-step PeekYou 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 PeekYou, what should I do?
PeekYou combes the internet in search of information to catagorize into data profiles and sell. It searches thousands of online sources including social media profiles, marketing databases, and even government records. This online information has accrued over the courseof your lifetime, so if you’ve ever used a different name at a different time or had a childhood nickname, you may have separate records for each variation of your name. Changes in address or multiple social media profile on the same platform can also trigger multiple data profiles on PeekYou.
Unfortunately, each of these separate listings must be removed as outlined in the step-by-step guide above. PeekYou does give you space to list multiple URLs of data profiles that need to be removed so try to sift through the search results really well before you fill out the removal form to be sure you picked up on all your data profiles. 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?
We find that it is very rare for someone to only have data on BeenVerified and not listed on other data aggregators and people search websites. That’s because a lot of these sites get their information from the same data brokers. Many people need to repeat this process for multiple sites simultaneously and wait weeks to make sure the data was removed properly.
You will need to manage the listing and follow up and make sure that it was indeed taken down by the company. It’s a chore and it isn’t easy.
Removaly can help simplify this process for you. If you want to remove your private and personal information from BeenVerified and X other people search and public directory websites, consider using Removaly. Removaly makes the whole process easy and manages your data removal and opt out requests for you, ensuring that all of your personal and private information is removed.
Other Opt Out Guides
- Spokeo Opt Out Guide
- MyLife Opt Out Guide
- Radaris Opt Out Guide
- Whitepages Opt Out Guide
- Intelius Opt Out Guide
PeekYou 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 PeekYou.
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.