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How To Opt Out of – And Why You Should Do It

The site allows visitors to search for people in the US by name or phone number. Access to the resulting records – which includes address information and family details – can be purchased for as little as $1. 

The site is one of the many sites owned by Whitepages, which has a vast database of contact information for US citizens. If you would prefer it if your private data wasn’t so readily available, read on and we’ll tell you how to opt out of and other people-search sites.

Why you should delete your data from

The site allows anyone connected to a server in the US to purchase a raft of personally identifiable information (PII) relating to US citizens.  

This data can include details of:

  • Names and aliases
  • Landlines and cell phones
  • Current and previous addresses
  • Relatives and associates
  • Property ownership
  • Criminal offenses, arrests, and warrants
  • Traffic violations
  • Bankruptcies and foreclosures
  • Liens and judgements
  • Professional licenses

Although’s parent company claims to have a "belief in using Data for Good,” it’s unclear how this is manifested. 

The site tempts users into purchasing other people’s information by offering tantalizing grayed-out details of phone numbers and addresses in search results. Trying to access "more details” leads to a page with four different payment plans. 

The basic subscription allows 20 searches for people’s contact information every month. The most expensive allows 1,000 searches a month. This gives an indication as to the Whitepages customer base… and it’s not individuals looking for a lost relative or an old colleague. 

The problem with people-search sites is that personally identifiable information – which we would normally only choose to share with a few people – becomes available to millions. It’s reasonable to assume that a proportion of these do not have a belief in using data for good.

Online and offline fraudsters can profit from publicly available information – for example, through identity theft or scams. Unscrupulous employers and landlords, meanwhile, can save money on having to obtain the proper – and more expensive – information from Consumer Reporting Agencies, such as Equifax and Experian, when assessing applicants for jobs or housing. 

Worst of all, victims of abuse can be re-targeted. In 2021, a letter from US senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) expressed their concern about data brokers "publicizing the location and contact information of victims of domestic violence, sexual violence, and stalking.” 

They further noted that "the availability of this data makes it difficult or impossible for victims to safely relocate with relatives,” and called on the Federal Trade Commission to make it easier for victims to remove their information from data broker sites. 

How to opt out of

Because the site is fed by data from Whitepages, the removal process requires you to opt out of Whitepages rather than 411 specifically. This is good in that Whitepages is one of the largest people-search sites. However, it does require a little more effort than some. 

Opt out of as follows:

  1. Go to, enter your name and location and press "Search”.
  2. Click "View Details” next to the relevant record.
  3. Copy the URL of the page.
  4. Go to
  5. Paste the URL into the empty field and click "Next”.
  6. Click "Remove Me” if the displayed record contains your personally identifiable information.
  7. Select a reason for wanting your data removed from the drop-down menu and click "Next”.
  8. Enter a mobile phone number into the empty field. Whitepages will use this to verify your identity. Click the check-box below that, then click "Call now to verify”. 
  9. Answer your phone and – when prompted by the automated caller – enter the code that’s displayed on your screen. 
  10. This completes the process. Check back after seven days to ensure that your listing has been removed. If it hasn’t, send a message to the Whitepages customer support team by opening the page and choosing "I need to edit or remove a listing” from the drop-down menu.

How to opt out of other people-finder sites

Whitepages off-shoots, such as the website, are not the only people-search sites making your data available online. Use the guides below to remove your data from some of the others.  

If you don’t have the time or the inclination to contact and monitor people-search site records, there are services that will do it for you. 

The best service to opt out of people-search sites

Let’s examine how the best data removal service works.

1. Incogni
Editor's Choice | February 2024

Incogni is our recommended provider. It takes care of the tedious work of contacting individual data brokers with data removal requests and then chasing them up.

  • Pricing

    • 1 month: $12.99/mth
    • 12 months: $6.49/mth
      50% OFF
  • Pros

    • Affordable price
    • No long-term contract
    • Easy-to-use service
    • Owned by Surfshark: a trustworthy company
    • Works with data brokers in the US, Canada, EU, and UK
  • Cons

    • Could give more details of removed data

Incogni is one of the few trustworthy data removal services available for people in Europe and Canada – most are US-only. It was created by the people behind the popular Surfshark VPN, and is similarly easy to use. 

The service contacts data brokers involved in risk mitigation, recruitment, marketing, health, and financial services – as well as people-search sites like Incogni calculates which of these are most likely to have your data and sends them deletion requests.

Subscriptions cost $6.49 a month for an annual subscription or $12.99 per month for a rolling monthly contract. Plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can effectively try out the service for free. 

After subscribing, users tell Incogni the data they’d like removed via an online form and give the company authorization to act on their behalf. Incogni will then start the data removal process – which subscribers can monitor via an online dashboard. 

The dashboard details the number of deletion requests issued, the number that has been completed, and the number still in progress. Users can also see a list of contacted companies and their areas of focus. Incogni says that it will contact companies until they comply and carry out follow-up analysis to ensure data isn’t re-added.  

How to opt out of – FAQs

Written by: Justin Schamotta

Special interest in statistical modeling, cybersecurity and machine learning.


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