Overview of the first few things you’ll do after signing up.
Start by Clicking on the “View” Links in the “Link to Profile” Column of the Dashboard
What Optery does better than any other company, including Google, is help you quickly understand which people search sites (a type of data broker) have profiles on you and are exposing or selling your personal details to anyone in the world. Right now, we have 270 in our database. Based on the information you provide when you sign up for Optery (e.g. first name, last name, middle name, birth year), we have assembled direct links to your exposed profile pages at the top data brokers.
Sometimes these links are not perfect, and other people may be listed, or you might not be there at all, but in most cases, they allow you to quickly view a snapshot of where your personal details are exposed online. The quality of our results sometimes varies, for example, if you have a common name like “John Smith” or “Mary Smith”, it might be difficult to find your profiles among many others with the same name. Adding a middle name or a full birthdate to your Optery profile often helps. Keep in mind, we are constantly improving our platform, and we have a lot of things in the works to improve these results.
Decide If You Want to Take Action and Start Removing Your Profiles
After clicking 10 – 20 of these links, you should start to get a sense of where your information is exposed, and it’s time to decide if you’d like to take action to have your profiles removed. Turning a blind eye to these types of companies (i.e. people search data brokers) that broadcast your information to the world for anyone to find can really come back to bite you.
These sites are used to find long lost friends, but they’re also used by identity thieves, hackers, spammers, phishers, doxers, swatters, stalkers, criminals, investigators, and lawyers to act against you. In a world where personal information has increasingly become weaponized, there’s a growing movement of people that are taking action to remove their profiles from these types of sites.
Option 1 – Start Removing Your Profiles On Your Own (Self Service)
If you’d like to remove the profiles yourself, you can click the ‘show more’ toggle in the ‘More Info” column of the Dashboard for each data broker and navigate to the data broker’s self-service opt out page. Once there, you can start filling in the forms and submitting your removal requests by yourself. You can often email these companies directly with requests for removal and they will comply. We’ve done our best to gather the opt out URLs and email addresses for the top people search site data brokers.
Important Tip: When submitting opt out and removal requests to these companies directly, we highly recommend creating a disposable email address for this, and Not using your primary email address, as just reaching out to them often adds you to their lists.
Option 2 – Upgrade to a Paid Plan and We’ll Submit Removals For You
If you don’t have the time to submit and manage the removals yourself, you can upgrade to a paid plan and we’ll submit the removals for you. These people search data broker companies are often difficult to deal with, and there are so many of them, that many people find it’s a better use of their time to pay us to remove their profiles for them. If you sign up for a paid plan, removals typically start happening within 1 – 3 business days after you upgrade and the status of removals are displayed in the Removals In Progress and Removals Completed tabs of the Dashboard.
Add More Details to Your Profile
When you sign up for Optery, we require the bare minimum information necessary to find your profiles online (i.e. first name, last name, city, state, and birth year). If you don’t provide that basic information, it’s difficult for us to find your profile among the millions of others out there for visibility in the Dashboard and for removals.
After signing up, we recommend navigating to the Manage Profile page and updating your profile. The more info you provide, the better we’ll be able to find your profiles. For free plan users, this means the View links will be of better quality, and you can view more of them. For paid plan users, providing more information makes it easier for us to locate all profiles and remove them on an ongoing basis.
Hint: If you’re going to add more details to your profile, the most impactful things you can add are: middle name, birthdate, phone number, home address, the names of relatives, and different versions of your own name, for example a maiden name, or other names you might have gone by in the past (Steven and Steve, or Katherine and Kathy).