Bottom Line: How to find and delete old online accounts

Published: Sep. 28, 2021 at 7:21 AM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC/CONSUMER REPORTS) -- Ever get frustrated when you try to close an account online, but you can’t figure out how, so you just forget about it? Keeping all that unused personal data lying around the internet could put your digital privacy and security at risk.

Consumer Reports reveals some tips and tricks to help you say goodbye to unwanted accounts once and for all.

Start by checking each account’s settings or account menu. If it’s not there, go to the help menu or even the frequently asked questions to look for instructions.

If that doesn’t help, try the company’s privacy policy. You can search for words like “account” and “delete.” You can also google how to delete an account from the company to see if anyone has posted instructions online.

If you still haven’t found it, try contacting customer service. It’s often faster to go through text chats instead of a phone call whenever possible.

And if you live in California, you can take advantage of the state’s privacy law, which requires most businesses to let state residents delete data collected from them. Companies don’t have to honor the request if you’re not a California resident, but some do anyway.

To help you find accounts that you’ve simply forgotten about, CR suggests these tips: Google your email address and old usernames, check for saved log-ins in your web browser or password manager and search your email inbox for old “welcome” messages.

“Consumer Reports TV News” is published by Consumer Reports. Consumer Reports is a not-for-profit organization that does not accept advertising and does not have any commercial relationship with any advertiser or sponsor on this site

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