Finding (almost) anyone is gettin’ easier these days because of the internet.
All you need is a first and/or last name, city and state — whether it’s where they currently live or have lived in the past.
If a person doesn’t have a city to input, they can easily Google your first and/or last name and the company you work for. 9 out of 10, a person will find treasure within your LinkedIn, especially with the city listed under your name.
From there, they can look you up on a search engine, such as Whitepages and social media: Instagram, Twitter, Reddit, Twitch, etc.
No name? No problem.
If a person wants to find out your name, one option would be to do a reverse address look-up (this only works if they know your address; one option is to look at street view on Google Maps to grab your street address if they know what street you live on). They can simply type in your address into Whitepages, do a cross-reference of when you live(d) there and boom — there’s your name with all your information.
Now they know where you live, now what?
Now, they can look up your home address into Zillow where, most of the time, your residence information will be available. Particularly useful if you live in a house — shows number of bedrooms, bathrooms, history, etc.
They can also look up your address on Google Maps, go into satellite view and do recon (AKA creep mode) of your house and neighborhood, which can let ‘em know if you live in a cul-de-sac, apartment complex and more if they’re tryna be malicious.
Why does this matter?
Finding your address is one thing — people can come by and creep, or worse — but finding your cell phone number is another.
There’s a story about a 20-year-old college student who stole $5 million in cryptocurrency by hijacking the phone numbers of 40 victims.
You can read the full story here:
He basically did a SIM swap that allowed him to gain access to phone numbers, which is an essential gateway for 2-step authentications.
What can you do to protect yourself.
First, call your phone company to make sure that your number is unlisted. Then search online directories, such as Whitepages, and see if your contact information is available, contact them to have you get unlisted.
To get unlisted from Whitepages:
- Go to whitepages.com and search for yourself.
- Copy and note the URL for all of your listings — they should look something like http://www.whitepages.com/name/John-Doe/Seattle-WA/6u3wkef%E2%80%9D.
- Go to Whitepages’ opt-out page.
- Paste the URL of your listing(s), one at a time, and click “Opt-out.
- Verify the cord you want removed and click the “Remove me” button. On the next screen, choose the reason for removal from the drop-down menu.
- Next, you’ll have to enter your phone number to receive via an automated confirmation call. Click “Call now to verify”, or whenever you’re ready, which will take you to a page with a confirmation code.
- Wait for the verification robocall, then follow the directions. Keep in mind that some call blockers may prevent the call from getting through or alert you to possible spam. You’ll need the confirmation code to complete your removal request.
That will only remove you from all free searches — you’re still listed for premium subscribers.
Premium subscribers are people who pay a monthly fee to access Whitepages’ locked content. To remove your data from premium searches on Whitepages, you’ll have to put in a support ticket.
- In your search results, find the Premium record for the record you want to remove — this is the listing with the blue “View Full Report” button next to it.
- Right-click (or CTRL + mouse click) that button and select “Copy link address”.
- Mosey over to Whitepages’ support request page.
- Select “I need to edit or remove a listing” from the dropdown menu and fill out the form. You’ll need to provide your first, middle initial (if you have one), last name, city, state and listing URL.
The process takes about 72 hours and, unfortunately, it doesn’t remove it from public records. But it’s one less destination where someone can find your information.
Hope this helps.
Sometimes I scare myself how fast and easy I can find information on people. It’s best to educate yourself on digital vulnerabilities because the last thing you’d want is to be social engineered by someone. More on that in a future post.
Be safe out there, my dudes.