GET STARTED NOW: Remove your info from Yellow Pages and 25+ other data brokers sharing your information online with BrandYourself’s Protect Private Info tool.
Opting yourself out of Yellowpages.com is one of many important steps you can take to better safeguard your private information online.
Before we get into how to do that, let’s take a closer look at what purpose the website serves.
You’re probably familiar with the printed yellow pages that have been arriving on door steps for years. Yellowpages.com is the digital version.
The site is an easy way to look up information on both businesses and people.
- Business Listings – search any type of small business including restaurants, dentists, auto repair shops, veterinarians, and more. Businesses can list a profile that includes operation info, hours, contact info, photos, and even customer reviews.
- People Search – allows you to look up people by name, address, or phone number.
YellowPages is owned and operated by Thryv, a company that provides technology solutions to small businesses. No surprise there, especially considering the site’s emphasis on small businesses. If you’re a small business, then you likely want your business information to populate on the site, however, the average person probably prefers their personal information (addresses, phone number, email, age, etc.) to stay off the web.
For the purpose of this guide, we’ll focus on the people search functionality.
How did Yellow Pages get my information?
The YellowPages people search engine is actually powered by another data broker company, Intelius. This practice is pretty commonplace amongst data brokers.
Much of the same types of information can be found on different data broker and people search sites because they are all pulling from similar sources, including government and public records, social media sites, third party databases, and even other brokers.
What type of information do they have?
You can look up information on someone a few different ways: by name, by address, or through reverse phone number lookup.
A basic search on yellowpages.com produces a person’s full name, mailing address, and phone number. You can then click through to be brought to a more detailed report. This report includes a person’s age, additional known phone numbers, location history, work history, education, and known relatives. All of this information is available for free.
From here, you can purchase a more advanced report that includes:
- Full contact info (phone, email)
- Additional Aliases
- Social Networks
- Neighbors / additional relatives
- Property records
- Criminal records
- Judgements / lawsuits
- Marriage / divorce records
Having this type of information on the web puts you at a greater risk for identity theft, scammers, telemarketers, robo callers, and more.
Is this legal?
Because the information is a matter of public record, it is legal for sites like yellowpages.com to post your personal details. The law has simply not completely caught up with the prolific nature of the Internet. The good news, is that these sites will remove your information at upon request (more on that below)
Additionally, legislation has been slowly rolling out that serves to further protect consumer privacy on the web. Three particularly significant pieces of legislation include Europe’s GDPR, Vermont’s Protection of Private Info law, and the newest California Privacy Protection Act. Protection under GDPR only extends to EU citizens and it is a relatively complex law, but at its core, it requires companies that operate in the EU to not only completely erase any information they have on someone at their request, but it also allows individuals to request a copy of the information that the company had on them.
Vermont’s law was significant in the US because it required any company participating in the buying and selling of consumer information to register with the state of Vermont. This provided the first visibility into data brokers and just how large the industry is.
The newest registration, California’s law provides its residents the right to have their information removed from a company’s databases as well as request what information was originally collected and how. Although it only extends to California’s residents, it’s forced many people search sites to implement further private info removal processes.
Opt your information out of Yellowpages.com manually
Since Yellow pages is powered by Intelius, it’s best to opt yourself out of Intelius directly. This not only removes your information from Intelius, but from any other data broker site that it powers with its search engine (yellowpages.com for one).
It takes some time, but here is how to manually remove your information.
- Navigate to Intelius’ Opt-Out page.
- Search for your name within their database
- Select the record that contains your information
- Put your email in to submit the opt out request
- Check your email for the verification email – this part is important, as your opt out request will not be processed unless you click the link in the confirmation email
- It will take a few days for the opt out request to be processed and for the information to be removed
Keep in mind:
- Check back to confirm the information has been removed – You won’t receive a confirmation that the information has been removed, so you will need to check yellowpages.com in a few days to make sure the info has been taken down.
- It’s common for information to be reposted – since these sites gather their information by scraping other sources, it’s common for information to be reposted in some capacity even once it was removed. That’s why it’s important to continuously monitor Yellowpages, and other data brokers, to ensure that your information hasn’t been reposted. If it has, then you will need to go through the opt out process again.
- Your name and info is on other sites similar to YellowPages – You will need to go through the opt out process with other data brokers as well. Each site has its own process. If you’re looking to do this on your own, Google your name to get a sense of which data brokers have your info.
Remove your info quickly with BrandYourself
The process of removing your info from sites like YellowPages can be time-consuming, especially when you consider just how many sites are out there that have your information. Each one usually has its own opt-process that requires different steps for each.
That’s why we developed our Protect Private Info tool — it finds and removes your exposed personal information on 25 of the most common data broker websites. Since it’s common for these sites to repost information, the tool also includes ongoing monitoring and removal to ensure your privacy is always protected.
Here’s how to get started:
1. Get your free privacy scan
If you don’t already have a BrandYourself account, create one for free here. You’ll notice that we offer a few different features that speak to different aspects of managing your online presence, including tools to clean up social media, improve personal Google results, and protect online privacy. Navigate to the “Protect Private Info” tab
Put in your name and age to kick off your free privacy scan- we’ll also ask you to verify your location.
2. Upgrade to begin removing your information automatically
Once the scan is complete, we’ll show you what type of information we found and on which websites. For us to remove the information, simply upgrade to our premium Protect Private Info feature.
3. Breathe easy – we’ll take things from here!
There’s nothing else for you to do. We’ll send you regular email updates on our progress and you can check in any time on the status of your removals within your BrandYourself account. We’re constantly scanning the sites on your behalf and if we identify it has been reposted, we’ll remove it.
Continue to be diligent about your online privacy
As we’ve mentioned, Yellow pages is just one of many sites that are posting your information online. Being aware of and opting out of sites that are publicly sharing your personally identifiable information (name, address, age, phone, email, relatives, etc.) is one critical step to safeguarding your privacy on the web.
Two other steps you should take:
- Stay up to date on company data breaches and exposure on the Dark Web – it seems every few weeks, you hear about a company who experienced a data breach resulting in the personal information of its customers/users being leaked to the Dark Web. These types of breaches elevates your risk of people using your info maliciously. While you can’t remove something once it’s on the dark web, there are steps you can take to mitigate some of the risks. We developed a Dark Web Scan that will notify you if your information has been involved in over 350 (and counting) known data breaches.
- Delete old accounts you no longer use – Over the years, you’ve probably signed up for dozens of accounts, newsletters, mailing lists, etc. You’re likely not even using many of the sites anymore (or remember signing up for them in the first place). It’s best practice to close out any accounts you don’t use to minimize the number of places with your information. We released a free tool that helps you to identify old accounts you’ve created and helps you to clean them up – just access it in your BrandYourself account.