Deleting yourself from the internet

There's no way to completely erase yourself from the digital universe no matter how hard you try

(AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, File)

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) –  Being the victim of identity theft or bank fraud can be a nightmare. Some people will go as far as erasing themselves from the Internet to make sure it doesn’t happen to them. There’s some bad news about that idea: you can’t erase yourself completely.

Your RMV records, voter files, and court files are all online – and hacking doesn’t only happen at the computer. Tony Russell-Smith of Yes Computers in Northampton told 22News, “Someone could still get your credit card number by putting a camera on the pin pad at the local grocery store, and have several hundred numbers by the time the day is out.”

Unfortunately, there’s no fool-proof way of solving this problem. The good news is that you can still remove a lot of information from being online, and here are the 4 best ways to do that.

  • Delete your online accounts .Services like Facebook, Google, online banking, and even picture sharing keep a lot of your personal information. You may have to disable each account differently.
  • Remove yourself from people-search sites. These sites collect your personal information and sell it. To remove yourself, you need to contact them and request to opt out.
  • Shut down your email accounts. It’s not enough to stop using email, since an open account can still be hacked.
  • Use a virtual private network. A VPN allows you to encrypt your connection, making it harder to hack.

Russell-Smith says the most important step you can take is removing yourself from people-search sites. “A lot of these private organizations operate under no government oversight,” he says, “and can simply keep whatever information on you that they wish.”

Yes Computers in Northampton says this entire process may take a few days.