How to Opt Out of the Sites That Sell Your Personal Data

How to Opt Out of the Sites That Sell Your Personal Data

Your personal data is valuable to marketers, which is why so many companies have details about you on their books—all of which can be used to target you with advertising, or to find out where you live and work, or even to steal your identity for fraudulent purposes. The good news is that it's possible to fight back and get yourself delisted from these databases. The bad news? It takes a lot of time and effort.

Still, it's worth at least giving it a try. These services pull from public records and other online sources to build profiles of you that, when compiled in one place, can be used for all kinds of ill effects, from unnervingly targeted marketing to doxxing. Daunting as the task might sound, spending a few hours severing ties with data brokers could make it that much harder for people to cause you harm.

Several of the biggest make opting out relatively easy; just fill out a form and make a couple of clicks. Others go so far as demanding a photo of your driver's license before scrubbing your details. But go ahead and start with the easy ones, and build from there.

For starters, you can potentially head off identity theft associated with info gleaned from data brokers by freezing your credit to prevent new creditors from accessing your credit report. Note that this doesn't stop your credit, but it can help cut down on fraudsters opening new accounts without your knowledge. The fees vary by state, but you can contact the major credit score providers here: contact Equifax at 1 (800) 349-9960, Experian at 1 (888) 397‑3742, TransUnion at 1 (888) 909-8872, or Innovis at 1 (800) 540-2505.

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