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I have to tell you this story. When my college-bound son moved to Los Angeles, he asked me for the house number of a place I rented in the area 28 years ago for two months.
I laughed because I couldn’t remember. So, I was surprised!
About five minutes later, he texted me a link to a free people search site that showed that house number, along with all the other addresses where I’ve lived, my current address, links to my relatives, their ages, my age and even my personal cell phone number.
All this data was not behind a paywall. It only took a search for my name, and bam, privacy is gone.
That’s when I started an initiative on my site to list the exact steps to remove your data from these creepy people search sites.
HACKERS WANT GOOGLE ACCOUNTS; GIVE YOURS THIS SECURITY CHECKOUT NOW
These sites often hide the steps. Don’t worry, we’ve done the heavy lifting for you.
Tap or click for a list of 13 creepy sites that likely have your phone number, addresses, age, relatives, and more, along with steps to remove your information. I bet you’ll be amazed at what you see online about yourself that’s free.
Be sure to bookmark this page so you can refer to it later too.
A safer online life is just a few minutes away. Follow this list, and then pat yourself on the back for taking care of your digital self.
Hide your house on Google Maps and Apple Maps
As convenient as Google Maps and Apple Maps are, it’s unnerving when your home and address number are visible to anyone on the Internet. Here is a secret. You can request a privacy blur on images of your home.
Here’s how to submit a request to Google:
Tap the Street View photo you want to blur. The image must show your face, home, license plate, or other identifying information.
Click on “report a problem”. You’ll see this at the bottom right or by clicking the three-dot menu on a photo.
Fill out the form, then click “submit.”
For Apple Maps, you need to email MapsImageCollection@apple.com and do the following as well:
Ask that your house be blurred.
Provide Apple with your full address.
Include additional property details so Apple knows which house to censor.
Check for any strange behavior.
Spyware is malicious software that works silently in the background, tracking almost everything you do. These sneaky downloads leave behind digital clues if you know what to look for.
Task Manager on a Windows PC and Activity Monitor on a Mac can give you an overview of everything going on on your machine.
Here’s what to do if you’re using a PC:
Open Task Manager by pressing Ctrl+Shift+Esc. Under the Processes tab, you will see the apps and background processes running on your PC.
Look through the list. If you see a name you don’t recognize, look it up online to see what comes up. Sometimes these background programs and processes are legitimate and of no concern, even if you don’t know the name at first glance.
To close an application or a process, the right button of the mouse and hit Final task. Please check back later to see if it is working again.
Here’s what to do if you’re using a Mac:
To open Activity Monitor, touch Command + space bar to open Spotlight Search. Then write activity tracker and press Get into. Review the list to see if there’s anything you don’t recognize.
Double-click to close a program or process, then press Leave.
lock your computer
Leaving your computer unlocked invites anyone to come and snoop around. If your laptop is stolen or lost, it could also take you to a horrible place.
Lock yours with a strong and unique password. That means no repeats! Since you have to enter this password every time you open your computer, it should be something you can remember.
If your computer allows you to unlock it with biometric data, like your fingerprint, that’s an even easier solution.
Otherwise, use these same password guidelines for any online account:
Use a combination of letters, special characters, numbers, and uppercase.
Aim for at least 12 characters.
Consider creating a passphrase instead of a password. These are longer, harder to crack, and easier to remember. Tap or click here and scroll to #3 for more details on how to create one.
To lock down your Windows PC:
to go start > Settings > accounts.
Click Login Options from the left panel.
Click Add in the Password section.
Enter a new password. Click nextafter Finalize.
To lock your Mac:
When setting up a Mac, you are prompted to create a login password. Here’s how to set your password to unlock your computer:
Click on the apple iconafter System preferences.
Click security and privacy.
check the require password checkbox on the General tab.
Set the password time to immediately to set your Mac to lock automatically when it goes to sleep or screen saver mode.
Know this hidden vulnerability in your browser
Extensions allow you to customize your browser and add powerful features. But not all extensions are useful. Some track you across the Internet, consume your computer’s resources, and worse.
How can you know what is safe? Google Chrome assigns a “Featured” badge to extensions that follow Google’s “technical best practices” and meet a high standard for design and user experience.
Hey, at least it’s something.
PRIVACY TIP: 5 WAYS YOU’RE BEING TRACKED, YOU SHOULD STOP RIGHT NOW
Is a safe signal from an extension bad news? You don’t remember downloading it, so delete it.
It’s also helpful to search the web for a phrase like “Is (the extension you’re using) safe to use?” See what appears and pay special attention to the security warnings.
Here’s how to remove an extension from Chrome:
open your chrome browser. tap on the three vertical dots to the right of your profile icon.
hover over More tools and select extensions.
Click Remove on the extension you want to remove, then click Remove again.
Use Safari on a Mac? Here’s how to remove an extension:
To choose safari > preferences. Click extensions.
To uninstall an extension, select it and click uninstall.
Don’t stop there. Tap or click to see 9 more ways to make Chrome more secure.
Keep your tech savvy on the go
My popular podcast is called “Kim command today.” That’s a solid 30 minutes of tech news, tips, and questions from people just like you across the country.
Look for it wherever you get your podcasts.
For your convenience, click the link below to watch a recent episode.
PODCAST SELECTION: Ford helps the police, another Prime Day, the crazy crimes of John McAfee
Get ready for electric police chases, thanks to the Ford Police Association. I have all the details, plus some inside information about the leaked Amazon documents. It looks like we’re going to have another Prime Day. So now you can wear smart scarves to keep cool. My advice: wear one while watching Netflix’s true crime story about John McAfee. It’s a wild ride.
Find my “Kim Komando Today” podcast on Apple, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or your favorite podcast player.
Just look up my last name, “Commando.”
What questions about the digital lifestyle do you have? Call Kim’s national radio show and tap or click here to find it on your local radio station.
you can hear or see The Kim Commando Show on your phone, tablet, TV or computer. Or tap or click here to watch Kim’s free podcasts.
Copyright 2019, WestStar Multimedia Entertainment. All rights reserved.
Get to know all the latest technology The Kim Commando Show, the nation’s largest weekend radio talk show. Kim takes calls and provides advice on today’s digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacks.
For her daily tips, free newsletters and more, visit her website at Komando.com