Remove Your Name, Address, and More Off This Site!
There are numerous websites that offer online background checks about people who have no idea that their information is available with these searches. This presents huge privacy risks when it comes to personal data. Any access to personal information can result in identity theft, a crime in which someone impersonates another as a means of stealing money from bank accounts, charging credit cards, opening new accounts, receiving medical treatment, or various other forms of fraud.
Identity thieves intentionally violate the privacy of others. They use the personal information of other people for financial gain, to create legal troubles, and more. Unfortunately, victims of identity theft due to stolen personal information can spend years repairing damage to their credit rating, legal reputation, and financial situation. This often comes at serious economic and emotional cost.
Of course, not everyone becomes a victim of identity theft. However, any access to your personal data creates the potential for privacy invasion. Therefore, it’s essential to understand how to secure your privacy by removing your name, address, and more from websites such as Instant Checkmate.
What Is Instant Checkmate?
Instant Checkmate (instantcheckmate.com) claims to be a public records search service that allows its patrons to perform “instant” online background checks on anyone in America. The site offers “immediate access” to the following when a search is performed:
- Criminal records
- Arrest records
- Related court documents
- Any aliases
Information provided by this website in the form of background reports is taken from public records at the federal, state, and local levels. It’s made public by laws designed to increase government transparency. However, this data, potentially compiled and provided by Instant Checkmate, is most certainly considered personally identifiable information (PII). Therefore, if your PII is available on this website, your privacy is at risk. You need to protect yourself by removing your name, address, and more from this site.
How Is Available Information Online a Privacy Risk?
Your privacy is at risk through the online presence of or any attempt to collect personally identifiable information (PII). PII refers to specific or full pieces of identifiable data that can be used to determine or trace someone’s identity.
Examples of PII include:
- Full, legal name
- Social security number
- Phone number
- Driver’s license number
- Email address
- Court documents
If any of your PII is available online, especially through a website such as Instant Checkmate where people are deliberately searching for personal information, you are at risk of compromised privacy. This risk can include identity theft and other privacy breaches that may jeopardize your mental, emotional, and financial well-being for years.
How to Remove Your Name, Address, and More from Instant Checkmate
There are two options for removing your name, address, and other PII from Instant Checkmate:
The first option for deleting your background report information from this site is to send an “opt out request” through the mail. Unfortunately, along with your request to opt out, Instant Checkmate requires personal data. They ask that your request include:
- First and last name
- Address, city, state, zip code
- Date of birth
- Locations in which you have lived
- Any other “pertinent” identifying information to ensure accurate removal of your background report
The address for mailing the opt out request is: Instant Checkmate, ATTN: Opt Out, 3111 Camino Del Rio N Suite 400, San Diego, CA 92108. This information can also be found on their website.
A better method of removing your PII from Instant Checkmate than mailing an opt out request is to submit an “expedited opt out request” online. This is a much faster way to process removal of your personal data from the site. On Instant Checkmate’s website, there is an “opt out page” that features a form to fill out so that your information is removed as soon as possible.
Here are some directions to ensure that you properly submit your online opt out request. Essentially, you will need to use their site to search your own background information:
- You must enter your information exactly as it appears on the website itself. This is so Instant Checkmate can locate your background report for accurate removal.
- Check the site just in case you appear in multiple listings and/or reports. If there is more than one result for your name, you must complete a separate, individual online opt out form for each entry to be removed.
- Instant Checkmate requires an email address with the online opt out form in case they need to contact you with questions about your request.
Ironically, Instant Checkmate claims that removing your background report is “easy” and that individuals are “free to opt out” at any time. However, there are circumstances of which individuals should be aware. Instant Checkmate does not remove sex offender location data. In addition, the information compiled in the site’s background reports comes from public records which may still be visible on other websites. Instant Checkmate also stipulates that your name may remain as a possible “related person” in the reports of other people, and your email and phone information may still be present in their public database.
Once your information removal request is received, your background report should be removed from Instant Checkmate within 48 hours. It’s essential to continue checking to make sure all information has been removed from this site. If your background report is still available through Instant Checkmate, even after you have submitted your opt-out request, you can contact them at (800) 222-8985 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. It’s important to be vigilant and insistent about removing your PII from this website.
Unfortunately, there is no certain way of protecting your personal information and privacy when it comes to online sites. Though your personal report may be removed from Instant Checkmate as you opt out, there may be other publicly available sites that contain your information. In addition, securing your privacy by removing your information can take great time and effort.
However, when you limit any access to your PII, this can significantly reduce the chances that your privacy will be compromised by those conducting online searches. By securing privacy of your PII as much as possible, you reduce the risk of becoming a victim of identity theft or other devastating internet fraud.