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How to scrub your personal information from internet sites

While each site takes down profiles a little differently, the process is relatively simple.

INDIANAPOLIS — Search your name to see what you can find.

That's what I asked some coworkers around the office to do.

Some found their addresses, while others came across employment information.

Then, I looked them up on sites including Fast People Search, Whitepages and MyLife.

Together we found birthdates, correct cell phone numbers, current and prior addresses, relatives' names, and up-to-date email addresses.

Can I get this information removed?

Yes.

While each site takes down profiles differently, the process is relatively simple.

For example on Fast People Search, the opt-out process starts with entering your email here. Then, track down your profile and click remove. If the removal option does not come up, refresh the page.

After you click remove or opt-out, an email is sent to you confirming your request. Your profile will remain active if you do not click confirm.

To get your information off of Whitepages, click here

As for MyLife, send the company an email to removalrequests@mylife.com asking your profile be taken down.

If your information is on other sites, Google the website's name with "profile removal" next to it.

How often do I need to do this?

Personal security expert Carrie Kerskie suggests Googling yourself at a minimum once a year.

"By knowing what information is available about you online, (it) can also help protect yourself from possible threats. Because when bad guys have access to information, they can use that in the scams, or to defraud you," Kerskie said.

You should also consider removing personal information from social media profiles. What high school you attended could be the answer to a security question.

Kerskie also suggests Googling your name in quotations followed by your city. "First Name Last Name" location.

"It's telling the internet, or telling Google, to go out and find exactly what's in between those quotation marks," Kerskie said. "If I just typed in my name, Carrie Kerskie, I'm going to get anything that has the word Carrie, and anything that has the word Kerskie."

Kerskie added it's also important to see if anyone is stealing your professional headshot or personal photos.

You can do this with a reverse image search. Either right-click your photo and select the reverse image option or upload it to a search engine.

"It'll search the internet to see where else that image might be located. Then you can always contact those websites and ask them to remove, it or report it as fraud to the web hosting company."

How does this information get online? 

Sites are often able to collect your information from public records, like voter registration or property purchases. Different states have different laws.

Next time you need to fill out a form, think twice about offering up voluntary information.

If you're not sure what's required and what's voluntary, ask the person in charge.

Just because someone or something asks for information doesn't mean you have to provide it.

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