How many online accounts do you have? Dozens? Hundreds? You probably have more than you think, and deleting a bunch of them might be the right call.
You have two good reasons: savings and security.
Certainly, you have trusted accounts you use all the time, like the one with your bank and a few others with major retailers. Yet you probably have armloads of other accounts on top of those. Within that broader mix, you’ll find accounts for apps, streaming services, online publications, and for retailers where you made one-off purchases years ago.
Sure, you still access some of them occasionally. Yet there are plenty of other accounts you don’t. And there might be some you’re still paying for too. Closing them down can certainly save you some money.
Yet there’s a security issue, too. The more online accounts you keep, the greater the exposure you have to data breaches. Each account will have varying degrees of personal and financial information linked to it. And that means each one carries a varying degree of risk if it gets breached. Moreover, some sites and services protect data better than others, which adds another dimension of risk.
Closing old and particularly risky accounts can decrease the risk of your personal and financial information winding up in the hands of an identity thief.
And there’s one more reason why you might consider cleaning up your old accounts. Your privacy. Companies hold all kinds of personal information in their databases. If you’re not using an account anymore, why should a company have it?
With security and savings in mind, McAfee created Online Account Cleanup. It finds and requests the deletion of unused accounts and protects your personal data from data breaches as a result. Monthly scans across your online accounts shows a risk level for each account and helps you decide which ones to delete.
And now is certainly a good time to trim down those accounts—about half a billion data records were exposed worldwide between 2020 and 2022. And those are the reported figures. Actual figures are arguably higher.
In all, Online Account Cleanup can help you take charge of your personal and financial information at a time where bad actors prize it so highly.
How McAfee’s Online Account Cleanup helps put you in charge
Our Online Account Cleanup lets you view all your accounts tied to your email in one place and helps you decide which ones you want to delete. It assigns a risk level to each of the accounts based on how much personal information is usually shared with each company, as well as past breaches and industry breach potential.
When you decide to delete an account, it links you to the website in question. From there, it shows you how you can request to have your data deleted from their database. If you’re a McAfee+ Ultimate customer, it can take care of this part for you with a single click.
Our Online Account Cleanup will continue to run monthly scans to find any new online accounts so you can stay on top of your digital footprint.
How McAfee’s Online Account Cleanup works
1) Scan for accounts
You can scan whichever email address you select. Scanning an email inbox is the best way to see how many companies or organizations have access to your information. Don’t worry, we’re only looking for company email domains, welcome emails, timestamps, and most importantly—spam.
If you decide to let McAfee help you request data deletion, we’ll keep tabs on the email replies you receive from the companies requesting more information or confirming that your data has been deleted.
2) Review and delete accounts
The risk level next to each account is calculated based on how much personal information each company or organization is likely to have access to and the breach potential for the company’s industry. The more important the info, such as credit card, Social Security Number, driver’s license number, the higher the risk. If the organization is in an industry with a low breach potential, like government agencies, the risk will be lower. Keep in mind, risk level doesn’t mean your specific account is more or less susceptible to getting hacked.
For the accounts you choose to delete, we’ll provide you with instructions on how to send a deletion request and link you to the company’s website. Or if you’re using McAfee+ Ultimate, we’ll send the request for you with a single click.
3) Recurring monitoring
We’ll scan each month to keep you up to date on new accounts. When combined with other McAfee features like identity monitoring, transaction monitoring, and Personal Data Cleanup, plus credit monitoring and a VPN, you’ll have protection in breadth and depth. You’ll find features like these across our McAfee+ plans, which keep your privacy and identity more secure.
See for yourself. Take a quick tour of McAfee’s Online Account Cleanup.
Questions about your personal data? We have answers.
Are companies required to delete my personal data?
Not all companies are required to delete your data. It depends on the privacy laws of the country or region in which you live. For example, if you’re a resident of California or the European Union, companies are required to delete your data upon request because privacy laws require them to do so (subject to certain exceptions).
How fast will my data be deleted after sending a request?
Sometimes, deleting your personal data is not a one-click process. In other cases, companies will reach out to you to further verify your identity or ask for additional information. To make the deletion process more comfortable, you can view and reply to the companies directly from your McAfee Protection Center. We don’t collect any of these email messages. Your email messages remain in your own inbox.
Should I scan my primary email address or an email I use for spam?
We recommend using the email address that’s linked to your online accounts that use your credit card, address, or other sensitive information. These accounts are at higher risk than accounts that only have your email tied to them.
Cleaning up online accounts for savings and security
Saving money feels great. Especially when you shut down an online subscription you’re no longer using.
But there’s more to deleting old accounts than that. It can protect you from data breaches. Which, if you think about it, is a strong financial move as well. Consider how costly identity theft can be in terms of time and money.
Our new Online Account Cleanup can help you delete unused and risky accounts—and do it in minutes instead of the hours it used to take. It’s available now as part of our McAfee+ plans.
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