What Exactly Do Data Brokers Know About You?

Data brokers collect and store personal information on nearly every U.S. consumer. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) estimates that a single data broker company has information on 1.4 billion consumer transactions, totaling over 700 billion data points and 3,000 data segments for nearly every American consumer.

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But what information are data brokers collecting?

You’ve likely heard of companies collecting personal information such as name, address, age, and e-mail. You may also have heard about data brokers collecting information on voting registration, purchasing history, criminal records, or vehicle registration.

However, data brokers can go much further than this.

They also collect information on “life-event triggers,” including marriage, divorce, births, deaths, and even buying a home. They also collect salary information, paystub data, and charitable donations. This information is then sold to companies and marketing agencies to help them target their advertising more effectively.

For example, a home warranty company could purchase a list of new homeowners to target their home warranty sales or advertisements. Companies pay a lot of money for this information, and there’s a pretty good reason why: By one estimate, a data brokerage division of a company adds more than 290,000 records on new homeowners each month.

These companies don’t just collect information, they use it to make inferences about you and place you into consumer groups. The FTC explains these topics can include assumptions such as “dog owners” or “romance novel readers,” or more sensitive categories such as “interested in diabetes” or “low educational attainment and low net worth.”

The FTC explains that these categories can put consumers at risk without the consumer knowing about it. The report reveals, “While data brokers have a data category for ‘Diabetes Interest’ that a manufacturer of sugar-free products could use to offer product discounts, an insurance company could use that same category to classify a consumer as higher risk.”

Experts, including the FTC, explain that while there are steps consumers can take to remove personal information from Google, there is very little individuals can do to stop data broker companies from collecting data and selling it for marketing purposes.

According to the FTC: “Broker practices have grown dramatically in breadth and depth, as data brokers have the ability to collect information from more sources, including consumers’ online activities; analyze it through new and emerging algorithms and business models; and store the information indefinitely due to dwindling storage costs. Despite the Commission’s recommendations, lack of transparency and choice remain significant issues in this industry.”

This lack of transparency leaves consumers largely in the dark about what information is being collected and how it is being used.

That’s where companies like DeleteMe come in. DeleteMe works to remove your personal information from data broker websites, which then reduces your online profile in Google and other search engines. Additionally, if you’re seeking removal from Whitepages and other sites that store your address or phone number, DeleteMe works swiftly to erase your personal information.

About DeleteMe

DeleteMe empowers people to control how their personal information is accessed and shared online. The subscription service removes details like names, addresses, and phone numbers from websites such as PeopleFinders, Spokeo, and DexKnows, in order to help clients remove personal information from Google and aid in removal from Whitepages.

For more information, visit Joindeleteme.com

Original Source: https://goo.gl/p7a4z8

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How to Delete Your Personal Information from the Internet—for Free

We’ve all heard the horror stories of what can happen when the wrong people get their hands on your personal information: false credit card charges, fraudulent bank withdrawals, and stolen identities.

If you’re concerned about your personal information, it’s not enough to simply block pop-up ads or delete browser cookies. You may want to consider ways to remove personal information from Google altogether.

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There are many professional services available to help manage your online presence. However, if you’re cost-conscious, there are also several free options you can try to eliminate your online information.

Option 1: Delete Online Accounts

The websites that make our lives easier¾think Netflix, Spotify, Amazon, Facebook, etc.¾also store a lot of our personal information, including full name, email, date of birth, address, etc.

Deleting these accounts, especially the ones you don’t use anymore, is an easy step toward removing your online profile. Netflix, Spotify, Amazon, and Facebook each have different instructions for deleting your account, so be prepared to spend some time going through each site.

Option 2: Delete at the Source

While Google might be displaying your personal information, a different site most likely owns the file. If you have posted content on blog sites or created an account to comment on a news story, that original website holds the information.

It might be arduous, but your best bet is to go back to that original site and delete your account or content at the source.

Option 3: Contact the Offenders

It is very likely that you will need to contact data brokers¾the companies that find, aggregate, and sell your personal information. While it sounds daunting, there are some free but time-consuming steps you can take to facilitate your information’s removal from Whitepages and other data broker sites.

It’s important to note that each data broker company sets up a different opt-out process.

One way to opt-out? Contact them by phone or e-mail. This method might take seven to ten business days to delete your information, but it is relatively easy to do.

Another method: Determine if the company has an opt-out form. This still might take two to three business days, but it is also relatively easy.

A third option: Create an account. This might sound counter-intuitive if you’re trying to eliminate your online presence, but by creating an account and verifying your information you can then file a claim within a data broker’s system, requesting your information be removed. This method creates an official claim with the data broker and can lead to your information being removed almost immediately.

A final option: Turn to the professionals. It’s not free, but DeleteMe is in the business of protecting and removing your personal information. They know the companies to target and can take the stress and time of of managing online privacy off of your shoulders.

About DeleteMe

DeleteMe empowers people to control how their personal information is accessed and shared online. The subscription service removes details like names, addresses, and phone numbers from websites such as PeopleFinders, Spokeo, and DexKnows, in order to help clients remove personal information from Google.

For more information, visit Joindeleteme.com

Original Source: https://goo.gl/NwgPJ4

The Billion Dollar Industry You Know Next to Nothing About

There is an entire industry out there committed to gathering and selling your personal information. They operate with almost no regulation, and many individuals aren’t even aware of their existence or how their information is being used.

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Data brokers, as they’re known, use your ambivalence to their advantage. They gather the information you provide via the internet and daily life, regularly. They collect your personal information from a variety of nonpublic and public sources: forms you fill out while shopping online, your social media, the interactions you have with public institutions (weddings, deaths, registration of your vehicles, etc.) all end up producing information about you. Fortunately, there is a way to remove personal information from Google.

According to the The New York Times, one data broker’s servers “process more than 50 trillion data ‘transactions’ a year. Company executives have said its database contains information about 500 million active consumers worldwide, with about 1,500 data points per person. That includes a majority of adults in the United States.” These mass amounts of information include the basics, such as your name, age, religion, address, ethnicity, occupation, and your level of education. In addition, they collect more detailed information that concern your preferences, medical histories, and major life events and credit-driven data. They know if you’ve purchased a home, gotten married, been divorced, or are putting your kid through university. After they gather this information, or buy it, then, they sell it to whoever has the funds and inclination to purchase it.

The good news is, regulations are starting to take effect that will aid in protecting you and your data, however, it is a slow process. The best way to remove personal information from Google and other sites that store your data is to hire a professional. They will scour the web for you and remove information as it repopulates, taking the hassle out of your hands and protecting you at the same time.

About DeleteMe

Based out of Boston, Abine is a privacy company on a mission to make the internet a better, safer environment while putting people back in control of their data. Led by consumer protection, privacy, and identity theft experts, they are passionate about making easy-to-use privacy solutions for everyday people. From removal from Whitepages to password and payment security they are here to help you navigate the convoluted thoroughfare that is the world wide web.

Get protected at Joindeleteme.com

Original Source: https://goo.gl/2xPRwT

Vermont Passes Legislation Protecting Consumers from Data Brokers

At the end of May, Vermont became the first state in the U.S. to create and pass legislation that regulates data brokers and the information they fence. The law seeks to provide consumers with an extra level of protection while initiating accountability for a nearly unregulated industry. Designed to target massive data brokers like Spokeo, White Pages, and Been Verified, who have previously functioned under an umbrella of little to no oversight.

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While there are ways to institute your removal from Whitepages and the information they store it is by no means a simple step. This legislation will force data brokers to:

  • register with the state
  • comply with new rules
  • inform consumers on the data they collect
  • provide clear instructions for opting out
  • immediately notify authorities when a breach occurs (including the number of consumers affected)
  • be held accountable for fraud by the state itself

The law defines a data broker “as a business, unit, or units of a business, separately or together, that knowingly collects or sells or licenses to third parties the brokered personal information of consumer with whom the business does not have a direct relationship.”

This very broad definition will result in companies that previously considered themselves in a different business to also be held accountable for what they do. Vermont has also taken the initiative to define personal information as including a person’s address, name, date of birth, social security number, and any unique biometric data (i.e., fingerprints, retinal scans, facial images, etc.).

In addition, Vermont’s law will put an end to the fee associated with freezing and unfreezing your credit. Vermont has a tradition of siding with the consumer, from enacting protections that keep them safe to enhancing regulations it’s not surprising that they are the first state to enact protections in the digital realm.

About DeleteMe

DeleteMe empowers average people to control how their personal information is accessed and shared online. By removing details like names, addresses and phone numbers from websites like PeopleFinders, Spokeo and DexKnows, this subscription service helps clients remove personal information from Google.

For more information, visit Joindeleteme.com

Original Source: https://goo.gl/VKzP9L

 

How Does the GDPR Affect My Personal Security?

Aside from filling your inbox with emails from subscriptions asking you to confirm your desire to continue receiving emails from them, the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a long-term solution to a serious problem. It’s been developed over the past seven years and timely addresses data protection in a time of hackers, data brokers, and social media information leaks. 

The GDPR replaces the 1995 Data Protection Directive and its standards for processing data, from technology to E-Commerce. It is meant to give more power over your personal data back to you and keep it from getting into the wrong hands. The GDPR was implemented on May 25th, 2018, in every European Union member state, applying to any data controller holding the personal information of online members. This includes any data controller who interacts with European users, therefore affecting data policy on a global scale.

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A data controller holds personal data and determines how it is processed and where it goes next. Companies like Facebook, Google, and Twitter are some of the biggest data controllers, and often are the target of hacks for their users’ private information. This also includes technology firms, marketers, and other internet-based entities. They make it difficult to remove personal information from Google, track where your data goes, and sometimes sell it to data brokers. The GDPR enforces data controllers to have more responsibilities when it comes to this information and publicly provide how they use it and process it.

This is why you might have been getting an enormous increase in your email box in May and June. Entities and companies are updating their privacy policies and trying to ensure that members, communities, and subscribers understand what is happening to the data they track from them and be more transparent about their methods.

Keeping these companies accountable gives the power of personal information back to the user. However, there is still no formal procedure to claim rights to request information from companies that have been holding on to personal information, like Whitepages and Google. Finding where your information is located and being used by data brokers and tech companies is extremely difficult, especially with years of internet usage. Going through removal from Whitepages alone can be a time-consuming process, despite the new parameters for transparency and accountability. What about all of the other sites that you never approved to have access to your personal data?

Available for American citizens, DeleteMe provides services like Blur and DeleteMe to remain anonymous and protect your personal information from data brokers and data controllers. While the GDPR is constructed to improve privacy, it doesn’t provide a clear solution to protect your existing data online and retrieve it from undesirable entities.

DeleteMe allows individuals to remove personal information from Google by requesting removal from Whitepages, Spokeo, Intelius, Been Verified, and more. European citizens can utilize Blur to remain anonymous online and not give out personal information for subscription services, data controllers, and other sources. Protect your privacy and own your data by proactively using tools to remove information from Google and stay anonymous when you need to be.

About DeleteMe

DeleteMe empowers average people to control how their personal information is accessed and shared online. By removing details like names, addresses and phone numbers from websites like PeopleFinders, Spokeo and DexKnows, this subscription service helps clients remove personal information from Google.

For more information, visit Joindeleteme.com

Original Source: https://goo.gl/YUfs8z

 

5 Easy Ways to Protect Your Privacy Online

In light of the recent Facebook privacy crisis, protecting your personal information online is more difficult than previously thought. Worried about what information anyone can see about you from a simple Google or Facebook search? Here are five ways to protect your privacy online without having to go completely off the grid.

Mindfully Protect Your Personal Information

Think of the difference between purchasing something in a brick-and-mortar store versus buying an item online. If the cashier asks for your phone number or email, you’re definitely not as likely to give it to them. However, if it’s part of a computer form, you likely will hand it over because it’s “a step in the process.”

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If personal information is not required for a purchase or other service, don’t freely provide it. Personal data like your purchases, birthday date, email, reviews, credit scores, job applications, home addresses, and other information are constantly collected by data brokers. Protect your privacy by mindfully keeping personal information to yourself. Setting up a disposable email or phone number can decrease the likelihood of someone stealing your identity or sensitive information.

Double-Check Your Privacy Settings

Facebook is one of the worst offenders when it comes to privacy settings. Never give them your personal email, phone number, or email address. This makes it easier for them to track your activity online and offline. It can often be more difficult to clean up your Facebook profile than seeking removal from Whitepages.

Update your privacy settings on social media to increase security and decrease the public access to your information, opinions, or the private information of family and friends. Make your profile viewable to friends only. Turn on tag review and profile post review. If you let your Friends of Friends see your posts and other information, that allows up to 150,000 people to freely access your profile.

Lastly, don’t overshare, and be vigilant about only friending people who you know to be real and have relationships with outside of social media.

Set Up a Disposable Email

Creating a disposable email makes it easier to ensure you know what information is tracked back to you online. Use a desktop extension, like Blur by Abine, to consistently use a masked email to protect your information when completing purchases or signing up for things.

Any emails sent to the masked email will be forwarded to your personal email without any tracking from the sender. This is a simple way to increase your privacy online and make it harder for data brokers or other people to find personal information.

Delete Old Accounts

When was the last time you logged onto your old Myspace account? Take some time to go through old social media or other accounts and delete them if you no longer use them. They might be a source of information for data brokers and other searchers to gain information about you without your consent.

A quick Google search will often turn up Spotify accounts, websites, social media, and academic records. If there’s something out there that isn’t true or you don’t want other people to see, be vigilant about taking steps to remove personal information from Google.

Speak Up

If you’re frustrated about how difficult it is to maintain your privacy online, you are not alone. It’s important to speak up about online privacy to keep that right protected. Organizations like the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the American Civil Liberties Union actively support online privacy measures and always need financial and social supporters. Sign a petition, talk to your friends, and be intentional about keeping your information private.

Your personal information should remain just that – personal. Follow these steps to keep your digital footprint to a minimum and protect your data. DeleteMe by Abine protects your personal information for you by removing it from the source, like Whitepages and Google. They diligently remove your personal information from public sources every four months, with DeleteMe experts available to individually address your concerns and needs related to your privacy.

The consequences of doing nothing can be detrimental, from losing a job offer to having your identity stolen. Take back your information and your privacy by intentionally protecting your identity.

About DeleteMe

DeleteMe by Abine empowers average people to control how their personal information is accessed and shared online. By removing details like names, addresses and phone numbers from websites like PeopleFinders, Spokeo and DexKnows, this subscription service helps clients remove personal information from Google.

For more information, visit Joindeleteme.com

 

Original Source: https://goo.gl/Uafz3n

What are Data Brokers Doing with Your Information?

If you’ve never heard of data brokers, they are the wheelers and dealers of information—personal information—about you and, most likely, everyone you know. If that isn’t terrifying enough, these miscreants are bound by few regulations. They fly under the radar, buying and selling information, and it isn’t really known how many of these companies exist.

Think about how often you interact with the internet throughout the day; shopping, social media, work,if you use the internet at all, you are at risk.While there are companies that remove personal information from Google, it alone is not enough to ford the data mines that exist.  In North America, 95 percent of the population utilizes the internet, a 219 percent growth from the year 2000. Any interaction with the web has the possibility of divulging information about you, and data brokers are lying in wait to buy and sell that data, while you remain entirely unaware.

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Your name, address, age, religion, usernames, personal medical history, family medical history, political affiliations, income, sexual orientation, medications you take, ethnicity–are just the tip of the iceberg. According to former Federal Trade Commissioner Julie Brill, “Today, the quantity of personal information sucked into the cyber-vortex is growing exponentially. 1.8 trillion gigabytes of data were created in the year 2011 alone – that’s equivalent to every U.S. citizen writing three tweets per minute for almost 27,000 years. And it’s predicted that the total amount of data will double every two years from here on out.”

Once this data is collected, it is bought and sold to advertisers, businesses, even the government, to be used as they will. There is nothing illegal about the buying and selling of your information because there are next to no online privacy laws in the United States. The lack of regulation helps make data brokering a million-dollar business. The companies we are aware of make hundreds of millions of dollars.

So, what can you do to protect yourself?

Short of moving to a deserted island, protecting all your information from data brokers is impossible. They will always be hiding in the woodwork rooting out data. However there are ways to limit the information they can access, examples include:

  • Give up your store rewards card; it may give you discounts that encourage you to shop at a certain store. However, it is tracking everything you buy.
  • Disable cookies on your browsers and delete the ones you allow every day
  • Log out of social before browsing the web
  • Hire a company that trolls for your data and deletes it
  • Hire a company that hides your information

About Abine

Based out of Boston, Abine is a privacy company on a mission to make the internet a better, safer environment while putting people back in control of their data. Led by consumer protection, privacy, and identity theft experts, they are passionate about making easy-to-use privacy solutions for everyday people. From removal from whitepages to password and payment security they are here to help you navigate the convoluted thoroughfare that is the world wide web.

Get protected at Abine.com

 

Original Source: https://goo.gl/BH47jj

Some Tips for Protecting Your Reputation Online

How much is someone’s privacy worth? In some cases, it is literally worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

The New York Times reported in February 2018 that a woman in New Hampshire had won a $560 million Powerball jackpot. However, lottery officials would not give her the money because she wished to keep her identity anonymous.

That might seem excessively cautious at first, but consider this: Even without giving her name away, the woman—known only as “Jane Doe”—got flooded with offers from people saying they would claim the winnings on her behalf (for a price, of course). Imagine how many vultures and nuts would come out if her name were made public!

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From unwanted marketing messages to identity thieves, average citizens face their own struggles regarding personal information on the internet. Here are some ways that people can protect their privacy and good names online, including listing removal from Whitepages and other sites.

Remove Personal Info from Websites

Go online and search your name. You might be surprised where you find your information.

How does your info end up on these different websites? One big reason is data brokers. These are companies that collect information on people and sell it to others. They can get this information in a variety of ways, including the following:

  • Public records
  • Forms that you fill out online
  • Websites that you visit

Big data sites include Intelius, MyLife and PeopleFinder. These sites have their own set of steps for removing someone’s personal information, each of which can vary in difficulty. On top of that, you could have info removed only to have it pop back up a few months down the road.

Granted, preserving someone’s privacy can be worth all that work. There are also companies and services that can help you remove personal information from Google and data sites.

Be Cagey With Your Info

In a perfect world, you would not need to think twice about filling out a form online or fleshing out your Facebook profile. Sadly, this is not a perfect world. Therefore, you should be wary of information that you post or submit online. For example, you could set up a separate email account exclusively for signing up for services or shopping. Also, do not list details like your personal email and phone number on your Facebook profile.

DeleteMe helps people take control of their online presence and privacy. With this service, clients can have their information removed from data sites on an ongoing basis.

About DeleteMe

DeleteMe byAbine is a hands-free subscription service that helps clients with information removal from Whitepages and other websites. It gives average people the ability to protect their digital privacy.

For more information, visit Abine.com

 

Original Source: https://goo.gl/AqdvzC

 

Online Privacy: Why Is It So Important?

Some might find all the talk about people wanting to remove personal information from Google and other websites just a little hysterical. Here are some thoughts on why online privacy is so critical right now.

Privacy and Behavior

Some people might say to themselves, “Hey, privacy is not that big a deal. What do I have to hide? And as for all that marketing junk, I’m not an idiot. I just don’t pay any attention to that stuff.”

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First of all, it is important to note that the fight over privacy (both online and offline) is not about having “something to hide.” In other words, it is not about having the license to do bad things. It is about having the freedom to do good things. It is about having the ability to live our lives with a reasonable level of security, dignity and autonomy.

When a person has privacy, they can have the comfort and confidence needed to be themselves. They can do anything from dancing and singing along to Abba to writing a treatise on world peace. Would that same person be able to do these things if they knew—or, at the very least, feared—that someone was watching them? Maybe not.

Think about it for a minute. Do you act the same way with your best friends as you do around your grandmother? More likely than not, no. Your behavior changes according to who can see it. When you do not keep watch or keep control over your personal information online, it is like leaving your stuff out for hundreds, thousands or millions of grandmothers to see.

The Consequences of Online Info

Grandmothers are not really the ones you need to worry about, of course. There are people who might use someone’s personal information for darker ends. For example, suppose that someone has a violent sociopath stalking them. This unfortunate person would most likely look up “removal from whitepages” on their search engine of choice very quickly. Also, a person would probably want their address or phone number taken off a website if somebody used that info to commit fraud.

The subscription service DeleteMe can help people take control of their online footprint. Customers can protect their privacy by having their personal information removed from a wide range of websites.

About DeleteMe

DeleteMe by Abine helps give average people the ability to manage how their personal information is shared and viewedonline. The hands-free subscription service helps clients remove personal information from Google. By removing their names, addresses and other details from sites like Spokeo, Intelius and PeopleFinder.

For more information, visit Abine.com

 

Original Source: https://goo.gl/5zWkwx

Some Tips for Removal from WhitePages and Other Websites

After hundreds of millions of people were affected by the Cambridge Analytica data fiasco, many find that their personal information is no longer private. Unlike the physical phone books of the past, WhitePages and other websites like Spokeo and Intelius collect personal information available on the internet without permission. Some websites even sell this information to individuals and companies who want phone numbers, email addresses, or physical addresses.

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Because the information is technically public, this creates a complicated and confusing situation. How are they gathering this information? Is information removal from WhitePages possible without deleting social media accounts? Who is looking at your private information without your knowledge or control?

How Does Whitepages.com Gather Information?

Phone and utility companies are a source for WhitePages to retrieve contact information attached to personal addresses and phone numbers. Other sources include social media, emails, and any information already available on the internet. While this may seem vague, third-parties routinely collect personal information for a variety of reasons from sources like Facebook and Twitter.

Allowing your personal information to be used for something as innocuous as a personality quiz often, unfortunately, result in your phone number and email being posted publically. This may seem like thorough work for a company to produce personal information for millions of people regularly, but since most of the material is readily available, third-party technology can easily source it without thorough, time-consuming research.

Steps for Removing Information from Whitepages.com

WhitePages posts various bits of personal information, from home addresses to phone numbers, email addresses to occupations. This kind of vulnerability can be uncomfortable or even dangerous for some people and exceptional circumstances. To remove personal information from Google or Yahoo searches, you’ll first need to remove it from White Pages. In the case of WhitePages, there are two types of listings that you may find about yourself: Premium vs. non-premium listings. Here’s how to remove your information from WhitePages:

Premium Listings:

  1. Go to Whitepages.com and search for yourself using your full name, city and state
  2. Right click “View Full Report”, and then copy the link location
  3. Go to: https://support.whitepages.com/hc/en-us/requests/new?ticket_form_id=580868
  4. Enter your email address, write “Remove My Listing” as the subject and description inside the opt-out form
  5. Paste the link that was copied in step 2
  6. Submit the opt-out form

Non-Premium Listings:

  1. Go to Whitepages.com and search for yourself using your full name, city and state
  2. Right click on “View Details”, and then copy the link location
  3. Go to: https://www.whitepages.com/suppression_requests
  4. Paste the link copied in step 2
  5. Click “opt-out”
  6. Click “Remove Me” once the listing appears
  7. Select a reason for removal
  8. Click submit
  9. Enter your phone number, check the box that you affirm you are the person associated with the listing, and click “Call now to verify”
  10. You’ll receive an automated call from WhitePages; enter the 4 digit verification code displayed on your screen using your keypad on your phone

The Catch to Personally Removing Information

WhitePages is not the only company posting personal information publicly. There are dozens of websites that post and sell information to companies and individuals. It can take hours, if not days, to go through every process to remove or hide this information. And, you often need to create an account with the company using an email address to remove the information at all. Using a service like DeleteMe removes personal information from Google, WhitePages, and any other sites makes your personal information private again without the hassle.

About DeleteMe

DeleteMe by Abine assists people with information removal from Whitepages, Spokeo, Intelius and other websites. This hands-free subscription service allows average people to minimize their online footprint and protect their digital privacy.

For more information, visit Joindeleteme.com

 

Original Source: https://goo.gl/WSaUWV