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Is your personal information easily found by criminals?

How they find it and what you can do to stop it

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As officers, there are some small adjustments you can make to make a huge impact on your online privacy.

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By Pete James

Crime is changing as we know it.

In today’s digital world, your personal information is incredibly valuable, especially as law enforcement officers. Here’s why:

I talk to hundreds of officers monthly and hear the same thing: “Why would anybody want my data? I’m not that valuable.”

That’s incorrect. It’s simply not true. For example, Facebook says you’re worth $700 per year.

That’s just one site. What about the hundreds of other sites?

And what about when some of these sites are actually dangerous…

You see, criminals are using this same data to harm officers and their families at their homes.

Let’s talk about how this happens and what you can do to fix it.


Data brokers, companies that collect and sell data, are at the heart of this. They gather your information from various sources (often without your knowledge) and then sell it to other businesses. This data has become the new currency (sorry, crypto).

The data being sold is personal information – your home address, phone number, email address, name of relatives and much more.

Here’s the problem: Many of the “buyers” are websites that show that data online, free, for everyone to see.

For most people, this may be a minor inconvenience. For law enforcement officers, this puts them and their families in danger.

As we know, there is a huge lack of respect toward law enforcement officers in the country right now. So, if any criminals can easily find an officer’s home address online, this is downright dangerous. What’s worse is that officers all over the country are being harassed and doxed at their homes because their data is easily accessible online.

And all of this is preventable.

Let’s explore how this happens and what you can do to protect yourself.


Data brokers collect your personal information from a variety of sources, including:

  1. Other big businesses – When you make a purchase (in-store and online), your data is sold. When you get a package delivered to your home, your data is sold. When you get a credit card statement, your data is sold. Because of how valuable your data is, companies are realizing they can make more money from your data than their core business model.
  2. Loyalty programs, surveys and contests – When you sign up for a grocery store rewards program, they sell your data to other businesses. The same thing goes for those casino loyalty programs. And don’t forget about free surveys and contests – it’s all sold to the highest bidder.
  3. Social media – Anything you share on social media can and will be used against you (and sold). Keep in mind, it’s not only what you post… Your Facebook is analyzed to identify your family members. Your Instagram is searched for what posts you like and where you spend your time. Your LinkedIn shows where you work.

Every little data point is being used against you. Everything. Let’s see what happens after they have your data.


And just like that, these big companies have thousands of data points on you. They sell this data to data brokers.

Data brokers then build an online profile for you.

Unlike social media, you have zero control over this profile. The power lies in the hands of the data brokers who stole your information to begin with.

Because they legally have your information, they can post it online. And they do.

When it’s online, anyone can find it, including criminals and crazies.

Now, there are steps you can take to stop this.


As officers, there are some small adjustments you can make to make a huge impact on your online privacy and stop this cycle.

There are two steps to solving this:

First, we must find and fix where you’re currently exposed.

Then, we need to ensure it doesn’t happen again in the future.

Let’s dive in on the first step.

  1. Search and find your data – Perform an online search to find which of your personal information is currently exposed. We recently found that 98% of officers’ home addresses are listed online. If you’re in the 98%, we need to find where it’s posted online and remove it quickly. has created a simple and easy way to search for what’s online with the free PrivacyCheck Tool. In less than one minute, you can see about 30% of what’s available about you online.
  2. Internet purging – Internet purging is where you reduce your online presence to be less identifiable. For officers, the best place to start is with data broker sites. Data brokers allow you to opt out of their databases. But remember, this is how they make billions of dollars every year, so they don’t make it easy. This process can be time-consuming, but it’s worth the investment to protect your privacy.
  3. Monitor your online presence – Once you’re fully removed, regularly search for your data online to see what’s available about you. This can help you catch and address any exposed personal information early. Once officers are removed from the online sites, we find they are relisted on three to five sites every 90 days. That’s why it’s important to stay on top of this. One simple way to monitor is to utilize Google Alerts. You simply enter the information you are looking for and any time Google finds something, it sends you an email with what it found. It’s simple and effective. Consider OfficerPrivacy, as we do all of this work for you.

Now that you removed your information, it’s time to move on to step two: prevent this from happening again.

Preferred names – Data brokers connect you and your home address. Make every attempt to break that connection by using a “preferred name”, also known as an alias. Plus, you can use an alternate address, like a Post Office box, for even more security.

Be aware of what you post – Social media is one source, but not the only source, of information. Limiting what you share on social media is important, but it will not stop your data from being collected and sold by other sources. Lock down your privacy settings to restrict who can see your posts and personal details.

Wanting to protect your privacy doesn’t mean you are trying to hide any wrongdoing. This is about protecting you and your family from the unstable and hateful people out there. They want to harm you and your family, so it’s only smart to protect yourself.

Take a couple of easy steps to protect yourself and your family – it’s worth a small investment to enjoy peace of mind.

Pete James is the founder of, an LEO-owned and staffed company. Offering free and paid services, they help remove law enforcement officers’ private information from the internet.