Komando: Monitor Reputation You Have Online

Article excerpt

Your age and marital status. Your home's value and your estimated annual income. Intimate details of your social life.

Stalkers, nosy neighbors and potential employers can find this data and more. All it takes is a quick Web search.

As more of your life moves online, you need to manage your online reputation. Foil stalkers and snoops by limiting the available information. At the same time, you want to present your best side to employers and business associates.

This isn't easy. With a little know-how and persistence, you can do it. Find direct links to sites mentioned at www.komando.com/ news.

Remove unflattering and sensitive information

The first step is to see what information is available. Start with Google, Yahoo and Bing. Search for variations of your name; if you have a common name, add qualifiers like your city. Results near the top matter the most. However, unflattering details may appear on subsequent pages. Make a list of content to change or remove. Make a second list of content to promote.

Next, list online accounts you no longer use. Old dating profiles and social-networking pages can come back to haunt you. Privacy rules for these sites can also change. Close old accounts.

Your data also appears on people search sites and online databases. This is trickier to remove and often reveals sensitive financial details. These sites pull data from public records; they'll sell a complete file on you to anyone with cash. Each has different removal instructions; you must request removal from each site individually.

Requesting removal won't necessarily keep your data safe. …