Scrubbing your online identity is essential as online arguments escalate

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ST. LOUIS– The fallout is not over after the chaos at the Capitol last week. Elected officials, public servants, journalists, and others are concerned about their safety.

Rob Shavell, the co-founder of DeleteMe, says some “bad actors” are using private information that is publicly available online to commit these violent acts.

A recent incident includes a December 9 attack on the home of an Idaho Commissioner by anti-mask demonstrators. Another involved elected officials in Georgia being targeted with death threats for ailing to intervene in the 2020 vote certification process.

He says America is divided and angry right now. Also, things can also escalate quickly on social media. He says an angry Facebook conversation can quickly turn from an online argument to a real-world one.

He says it isn’t hard for people to do a quick Google search and uncover your address and phone number. Data brokers are collecting your information and then selling it to people, including advertisers.

“Personally identifiable information such as property ownership, work location and relatives’ home addresses are easily available to anyone as they are in the public domain,” explains Shavell.

DeleteMe is a service that helps people scrub their personal information from the internet. The company searches dozens of sites like 411.com, Mylife.com, anywho.com, Spokeo.com and more.

The company also offers a DIY Opt-Out-Guide where you can scrub your own information from the internet. However, Shavell says once you start the process you realize it can become overwhelming because of the number of sites with your information.

Shavell says there are some other steps you can take to reduce your online footprint. He suggests using an ad blocker on your computer and mobile device so your data isn’t collected.

Also, he says people should diversify the products they use. Shavell says if you use the same company’s products for search, email, and chat, you are making it easier for them to get all your information.

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