Data Broker opt outs

What it does:

Some commercial data brokers allow some categories of consumers to opt out of some limited uses and disclosures of personal information.

Commercial data brokers acquire, purchase, accumulate, and sell information about consumers. Many data brokers have large data files with some information on most Americans. The data brokers have multiple lines of business that use consumer data in different ways. Data brokers offer some very limited opt outs, and not all data brokers offer opt outs. If you are a victim of identity theft, a law enforcement professional, or a victim of domestic violence, the opt outs may be important for you. Opt out policies can be challenging to find on the data broker sites. If these links below are stale, please let us know and we will locate the new links for you.

We have mixed views on data broker opt outs. On the one hand, we think that a consumer who opts out does a good thing by exercising those few options that are available. Each consumer opting out helps to preserve opt outs for all consumers. However, the data broker opt outs are generally quite limited, and it is nearly impossible to tell just what effect an opt out will actually have. When you read the opt out offerings carefully, you will see that they are often qualified. Consumers who are victims of identity thieves, victims of domestic violence, public officials, and others may have the greatest interest in seeking what opt out options are available.

How to opt out:

Note: of the data brokers in this list, Acxiom and Lexis Nexis are the largest. If you are an identity theft victim, a law enforcement professional, or have a strong safety need to opt out of data broker databases, start with these companies first.

  • Acxiom: You can opt out of some of Acxiom’s marketing and directory products. You can read more about Acxiom opt outs at
    http://www.acxiom.com/about-acxiom/privacy/us-consumer-choices/.  Another important opt out is at the AboutTheData page at Acxiom, at this page, you can see some of the data Acxiom holds on you, and edit it. Highly recommended. You will need to provide your SSN to match your records correctly. We get a lot of questions about the SSN aspect of this opt out; Acxiom uses the SSN to match you to the records they already have. https://www.aboutthedata.com/portal/registration/step1
  • LexisNexis also permits certain individuals to opt-out of KnowX®, and Accurint®, two very powerful information databases. Public and elected officials, law enforcement officers (some cases) and private individuals who are victims of identity theft or who face a substantial risk of physical harm may opt out. Law enforcement officials will still have access to information in the Accurint databases. To learn more, see  http://www.lexisnexis.com/privacy/for-consumers/opt-out-of-lexisnexis.aspx.We note that this is one of the more challenging data broker opt outs. Here is what Lexis/Nexis says about this particular opt out:”This opt-out policy only applies to personal information that is available through LexisNexis-owned databases. Please note opting-out of our databases will not prevent other companies or public record agencies from collecting or disseminating your personal information.

The bases under which LexisNexis policy allows such an opt-out – in addition to any opt-outs required by law – are the following: Public and elected officials, including law enforcement officers, may request to opt-out in cases where the official is on a high-profile assignment, or under threat of death or serious bodily harm or in cases where opt-out opportunities are required by law.y

Private individuals who are facing a substantial risk of physical harm or who are victims of identity theft may request to opt-out of having personal information about themselves made available through KnowX® and having personal information about themselves made available to subscribers to our Accurint® product (other than disclosures that may be made to our law enforcement subscribers). Individuals who request to opt-out for these reasons may submit their requests online or by mail.”

  • Intelius: To opt out online, go to https://www.intelius.com/optout.php. Intelius directs consumers to attach verification information, and provides step-by-step instructions. Fax a copy of your identification to (425) 974-6194
    Or Mail a copy of your identification to
    Intelius Consumer Affairs
    P.O. Box 4145
    Bellevue, WA 98009-4145
  • Details from Intelius:
    “The quickest and simplest way to have your information removed from our website is to send us a request online. You can also submit an opt-out request via fax or postal mail. Regardless of which method you choose, in order for us to suppress your personal information from appearing on our website, we need to verify your identity. To do this, we need proof of identity, consisting of either:
    a copy of a government-issued ID with any photo or ID number crossed out. Examples: driver’s license, U.S. passport, U.S. military ID card, state-issued ID card, or employee ID card from a state agency, or
    a notarized Identity Verification Form.
    We will only use this information to process your opt out request.
    If you opt-out online, please be sure to include your email address so that we can notify you both when your request is received and when we’ve completed your opt out. http://www.intelius.com/privacy.php
  • US Search Profile Opt Out:  To opt out online, visit http://www.ussearch.com/privacylock. You will need to find the exact record or records you want suppressed and follow the instruction prompts on the screen. You will also need to have a state-issued ID or driver’s license to prove your identity. US Search does not offer opt outs via phone or email.
  • Mail: US SEARCH
    Privacy Officer
    PO BOX 4145
    Bellevue, WA 98009-4145
  • email address: cservice@USSearch.com or call (877) 340-0211 for assistance. 

Courtesy of The World Privacy Forum Org.