Remove Phone Listing

Category: Privacy , Security

I just did a search for my phone number on Google and was shocked at the results that popped up. It showed my full name, street address and a map of my neighborhood with a big arrow pointing to my house! One more click and it showed a satellite photo of my house. I could see the car in the driveway and the dog in the back yard. How can I remove my personal information from Google and other online phone directories?

Should You Remove Your Listing From Online Phone Directories?

I agree that it can be a bit of a shock to learn that some information you thought was private, is in fact very public. You've known all your life that your name, address and phone number are in the phone book. It's common sense that your neighborhood can be found on a map of your city. And satellite photos are nothing new. But websites that combine all of this information, and make it easy to find and act on... that's unsettling news to a lot of people.

But should it be? Seven years ago, Sun Microsystems CEO Scott McNealy said "You have zero privacy... get over it." As more and more public information becomes available online (such as property ownership records, voter registration, political donations, court filings) and more people willingly post private information online (think Myspace, YouTube, photo sharing, genealogy) we do become a much more transparent society.

That transparency can be both good and bad. It allows good, law-abiding citizens to easily find information that can help them educate and protect themselves. But it also enables miscreants to quickly gain access to information that can be used to perpetrate identity theft and other crimes. My personal opinion is that the potential for good outweighs the prospects for evil, because this wealth of information is freely available to everyone. But if you disagree, or feel uncomfortable about how others can access public information about you, read on.
phone directory

Remove Me, Please

If you want to remove your listing from the most popular online telephone directories, here are the links and instructions to do so. Note that this is not an exhaustive list, but it does cover all the major sources, and most of the smaller ones are powered by the databases of the ones below.

remove listing from phone directory

Other Privacy Boosters

As I mentioned above, even if you get your phone listing removed from all of the directories above, it still might be found by a search elsewhere. Do a search for your phone number at both Google and Yahoo, then follow up on any hits by contacting the site's owner or webmaster. The Whois database can help you find the registered owner of a site if there is no contact info provided.

Another option is to get a new unlisted phone number. Most phone companies charge a small fee for this, but it is very effective because all of the major phone directories update their web databases at least quarterly, and the ones that don't update will have your old incorrect number.

For further reading on privacy and online security, I recommend these articles:

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Posted by on 15 Dec 2010


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Most recent comments on "Remove Phone Listing"

(See all 41 comments for this article.)

Posted by:

Diana
21 Jul 2009

Thanks so much for all this info. I didn't realize that my name and phone number was all over the internet!

Well, I'm going to fix all of this tomorrow.

Thanks again...


Posted by:

Joe
23 Aug 2009

people keeping getting my number off the internet and calling for my daughter, and she is too young to date. so people could you remove all records of my name, address, and number off the web.

EDITOR'S NOTE: You're barking up the wrong tree. The "people" you need to contact are not reading this forum. My advice: get an unlisted number.


Posted by:

Gina
12 Nov 2009

I used Opt Out Detectives they provide pre-written letters to all the companies that require written opt out request's along with your info to get me off the list's. It's worked great! thanks for the help!


Posted by:

deepa
10 Feb 2010

i want to remove my phone no on the google web page.

EDITOR'S NOTE: So you visited the link I provided for that right? And what happened?


Posted by:

Jim H****feld
22 Feb 2010

I just want to say.Tonight after several hours due due a wrong number calling me,i happened to find all my info on the web,and because of your web site i was able to remove all my info per every web site that you listed.thank you so much..


Posted by:

jb
26 May 2010

Thanks for the guide; the Yahoo page has since changed, it just redirects to a generic search page. Everything else worked great, thanks for putting this together.


Posted by:

gigi
04 Jun 2010

hi
please i wanna delete my history call phone number on my skype cann help me?


Posted by:

LIONEL WYCOFF
31 Jul 2010

REMOVE MY CELL NUMBER FROM YOUR LISTING,DONT CALL ME AT HOME,AND DONT E-MAIL ME.THANKS;

EDITOR'S NOTE: Sorry, you're barking up the wrong tree. I suggest you read the article on which you have commented.


Posted by:

jcomputerguy
06 Aug 2010

after hours of trying to figure out how to get my private info off line,i came to this site after finding me on line..oh my gosh i was all over the internet.. first i want to add for people on this page that are saying they are un able to remove info.. its not very difficult .. heres a hint .. do a research on your self ..on all the links that bob shows ... and make sure your at your listing..you have to click on your info and then at bottom of page it says remove info or remove link.. a thank you to bob


Posted by:

jim h****feld
20 Aug 2010

ok heres what puzzels me. i put a comment on your web site and i used my first and last name like your site says,but guess what i do a google search and i find my self online.. right to this web site..please since this is your doing.. remove my name from your web site.. you may post what i say,but dont use my first and last name for google search.. for privacy reasons .. thank you

EDITOR'S NOTE: I can't see why that puzzles you. If you post to an online forum, and give your full name, you should expect that it will be published (just like with a letter to the newspaper editor) -- and that a Google search would find it. I will modify your name for this and the other posting you made, but you'll have to use initials or a fake name in the future.


Posted by:

bfhfh vhjj
11 Nov 2010

What troubles me is how this editor thinks the good outweighs the bad. He's naive.

EDITOR'S NOTE: What troubles me is people who make judgments based on opinion.


Posted by:

Cais
11 Nov 2010

My concern about being publicly listed is that I have lately been getting mail for other people who share my name regarding very important things e.g. student loans that aren't actually mine because some companies seem to do a national "sweep" of the name they are looking for when the original contact info they have is deemed invalid. I've gone ahead and requested that my info be removed from the sites you listed, but since you mentioned that phone directies update their databases quarterly, I take it thst removing my contact info will be an ongoing process unless I get a new, unlisted number. Correct?


Posted by:

Chris
14 Feb 2011

How can I ensure that my address is not online anywhere? My job is a little bit shady and I do not want anyone to be able to locate me via my name.


Posted by:

Ali
15 Feb 2011

Someone has posted my number on the internet as a girl's number and I am fed up with the calls ive been recieving, please help me out by explaining how to delete my number from there. Thanx ...


Posted by:

Lucy
04 May 2011

Thanks for all the sites I need to visit to get my info removed. I'll get on to that today.

I have always had an unlisted number and it is online and attached to my name and address. I think companies I buy from must sell the information.


Posted by:

bamboobunny
26 Feb 2012

Sending an email to webmaster@switchboard.com bounces back. Apparently that doesn't work.

Lots of these sites you have to pay to see your phone listing in their database.

In other words, you have to register on the site that has the listing for your phone number. Then you do the search for your phone number, then look for the edit/remove if it's there to delete that phone number.

Some sites will have you opt-out or fax that information to them.

I went through all of this removing my address from the internet. Now I have to go through all this again to remove my cell phone number from the internet.


Posted by:

Just a Private Guy
08 May 2012

Ok, this info is useful, BUT... The very act of typing in your name, address, and/or phone number is going to LINK YOU via your I.P. Number and ISP service to all this info, so you are only giving away MORE info every time you try to OPT OUT of these snoop services. Further, many of the services, like zabasearch.com and ancestry.com and reunion.com, etc., will DEMAND even MORE info from you before they will "consider" removing your private information that they've harvested without your permission or knowledge and are providing to others, for a fee, or for free. Many want a copy of your driver license! (i.e., now they have your likeness in their databases too). Some will demand copies of your birth certificate or marriage license! Their gall is unlimited.

There have to be more LAWS & PENALTIES for violating our privacy before any of this will be effective--not too likely, given that powerful lobbyists are who drives this constant eroding of our privacy in America.

PS It helps to mention "lawsuit" when you contact the snoops and demand that they remove your info... Good luck.


Posted by:

Just a Private Guy
08 May 2012

P.S. Thanks for the nice Confirmation page to let us know our comment was received.

P.P.S. Ancestry.com actually indexes and makes public people's DIVORCE records on their site, and it's searchable via google. This goes beyond the pale and should be illegal. That kind of stalking is not what "public records" were ever intended for. In this internet age, it is way too easy to violate people's privacy and boundaries, jeopardizing their security and peace of mind.


Posted by:

Jim Barker
08 Oct 2012

I have a new phone with a re-cycled number. The company that had the number is no longer in business. Their ads are still everywhere on the net and I am getting inundated with calls for this business. I went to the appropriate site on Google to delete the number and an error message keeps coming up stating url not on this server. I have tried computers at work, home, and friends. Same message. You even do reverse directory and the business comes up. PLEASE HELP ME!


Posted by:

Zachary Wayne
11 Dec 2013

Thanks for the useful information, I tried to delete my phone number from all these catalogs, but then I realized - there are so many of them on the Internet that I'm going to need a whole week to check all of them. Still, the pages you have listed are the most important ones, another suggestions to look up and remove personal information are YELP.com, http://www.showmelocal.com and yellowpages.com.


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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Remove Phone Listing (Posted: 15 Dec 2010)
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