There are many websites that sell or provide for free, personal information about individuals. This information is gathered from many sources including white pages listings (directory assistance), publicly-available sources and public records.
Directory Listings: To prevent the cross-referencing of your address with your phone number, you can choose to not have your information available in the phone book or through directory assistance. If your number is “unlisted,” your name, address and phone number will not be printed in the phone book, but the information is available through both directory assistance and reverse directory assistance. If your number is “unpublished,” your information will not be printed in the phone book and is not available through directory assistance or reverse directory assistance. Or you can list your name and phone number, but not your address. Telephone companies usually charge a monthly fee to be unlisted or unpublished.
Keep in mind that public records can contain errors, e.g. your name was confused with someone else or the current status of your case is not included. An Internet data broker will not correct such errors. They will instruct you to correct errors with the court or other source of the record.
Last, opting out may prove to be a fruitless venture since often online vendors will simply repopulate the data when they obtain their next download of information from the source. According to People Data, their information is refreshed every three to four months. Your only option would be to check back and go through the opt-out process again if you find your information has been reposted. (more…)