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by Barbara Brabec
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How to Remove Google Maps
to Your Front Door

Do you know that Google may be directing strangers to your front door with a handy map tied to your home phone number?

I WAS STUNNED to learn that if we type our home telephone number into Google’s search box, it will reveal not only our name and residential address, but offer a friendly map link that will take people right to our front door. I love Google, but this is a gigantic invasion of privacy as far as I’m concerned. We may want people to find our retail business by doing a search for our telephone number, but anyone who works at home doesn't want this kind of visibility.

Privacy is a thing of the past, of course, because many search sites on the Web (called "information brokers") have personal information on all of us (including our Social Security number and mother’s maiden name). Only those with a financial reason for tracking us are likely to pay to get this information, but if you happen to be dodging a bill collector or have a judgment against you, you can see how easy it is for you to be found, even if you have an unlisted telephone number.

Google doesn't make it easy to find the page on its site where you can get this information removed, but a diligent Internet search in 2013 yielded the link to Google's removal page for a residential telephone number. But Google removed that page and all I could find in 2015 were these links.

NOTE: On the Anywho.com site you need to click HELP to get to the removal page, which in turn instructs you to call a telephone number (from the number you want removed). This removal process is instant. Switchboard.com sends an email with a link you must click to complete the removal process.

I found ReversePhoneDirectory.com particularly interesting. There is a charge for listings here, but after checking for my home phone number, I also did a search on my name. Turned up eleven other Barbara Brabecs across the country. (I've always known there were other Barbara Brabecs out there—just not that many. How glad I am that a friend pushed me to register my name as a domain name several years ago.)

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