Ways to Remove Your Personal Number from The Internet
Today people get the most data from the web. However, data from the interweb can be either foul or good.
15:55 17 May 2021
For example, websites are prone to data breaches. Also, people-search websites may sometimes display your number on the web. As a result, you may fall victim to telemarketers and fraudsters who can retrieve this data effortlessly. They use software that helps retrieve these phone numbers. Generally, websites and brokers alike sell, buy, and share people's personal information every day.
According to the GetApp survey, over 90% of Americans believe that ads know much about their privacy. Regrettably, it is pretty impossible to take away contact data from the interweb completely. However, you can still decrease your digital footprint on the net while also keeping it safe from others who may want to use it for marketing and such personal gains.
You must be wondering how scammers get your number from the cyberspace. Unfortunately, there are more ways than one of retrieving private info from the web.
Social Media Networks
Hackers can sometimes use the private data you post on the web. For example, when you post your pictures, favorite dog, family, itineraries, and such data on social media. In turn, you expose this personal data to cybercriminals. It is, therefore, vital to be conscious of everything you post on social media and blogs.
Some online firms gather and sell data. Usually, they acquire this data set legally, including phone numbers, social media data, birth dates, names, and email contacts. Then, they compile the information they get from public accounts online.
Data breach mainly occurs when hackers steal information from databases. Hackers can get information from various places, including the deep web or hard-to-find internet sites. The information they acquire includes passwords, financial details, names, medical records, and email.
Generally, con artists will always devise more advanced ways of getting your information. However, there are ways to remove your number from the internet to minimize their contact with this information.
1. Secure Your Number
First, you can consider obliterating your number from the internet entirely. It may not make sense to a small organization or individual, especially if you need people to reach you. Nevertheless, you may contemplate keeping your number to yourself. Second, you can desist from giving out your number carelessly to people or companies. Considering that some apps may ask for your number, you may want to review the number of apps that have your number.
Deleting apps that you don't use and reviewing their permissions helps you reduce or remove your phone number from the web. These apps can sometimes leak your data and track your activities. If possible, you should desist from using apps that need access to your critical information.
2. Pull Your Phone Number from Google and People Search Sites
Eliminating your number from google means deleting it from people-search websites. These sites provide private data on search results on google. While they have a mandate to ensure that one can remove their number legally from their sites, the process is tedious and daunting. For some, they will need you to call or email them whenever you decide to opt-out. So, if you are serious about removing your number from these sites, you’ve to exercise patience and give it much time.
Notably, some people-search websites like WhitePages may require you to register for an account when requesting to leave. You may opt to use throw-away email addresses when communicating with these firms or websites. The same is true for financial institutions that use your data or even share it in the data broker industry. Importantly, always take time to review their privacy policies before signing up.
3. Review Your Privacy on Social Platforms
Staying up to date on most of the apps is tricky. They constantly keep changing their privacy settings. Additionally, they often embed them deep into their sites, making them difficult to retrieve. Hence keeping up with updates becomes hard. However, for one to reduce their online trail, it is vital to invoke privacy settings. The difficulty could also result from the need for these social sites to use your information in targeted ads.
Sometimes data from these social sites leak, hence exposing users to fraudulent activities, including identity theft. In 2008, Facebook had a security breach where client information was exposed, famously known as Cambridge Analytical Scandal. The following year, more than thirty million phone numbers and email contacts were stolen by hackers. Therefore, reviewing your privacy and confidentiality settings is critical to your cybersecurity.
4. Browser and Search Engine Privacy Engagement
Most individuals trust search engines and browsers that they use and never bother to review their privacy settings. However, earlier on, we saw how hackers can access your information using cookies. Currently, browsers like Firefox block third-party apps by default. This is equally true for Apple's Safari, with Chrome contemplating banning third-party cookies.
Several browsers allow the automatic deletion of cookies after every session. You can even utilize the incognito mode on most browsers and surf freely without maintaining any history or cookies. In the case of search engines, you can request them to delete private info from their search results. Deleting outdated search results minimizes exposure of your contact details. Google will often attempt to exclude them from its results even though there is no guarantee they will do that 100%.
Personal data extraction like phone numbers will go so far in safety assurance. Likewise, one can use VPN or encryption programming when transferring documents and incorporate web security and antivirus programming on your PC, cell phone, and tablet. Notably, data can also be collected via intelligent speakers like Apple's Siri. In addition, some brands review clients’ recordings. To safeguard data, mute or delete these recordings. As long as your number is online, you are prone to cyber-attacks.