Delete unused online accounts to protect from hackers, trackers

It’s not always easy, so Consumer Reports offers ways to find and delete

Delete unused online accounts to protect from hackers, trackers
Delete unused online accounts to protect from hackers, trackers

SAN ANTONIO – When Jett Valera started using a password manager for all of his online accounts, he made a surprising discovery.

“I suddenly realized I actually had over 200 accounts, online accounts,” he said.

Valera had everything from social media to online retailers. When he started getting rid of them, he found it was easier said than done. One account took more than a year to eliminate.

“I couldn’t find any instructions or any guidance that would help me, that would navigate me to where I can close it,” he said.

It’s a frustrating reality for a lot of people.

“Deleting accounts you don’t use can be complicated and time-consuming, but it’s an important way to protect yourself online,” said Consumer Reports’ Thomas Germain.

That’s because, in some cases, your information could be sold or even exposed in a data breach.

So, how can you delete that data for good?

“Start by checking the settings or account menu,” Germain said. “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, search the company’s privacy policy. You can also just Google it and see if anyone’s posted instructions.

Another avenue is to contact customer service, especially by chat text.

How do you even find old, forgotten accounts? Consumer Reports suggests you can Google your email address and old usernames, search your web browser’s history, and search your email for old welcome emails.


About the Author:

As a consumer reporter, Marilyn is all about helping people stay safe and save a buck. Since coming to KSAT in 1985, she’s covered everything from crime to politics, winning awards for her coverage of the Mexican Mafia, Oklahoma tornadoes, children’s transplants, an investigation into voting irregularities and even a hit-and-run Santa Claus.