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How to cover your tracks online

Keep disgruntled ex-friends and random nutters at bay

Online data thieves are usually portrayed as wily, anonymous hackers who use their cyberskills to crack into our bank accounts. But the most dangerous threats are often the ones we invite. How much information have you willingly volunteered online?

The good news is: it's not too late to keep your disgruntled ex-friends and random nutters at bay.

1. Almost everyone has looked themselves up on a search engine. You may find old bulletin-board posts, minutes from work or volunteer organisations – even links to your social-networking profiles. If necessary, you can ask sites to remove sensitive information or simply delete it yourself.

Step 1

Step 1

2. Click here and complete a request to have your electoral-roll record removed from the site. If you’re concerned that someone has already been trying to collect information about you from 192.com, confirm your fears and name your cyberstalker for a £10 fee.

Step 2

Step 2

3. If you’re listed in online telephone directories and don’t want to be, contact your telephone provider to have your details removed. It may take some time for your ex-directory instructions to filter down to all the third-party listing services, so be aware that your details will be available online for a while yet.

Step 3

Step 3

4. Still worried that information about you might be lurking somewhere online? Services such as Garlik will hunt down any visible tracks (get a free 30-day trial and credit report here then advise you on what action you should take to safeguard yourself and your online identity.

Step 4

Step 4

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