CheckPeople, one of the largest digital databases of personal information, can sell your sensitive details to third parties and put you at risk of of fraud. Here’s how to complete a CheckPeople opt out request.
In today’s digital age, it can seem difficult to control how much of your private life ends up online. From social media accounts to online dating accounts, there are plenty of ways you may want to have an online presence — but if you’ve ever done a search on your own name, you may be shocked to discover how much of your personal information shows up in the search results.
Much of this can be attributed to background check databases that house information like arrest reports, marriage and death certificates, phone numbers, and even addresses. Due to federal privacy laws, a website can list personal data and the burden is on your to opt out.
If you’ve stumbled across your information on CheckPeople, you may be wondering: How do I opt out of CheckPeople, and if I opt out, will my data be removed permanently? Is my data on other sites? Read on to learn about the history of these records sites, and your options when it comes to submitting an opt-out request.
How Does CheckPeople Work?
Perhaps you’re starting a new job, or seeking a roommate, or just nosy about a blind date — you may have encountered a website like CheckPeople before. With just the click of a button, you can look up anyone’s information via their people search tool. Simply type in a first and last name and you’ll be able to see dozens, if not hundreds, of records matching that name.
You can also search by reverse phone number. This pulls up personal details like address, phone number, and immediate and distant relatives. You can also see related social media accounts and online dating accounts, and contact information.
Beyond these intensely personal details, CheckPeople uses a proprietary algorithm to look up criminal records, civil records (such as child custody arrangements or personal injury lawsuits), bankruptcies, divorce records, liens, lawsuits, arrest and traffic reports, and sexual offender status. Users do need to pay for an account to access a comprehensive report with this type of data and receive unlimited searches.
They do note that their search engines must comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) guidelines — insurance or credit history must follow state and federal law, and background checks related to employment must follow the FCRA guidelines.
Essentially, on just one site, you have the ability to run background checks on anybody you’d like. CheckPeople describes this ability as beneficial, as it can help protect you from unsavory or unsafe personal and business relationships and encourages people to look up neighbors and friends. But it also puts thousands of people at risk of fraud.
How Is Posting Criminal Records Legal?
The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) of 1967 made everything from death certificates to divorce records to most criminal records part of the public domain. In 1996, an amendment to the Act made it even easier to access this type of information electronically.
In many U.S. states, criminal records are legally kept as part of the public record, and often posted online in local databases, where they are then pulled automatically onto larger online sites that sell peoples’ personal data. CheckPeople also pulls information from public resources like phone books and public social media accounts.
New legislation is starting to emerge on a state-by-state level to protect individuals from having their information uploaded and sold on these types of databases, but in most cases, you need to make a request on an opt out page to have your information removed.
The CheckPeople Opt-Out Process via the Opt Out Form
If you want to ensure that your information is deleted from CheckPeople, you’ll need to fill out an opt-out request on its site and follow these steps:
First, go to the following link: https://checkpeople.com/do-not-sell-info
Then, search for the records you want to remove by typing in your first and last name, as well as the city you’re located in, if possible. Complete the CAPTCHA and press “Search.” It’s likely that numerous records will appear matching the first and last name you entered. Confirm which one(s) you are trying to remove, and select “Remove record.”
It will ask you again for your information — first and last name and an email address. Re-enter both and submit request (by clicking “send confirmation email”). You’ll receive an email to that address asking you to “Confirm Opt Out Request” — click the confirmation link to do so. If you cannot find the email, be sure to check your spam folder.
Once all of those steps are completed, the CheckPeople opt-out process has begun. It can take 5 to 7 hours for the request to process, though it should take about 24-48 hours for your information to be removed.
Check back after 48 hours to see if your request has been processed by searching for your name via CheckPeople’s people search tool. You may need to clear your browser history to make sure you aren’t viewing a cached page, as the database updates every 24 hours.
If your record has still not been removed, follow up with a customer service representative at 888-600-7409 . An important note: Your name could still show up in relation to other peoples’ records, i.e., listing you as a neighbor.
If you want to opt out for family members: To complete the CheckPeople opt-out process for a family member or another person, you’ll need to complete the same opt out form and follow the above process, but ensure that you’re the authorized representative for that person.
The CheckPeople Opt-Out Process via Email
You can also begin the CheckPeople removal process by sending an email to email@example.com. Include the following personal information in your opt-out request: Your first and last name, date of birth, address, and a link to the record you wish to remove. Some online state that this is a more effective way to ensure a complete request rather than using the form.
Will They Post My Data Again?
CheckPeople states that once your removal request is completed, your records will not show up again. However, some people have found that, over time, their data resurfaces on CheckPeople, despite previous opt-outs. It can be useful to double check and confirm that your data has been removed year after year, especially since this data can spread to other sites.
Is There an Automated Opt Out Option?
Although there is no way to automatically opt out of CheckPeople, there are sites that will handle the request on your behalf — and make sure that your data stays deleted so that you don’t need to worry about CheckPeople removal in the future. Also, in addition to CheckPeople, there are numerous other background check sites that function similarly: posting your private records and requiring you to manually opt out in order to remove the data.
A website like OneRep, for instance, can find your public records on numerous sites and opt out on your behalf, ensuring online privacy. If you’re worried about the amount of personal data floating around the Internet and don’t have time to fill out dozens of opt-out requests, working with a third-party website may be the option for you.
Why the CheckPeople Opt Out Process Ultimately Matters
At the end of the day, it’s more than the mere annoyance it takes to “submit request” and search your inbox for that confirmation email — it’s a matter of privacy and protecting yourself against fraud. Although public records are, by nature, public, these massive databases make it easy for anyone to impersonate someone online, create financial documents in someone else’s name, or even make access to stalking easier.
Try the CheckPeople opt-out process for yourself by following the steps outlined above, and hopefully you’ll be able to successfully opt out. But since most background check sites are for-profit, they often don’t make the opt-out process easy, which is why working with a third-party company can be useful if you’re struggling to remove a record.