How much of your personal information is available for free online? Watch as Josh takes an anonymous dating profile and turns it into a Google Street View of the guy’s front door. You may be surprised how easy it is to dig personal information online!
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Last month, a friend of mine asked for a special favor. She met a guy from an online dating site and wanted to learn more about the guy before she becomes too emotionally involved.
In less than 20 minutes, I was able to find:
- His full name;
- His home address;
- His cell phone number;
- …and other juicy information.
Keep in mind: I did NOT hack his profile nor did I do something illegal.
I simply used publicly available information that is accessible for anyone on the internet. So, if you think you are completely anonymous online, think again!
3 Steps You Can Take For Better Anonymity
So with this in mind, what can you do to protect yourself from the exposure of this kind of publicly available data? Here are three steps you can take:
- Make Your Social Media Accounts Private. Unless you are building a public personal brand, there is no good reason for you to have a public account! In fact, most of the information I was able to dig up from this “anonymous” guy was from his Instagram account. So, make sure to keep your Instagram account private by activating a simple switch on the privacy setting. Facebook is slightly more complicated but I walked through the process in this Facebook Privacy video.
- Remove Your Personal Data Online. Did you know that a ton of your old information is still circulating around the internet? Don’t worry! You can manually go through and find all of these data dumps and submit a request to remove your profile information. Here’s a DIY Data Removal Guide on how to do these for free. Another option is using a service like DeleteMe to find and scrub all your private information off the internet.
- Online Anonymity is a MYTH!! While this might be the case, do not give up. The pursuit of privacy is a worthy goal. In other words, be prepared, not paranoid!
Further increase your online privacy by watching this new video where I walk you through the step-by-step process on how I erased my address, my phone number and other private information from the internet.