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What Does PeopleFinders Do?
PeopleFinders is a personal information broker; providing background checks and aggregate records about people for over thirty years. PeopleFinders has a significant repository of information. For the average consumer, this may mean one of two things; either PeopleFinders offers an abundance of data about a target, or they offer an uncomfortable abundance of your information. Said another way, PeopleFinders' information access is excellent until your data is up for sale.
PeopleFinders allows users to search for a name, phone number, or address. The search results are typically already known unless the searcher purchases a membership to see more. The aggregate reports that PeopleFinders creates are not necessarily factual. There are often errors, misspellings, and wrongly associated information in the records. Consumers can create an account and request a correction of the data, but opting out is a better option.
Requirements to Remove Information From PeopleFinders
One requirement to opt out from PeopleFinders is an accessible email for verification. Creating an alternative email for things like opt out requests is recommended. Alternative emails help keep your cybersecurity bar high while providing serviceability. Additionally, members wanting to opt out of direct emails from PeopleFinders may do so (with limited impact).
When a consumer opts out, they make a specific type of request about their information. Those who opt out are not asking for limiting or deleting their data; instead, they want suppression. Data with a "suppression flag" is ineligible to be "sold or shared" with other entities (barring legal obligations). For average consumers, their public data stops appearing in search results but remains accessible to authorities.
People search websites gather bits of information through direct and indirect methods. The consumer willingly participating with the website has their information harvested; meanwhile, those who pass through web beacons have their data combed and parceled. Third parties, data warehouses, and licensors grant PeopleFinders access--even those who opt out may still be solicited by others.
Consumers Cannot Send Suppression Requests Via Mail or Email
Retention tricks like difficult opt out processes are a common element of search websites; their business is collecting data, not suppressing it. PeopleFinders' opt out solution is complicated for consumers because the only avenue is through their online form. Upon re-reading the shot above, the most decisive element that stands out is the form as the only singular option.
The implication that the online form is the only opt out option is empirically backed elsewhere on the website. Strangely enough, the place where it states this is the third section on their "Contact Us" page. Written under their mailing address is the single line:
Where to Start Your PeopleFinders Opt-Out
The tutorial below displays two opt out methods, each for a different type of consumer. Additionally, each impacts different elements of a person's data; choosing the right one is vital for your data privacy. Consumers can call the customer support line; it's particularly effective for those wanting to remove multiple records or the record of a minor. Further, all consumers can opt out using the online form hosted by the PeopleFinders website.
How to Opt-Out of PeopleFinders in 5 Minutes: Guided
Call Customer Support to Speak with a Live Agent
Consumers who need assistance from a live representative can call the hotline at 1-(800)-718-8997. Customer representatives are available Monday - Friday, 7:00 am - 6:00 pm PST, and Saturday - Sunday, 7:00 am - 3:30 pm PST. Calling outside these hours will result in rolled phones, suggesting the consumer call back.
During the live hours, consumers will be placed within a limited queue. They can do nothing to speak with an agent or interact with a small menu. The automated menu has information about privacy rights within options 3 and 4; however, completing their process results in a redirection to the form below. Once the consumer contacts a live rep, they must ask to "remove my name from PeopleFinders".
Opt-Out of PeopleFinders in 5 Minutes Using the Online Form
The PeopleFinders' opt out form has its nuances. While some people search websites are happy with a quick verification process, PeopleFinders' opt out requires a profile URL. Theoretically, this is understandable; they don't want to suppress the wrong record or weaken their data demographics. In practice, this can be frustrating. To gain a profile URL implies navigating to the profile "properly", which pressures the user into purchasing a membership. The process is quick, free, and immediately responsive unless the wrong link is used.
Open a new window or tab beside this one and follow along with the steps below. The process, start to finish, takes about five minutes; to get started, open PeopleFinders.com.
Enter the target person's name upon opening the main page. If it is your record, enter your name, if you're requesting suppression for someone else, use their name. Enter their residence city and state to narrow the search. Click the green "Search Now" button when ready.
The subject entered the search above returns only one record; with less information, the search results may reach the hundreds for busy cities. If your search has multiple records available, locate the one to be suppressed but do not click on it. Instead, right-click the "View Details" button and select "Copy Link Address" from the options.
The steps above are the only way currently (2023) to obtain the profile link. If the user clicks the button, they are redirected to a search screen, pushing the profile back behind a registration paywall. In other words, clicking the button puts the user closer to the profile but farther from the correct URL.
Once the URL is copied, open the PeopleFinders opt out form page. Note the options given on the page are "opt out" or "free identity monitoring". Ignore the solicitation and click the green "Next" button under "Opt Out".
Scroll down the form screen until the "Enter the URL" step is visible. Right-click the provided space and select "Paste" to drop the profile URL into the box. Take note of the "Example" URL they provide below the box. The URL must have a similar format to the example for the request to be validated.
After entering the correct URL, enter an accessible email for a verification link. Verify you're made of mettle with the CAPTCHA, then click the "Send Request" button.
The system returns the user to the main page of the form. After a few moments, the screen will darken and display a pop-up, redirecting the user to their email. Clicking "Okay" or the "X" in the top right closes the pop-up.
Meanwhile, there should be a new email from PeopleFinders in your Inbox. This email offers two links: the first is directly to the profile, denoted below with the blue arrow. The second is a link to further the opt out process, indicated by the red arrow. Click on the second link, and a new page will populate automatically.
On the "Manage Your Public Records" page, confirm once more you're human, then click the "Send Request" button.
The internal system will process the request immediately and send it for internal completion. Users will know they are finished when the green check mark confirmation below appears:
Confirm the Request Status on PeopleFinders