Need your number removed from a reverse phone book or online directory? Here's a guide to show you how.
Reverse phone books and their modern counterparts, online reverse directories, store thousands of phone numbers that are matched with the owner's name and address. To remove your name, simply ask the service to remove your information from its database. Finding the root source of this information is not always easy, but with a bit of searching you should be able to get your information removed.
Find the Reverse Phone Number Sources
Typing your name into a search engine like Google could turn up dozens of different websites that have your phone number listed, some of which could reveal its inclusion in a reverse directory. To find these websites quickly, type your phone number, including the area code, in this format: "555-555-1234." This returns all websites that have this phone number listed, in both the 555-555-1234 format, as well as (555) 555-1234. Using the quotation marks ensures that you won't get results that don't include your exact number, like someone with the same number in a different area code.
Ask for Your Number to Be Removed
Examine each website for directions to remove a number. Instructions are often found using a link marked remove, help, or opt out. Fill out the form as directed. If no instructions for removal appear, send the website owners an email. If you can't find an email address on the site, try email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
How Your Number Gets on a Reverse Directory
Personal information in reverse directories, like your name, phone number and address, can come from a variety of sources. One source might be your local White Pages, but this isn't the only source. Whenever you provide your personal information to a business or a website, there's a chance it will be sold, along with thousands of others, to a reverse directory service.
As an example, Whitepages.com offers a reverse directory service to paying customers. Businesses can purchase the name and address of any listed number for a few pennies each. In addition to selling this information one phone number at a time, companies that store reverse directory information may allow other businesses to access their entire database in bulk. That company can then put the information online or sell it to a third business.
Removing your name from a website doesn't stop other companies from posting your information online, particularly if your information is still being stored by the underlying third-party database. Make a point of searching for your phone number periodically to ensure that new companies are not posting your information in new directories.
Keeping Your Number Offline
Keeping your number off of reverse directories and phone books may prove to be difficult if you don't protect it yourself. If you post your phone number on social media websites, use it when filling out online shopping forms or even when entering contests at businesses you visit, there is a chance the information will get into a directory.
If you are receiving calls from telemarketers, you can also add your phone number to the national Do Not Call Registry at DoNotCall.gov, operated by the Federal Trade Commission.