Don’t forget to delete those accounts.

Real Estate Agent with HomeSmart SA541769000

Eraser 1

The average user has dozens of online accounts or business relationships that change over time. Each of these accounts has the potential to reveal information about you or at the very least increase your digital footprint.

But leaving old unused accounts in place when they are no longer necessary can be risky. Let me offer some examples.

I recently moved. I sold my home of 19 years and moved to a new neighborhood. At my old house, I had smart thermostats. When I installed them, I created an account with the manufacturer that allowed me to control the thermostats remotely. Once I moved, the thermostats were left with the new owner. I no longer required the account. Yet my personal data was still registered with the company even though I no longer had access to the devices. Today, more than six months later I finally remembered to delete the latent account.

Another example is the company that supplied my landline phone service. When I moved, I canceled my service and ported my phone number to a new provider. But the online account I had with the old provider was still in place. I could log in and view my old data. Even though I no longer used their service.

Over the years, I had created online accounts with utility providers, insurance companies, software applications, travel reward programs, etc. Even though I had canceled my service with these providers I seldom took the second step to delete my online data from their databases.

So here is a reminder. Examine your personal profiles. You may find that you likely have accounts that are no longer necessary or in use, and should be removed or deleted. You can always rebuild the profile if necessary, at a later time.

What is the risk you might ask? These accounts contain important personal data like email addresses, telephone numbers, and home and work addresses. Even items that seem to be unimportant like the answer to security questions such as your mother's maiden name, the name of your favorite pet, or your old high school could be fodder for a hacker. Simply put, all online accounts are vulnerable to hackers or subject to being sold part and parcel by companies that profit from the sale of customer data.

So even if you have canceled your service remember to verify that your account data has also been removed. Send your data to that great online shredder in the sky.

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Comments (24)

Joan Cox
House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time

Joseph, I send out a 'closing email" to buyers and sellers one week prior to closing.  One of the reminders are to disconnect from Smart items like the Ring doorbell, and thermostats.  Even had a seller with smart garage doors.

Feb 06, 2021 06:54 AM
Joseph Domino 480-390-6011

That's a good practice. I will add those items to my list. Another one is homeowners insurance. You would be surprised how many people forget to cancel their homeowners policy. Most would get money back.

Feb 06, 2021 06:58 AM
Joan Cox

Joseph Domino 480-390-6011 that is part of my closing email too!   Any refunds after closing are good.

Feb 06, 2021 07:40 AM
Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD
ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors - Camas, WA
REALTORS® in Clark County, WA

Excellent advice Joe, and I really appreciate Joan Cox's closing email. We send utility cancellation reminders, and now I'll add this reminder. 

Feb 06, 2021 07:32 AM
Joseph Domino 480-390-6011

It is a good practice to adopt.

Feb 07, 2021 07:27 AM
Lawrence "Larry" & Sheila Agranoff. Cell: 631-805-4400
The Top Team @ Charles Rutenberg Realty 255 Executive Dr, Plainview NY 11803 - Plainview, NY
Long Island Condo and Home Specialists

All good tips to remember. We are in such a tech world and we all have so many accounts that some my slip us by. Nice reminder!

Feb 06, 2021 07:42 AM
Joseph Domino 480-390-6011

It's too easy to forget.

Feb 07, 2021 07:27 AM
Carol Williams
Although I'm retired, I love sharing my knowledge and learning from other real estate industry professionals. - Wenatchee, WA
Retired Agent / Broker / Property Manager

This is a great tip! I hadn't really given all that much thought but now I know I should!

Feb 06, 2021 08:58 AM
Joseph Domino 480-390-6011

I know. We get so busy.

Feb 07, 2021 07:28 AM
Chris Ann Cleland
Long and Foster Real Estate - Gainesville, VA
Associate Broker, Bristow, VA

I have to wonder, is closing the old accounts even enough.  In this day and age, when companies get hacked, all that old information would still be there.  Sure couldn't hurt though.  After all, it is the only side we can control.

Feb 06, 2021 02:05 PM
Joseph Domino 480-390-6011

All we can do is remove as much as possible. I suspect some is out there in the cloud forever.

Feb 07, 2021 07:29 AM
Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Retired Home Stager/Redesign

Joseph- what a great reminder. We've moved so many times, I'm going to have to go back and check old accounts. 

Feb 06, 2021 05:21 PM
Joseph Domino 480-390-6011

We get so busy we forget things that are not in our vision.

Feb 07, 2021 07:30 AM
Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Retired Home Stager/Redesign

Feb 06, 2021 06:21 PM
Joseph Domino 480-390-6011

Thanks for the feature Kathy Streib 

Feb 07, 2021 07:30 AM
Ed Silva
Mapleridge Realty, CT 203-206-0754 - Waterbury, CT
Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally

Now I'll have to work the mind to try and recall any old accounts that I may have not deleted all the pertinent information

Feb 07, 2021 05:17 AM
Joseph Domino 480-390-6011

I do what every experts says you shouldn't do. I write them down. This way if I kick off suddenly my executor can clean up the mess.

Feb 07, 2021 07:32 AM
Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

Good morning Joseph Domino 480-390-6011 - this is a new check item in todays world included in things to do when moving.

Feb 07, 2021 06:12 AM
Joseph Domino 480-390-6011

Yep, just one more thing to remember.

Feb 07, 2021 07:32 AM
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667,, Broker/REALTOR® - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

I'm sure there are some I've forgotten to cancel. I'll have to be a little more aware of this issue.

Enjoy your day!

Feb 07, 2021 06:32 AM
Joseph Domino 480-390-6011

Thanks Kat.

Feb 07, 2021 07:32 AM
Will Hamm
Hamm Homes - Aurora, CO
"Where There's a Will, There's a Way!"

Hello Joseph, Can I reblog this sometime down the road.  I never would of come up with this.  Thanks.


Feb 07, 2021 09:11 AM
Joseph Domino 480-390-6011

Will Hamm Go for it!

Feb 08, 2021 01:57 PM
Ron and Alexandra Seigel
Napa Consultants - Carpinteria, CA
Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy


What a great reminder, and so far so good, we did that when we moved.  I am so glad that Kathy Streib picked you post for her Sunday selection, I will remember it for next ime. A.

Feb 07, 2021 09:23 AM
Joseph Domino 480-390-6011

I even found old accounts from mortgage lenders and real estate websites.

Feb 08, 2021 01:58 PM
Anna Banana Kruchten CRS, Phoenix Broker
HomeSmart Real Estate BR030809000 - Phoenix, AZ

Really smart idea Joseph Domino 480-390-6011 !  Thank you for the reminder!

Feb 07, 2021 10:53 AM
Joseph Domino 480-390-6011

You're welcome.

Feb 08, 2021 01:59 PM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi Joseph:

This is really good advice. I bet lots of people don't even think of doing this. And now with more smart home technology it's really important to make the necessary changes when moving.


Feb 07, 2021 12:15 PM
Joseph Domino 480-390-6011

Now that I started I am finding all kinds of stuff to delete.

Feb 15, 2021 07:15 PM
Hannah Williams
HomeStarr Realty - Philadelphia, PA
Expertise NE Philadelphia & Bucks 215-820-3376

Great info here Joseph Domino 480-390-6011  glad Kathy Streib featured this as I missed it 

Feb 07, 2021 01:33 PM
Joseph Domino 480-390-6011

Thanks Hannah.

Feb 15, 2021 07:15 PM
Dr. Paula McDonald
Beam & Branch Realty - Granbury, TX
Granbury, TX 936-203-0279

Excellent advice for all of us. You are so right that we are leaving digital fingerprints everywhere.

Feb 08, 2021 09:11 AM
Joseph Domino 480-390-6011

We need a forensic team to clean up our evidence.

Feb 15, 2021 07:16 PM
Lyn Sims
Schaumburg, IL
Real Estate Agent Retired

Part of Chrome will go thru & check to see what accounts & passwords have been compromised. I hadn't thought about accounts in years until I did this search & saw stuff from 20 years ago.

We forget how much stuff we put out there ourselves.

Feb 08, 2021 09:48 AM
Joseph Domino 480-390-6011

It is sort of a maintenace practice we need to intiate.

Feb 15, 2021 07:18 PM
Number Cruncher LLC - Overton, NV
Helping Taxpayers Resolve IRS problems

Wow.  I never thought of this!  I need to go over my accounts.  Thank you for sharing. 

Feb 09, 2021 11:55 AM
Joseph Domino 480-390-6011

Thanks Candace

Feb 15, 2021 07:18 PM
Sondra Meyer:
KW Coastal Bend - Corpus Christi, TX
See It. Experience It. Live It.

Hi Joseph, 


I am glad that Will Hamm reblogged this.   I am guilty of having a lot of old accounts floating around out there.   I will be adding that to my to-do list for this week.   Thank you!  

Mar 14, 2021 07:32 AM
Joseph Domino 480-390-6011

Thanks Sondra, Good Luck.

Mar 25, 2021 04:09 PM
Kimo Jarrett
WikiWiki Realty - Huntington Beach, CA
Pro Lifestyle Solutions

Anyone can Google a name and get enough information to spend a few dollars more and secure more information about a person than they even knew exists but scrubbing old accounts should be performed on a regular basis. 

Mar 18, 2021 09:44 PM
Joseph Domino 480-390-6011

It is hard to stay private these days.

Mar 25, 2021 04:09 PM