Providing online directory, identity verification, background check, and fraud screening services to both businesses and individuals, Whitepages is the largest website of its kind in the United States. However, the number of records held by the company is now falling as taking Whitepages opt-out measures becomes more and more popular.
Still, Whitepages currently boasts the largest database of contact information in the U.S., covering an estimated 90 percent of the adult population. With hundreds of millions of different records on file, Whitepages collects data about all of us from the companies we deal with, public records, property deeds, and more.
Over 50 million people now turn to Whitepages every month to look up details of others who they wish to snoop on, including their full names, ages, addresses, and plenty more besides. If you haven’t already taken steps to complete a Whitepages opt-out, your details are likely to be freely accessible to anyone wishing to search for them.
As of 2021, Whitepages continues to attract greater and greater criticism for the ease with which it allows people to look up information on others around them. Accordingly, there’s never been a better time to tackle Whitepages opt-out, once and for all.
On the surface, successfully undertaking a Whitepages opt-out appears straightforward. Whitepages offers what it calls a suppression request option. This, the company says, will allow you to opt-out of Whitepages and have your listing promptly removed from its website.
What Whitepages doesn’t tell you, however, is that this process only removes your basic Whitepages listing and not what’s contained within what’s known as Whitepages Premium.
While the regular Whitepages website offers a plethora of information about people from all walks of life for free, it also charges individuals and businesses for access to more in-depth details. The provision of this access is the basis of Whitepages Premium.
If you wish to successfully opt-out of both Whitepages and Whitepages Premium, follow the steps below.
Step 1: Find your Whitepages URL or URLs
To do this, search for yourself on the Whitepages website or look up your name on Google or Bing. Copy the links for any resulting pages. It’s a good idea, if you can, to take down the URLs for both your free Whitepages and paid Whitepages Premium listings.
If you’re searching for yourself via the Whitepages directory, right-click on your listing and choose to ‘copy link address’ instead of clicking normally. This is often the quickest and most effective way to find the URL for any listings on Whitepages Premium in particular.
Ascertaining your Whitepages URL or URLs is most easily accomplished on a desktop computer or laptop, but you can take similar steps to complete the process on your phone, tablet, and most other internet-enabled devices.
Step 2: Begin your Whitepages opt-out request
Instead of taking Whitepages’ automated suppression request route, head to the Whitepages Help Center to submit a manual request.
At first glance, the page appears to ask for more than a dozen pieces of information or steps to be completed. However, only a handful of these are strictly necessary and required to proceed. One or two others will help with achieving a successful Whitepages opt-out, so it’s a good idea to complete those, too. The rest, you can ignore if you wish.
Ideally, you’ll want to complete the following fields:
- Please choose your issue below
- Your email address
- Listing URL
- Please help us understand why you want your information to be removed
The first field gives a number of options, including ‘I have a question or feedback about one of your products,’ ‘I need help with account settings,’ ‘I need help with a mobile app,’ and ‘I need to cancel a membership.’
In this instance, select only ‘I need to edit or remove a listing.’
Next, fill out your email address and enter a URL – this can be for either your free Whitepages listing or a Whitepages Premium result.
If you’re armed with two or more URLs (for example, one free and one premium listing), you can submit both of these using the ‘Listing URL’ and ‘Description’ fields at the same time or complete two separate Whitepages opt-out requests, one for each URL.
Under the heading ‘Please help us understand why you want your information to be removed,’ select the most appropriate choice. Options include ‘My profile information is incorrect,’ ‘I am being harassed or stalked by someone,’ and ‘I just want to keep my information private.’
We’d recommend choosing ‘I just want to keep my information private’ in most cases.
Step 3: Add a subject and description to your Whitepages opt-out request
Complete the required ‘Subject’ and ‘Description’ fields as indicated by the red asterisks on the Whitepages Help Center ‘Submit a request’ page. Go for a subject akin to ‘Please remove all listings.’
In terms of a description, you may wish to say something along the lines of: Please remove both my regular Whitepages and Whitepages Premium listings as I want to keep my information private.
It may also prove pertinent to copy one or both of your Whitepages or Whitepages Premium listing URLs into this field, too. If you’ve entered your free Whitepages listing in the page’s ‘Listing URL’ field, be sure to enter the Whitepages Premium listing URL that you’ve also noted down in this section of the page or vice versa.
Complete the ‘I’m not a robot’ reCAPTCHA process to prove that you’re a real person, then click ‘Submit’ to proceed.
You may be asked to confirm your identity via email or telephone. For most people, though, this should not be necessary.
Once submitted, Whitepages claims that regular, free-tier opt-out requests will be taken care of within 24 hours, while Whitepages Premium opt-outs should be handled in under two days.
Where does Whitepages get its information?
Whitepages trawls various sources for information about all of us, including property deeds and other public records. Now raking in tens of millions of dollars in revenue every year selling such information via Whitepages Premium, the company also regularly turns to a variety of other sources.
These include sources focused on demographic data, online behavior, your preferred language, and other credentials used on the web.
The reality is that, in 2021, you’re highly likely to have had your information scraped together by Whitepages and its team. It’s for this reason that Whitepages opt-out is so crucial in maintaining a healthy level of privacy both online and offline.
Opting out of other websites
While Whitepages is the largest website of its kind, if you’re keen to comprehensively protect your privacy online, you’ll also want to take steps to remove yourself from other similar services. Among the biggest are Spokeo, BeenVerified, MyLife, and Instant Checkmate.
Spokeo is particularly concerning as it allows people to potentially look up your home address from the seemingly anonymous usernames you may have given yourself online.
Thankfully, and in light of growing criticism owing to the dangers posed by making individuals’ personal information and physical addresses freely available online, the Spokeo opt-out process at Spokeo.com/optout is relatively straightforward.
BeenVerified, meanwhile, provides people search services and criminal background checks via its website and mobile application, better known as the Background Check App.
Similarly, MyLife—previously known as both Wink.com and Reunion.com—is an information brokerage firm, founded in 2002 and operating in much the same way as both Whitepages and BeenVerified.
MyLife uses the information that it gathers to automatically generate so-called MyLife Public Pages. If you’re unhappy with this, be sure to also opt-out of MyLife at the same time as opting out of Spokeo, Whitepages, and BeenVerified.
Lastly, Instant Checkmate is a predominantly background check-focused service that uses criminal records and other information to create listings for its website. Be sure to opt-out here as well if you’re featured.
Free online privacy consultation
Whether you’re concerned about listings on Whitepages and similar websites or your online privacy more generally, at Internet Privacy, we’re here to help.
Experts in online privacy, reputation management, public relations, and more, for over a decade, we’ve been helping people to take back control of their names and the names of their brands and businesses.
Are you looking to take back control of your own name? Apply now for a free online privacy consultation courtesy of our team of reputation management gurus, analysts, and legal professionals. Contact our team today for more details.