Google now allows people to remove their personal contact information – phone numbers, physical addresses and email addresses – from search results. The search giant, owned by Alphabet, said Wednesday it was making the change to protect consumers from “unwanted direct contact or even physical harm.”

Google said it had previously allowed people to request the removal of certain specific types of information, but that the new policy represents a broader attempt to help protect users’ personal data. Prior to the new policy, people could request the removal of more specific information, such as bank account numbers or credit cards.

The change comes amid rising online scams. Federal Trade Commission reporting that consumers lost $ 5.8 billion to fraudsters last year, up 70 percent from the previous year. Much of this scam is perpetrated through online scams, such as romantic scamsas well as on-demand telephone and identity theft.

“[T]The Internet is always evolving – with information popping up in unexpected places and being used in new ways – so our policies and protections need to evolve, “said Michelle Chang, head of global search policy at Google. blog post on the new policy.

Google noted that removing information can also protect people from docking, which is when personal information such as emails or addresses is shared publicly with malicious intent, such as to promote online harassment.

The company said it also recently introduced a new policy that allows teens and children under the age of 18 or their parents or guardians to ask Google to remove their images from search results. (Parents and children can apply to remove images of this site.)

Here’s how to remove your personal information from Google searches.

What will Google remove from its search results?

Google has said it will now remove personal contact information from search results, including your phone number, email address, or physical address.

Previously, the company only allowed people to request the removal of more confidential personal data, such as social security numbers, bank account and credit card numbers, personal signature images and medical records.

How do I ask Google to remove my phone number and other personal information?

Visit this Google site to begin the process. The page will ask you to provide the addresses of websites that include the information you want to remove from Google search results.

Google said people can submit up to 1,000 URLs.

What happens after I ask Google to remove my information?

Google says you will receive an automatic response confirming that it has received your request. The search platform will then review the query and may request more information. For example, if the request does not include a web address, it will ask you to correct this and resubmit the application.

Google will then notify you if it takes action. For example, it may remove site addresses from all search queries or remove them from specific queries that include your name or other personal information.

Will Google give the green light to all queries?

No. Google said it would evaluate all requests to make sure it did not restrict widely useful content, such as news articles. It will also check whether the content is part of the public archive, such as government files. In this case, Google says it will also not remove data from search results.

If Google removes my personal information, will it disappear from the Internet?

No. Google warns that removing content from search results does not mean that it is off the Internet. To ensure that all information is deleted, you will also want to contact any hosting site where your information is displayed and ask that company to remove it.

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