With so many appealing offers available online, it does not come as a surprise that people tend to subscribe to multiple websites, handing out their private information in return for special deals and discounted products and services.
According to researchers, an average email address in the US is associated with 130 accounts, making it almost impossible to keep track of every single one. Nevertheless, the information provided when creating an account remains out there and may even be used in an attempt to commit fraud or for some other illegal activity.
While you may not know which accounts you have signed up for, there are ways to discover who has access to your private information by searching for accounts related to your email address.
To help you narrow the search down, we have selected several options for locating these accounts, including checking your Google account, performing a Google search, using your browsers, social media, email or password manager, and opting for a background check company. Not only will these options produce the best results, but they will also save you time and provide much-needed peace of mind.
Why Is It Important To Keep Track Of Your Accounts?
Most people do not pay too much attention to privacy policies and terms of agreements on the websites they sign up for. However, when you create an account on a site, you are required to provide private information that is used and stored not just by the websites but third-party service providers too.
While you may forget about all your online accounts, your personal data still remains in numerous databases, exposing you to all kinds of potential risks like identity theft. This is why it is important to minimize your exposure by only keeping accounts with the sites you are truly interested in and that will not do anything to compromise your data.
To make sure your information does not fall into the wrong hands, you should track down all your accounts, determine which ones are useful and/or trustworthy, and get rid of the rest. Here is how you can do it.
Find Accounts By Checking Your Google Account
To speed up the account creation procedure, many apps and websites have developed a quick signup process that allows you to use your Google account’s quick authorization button. That means you do not have to create a username and password or provide other information while signing up but use your existing Google account to create your profile.
Google then sends a random code to third-party websites and apps, enabling you to complete the signup process. The code itself does not reveal any of your personal information, but the sites and apps may request access to the name, email address, and photo linked to your account. In some cases, they may ask for information used by the Google services you use.
This information should only be shared with trusted apps and websites, but not everyone pays attention to these details and sometimes your private data may end up in the wrong hands. For this reason alone, you should keep track of all the websites and apps you have accounts with.
If you have trouble remembering which apps and websites you have signed up for, checking your Google account can help you gain an insight into your activities.
Here is what you should do:
- Access your Google account from any browser;
- Locate your profile photo at the upper right corner of your screen and click on it;
- Click on the ‘My Account’ button;
- Go to the ‘Sign in & Security’ section and select the ‘Apps with account access’ option;
- Click on Manage apps to get the entire list of apps.
Find Accounts By Performing A Google Search
Another option is to simply google your email address or try a more sophisticated approach by using Google’s advanced search option. Go to your browser and type in google.com into the search bar. After the page opens, click on ‘Settings’ at the right bottom corner of your page and then select the ‘Advanced Search’ option from the list.
The page will appear containing different search criteria along with examples of how the search terms should look like. Both regular and advanced searches produce the same results, containing parts of the email address you are looking for. Those parts are often found attached to some social media interactions that might lead you to a particular account.
Once you are in, check for apps and websites that are no longer of use to you or you do not remember signing up for. Google provides information on every app, including the date of authorization and what information it has access to. If you decide to remove it, simply click on the ‘Remove Access’ button.
Find Accounts Through Your Browsers
Every time you fill out an online form, the browser you use saves your information like name, email address, and if you choose, your password too. This allows you to go to your browser’s settings and view a list of accounts you have signed up for. The search success varies depending on how long you have been using the browser in question.
- For Chrome – Go to Settings/Auto-Fill/Passwords. There you can check your entries and decide if you want to update or delete them.
- For Mozilla – Go to Settings/Privacy & Security/Login and Passwords/Saved Logins.
- For Safari – Go to Preferences/Passwords. There you will see the account list along with the login info.
Find Social Media Accounts Linked To Your Email Address
If you have forgotten about some of your social media accounts, the best thing to do is to search your email address. Considering the amount of private information an average social media platform stores about its users and shares with third-party services, it should be your priority to keep your social accounts in check. Luckily, locating a social media account by using an email address is fairly easy. There are several Chrome extensions you can use for this purpose, including:
- The Rapportive Chrome Extension
Alternatively, you can perform a reverse lookup through search bars found in popular networks like Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram. In case an email address does not provide any results, you can use a part of the address as a username and you might end up with a hit.
Similar to using your Google account to sign up for third-party apps, your Facebook account does the same. Many apps and websites allow access through a Facebook account, which means they gain access to your personal information. To check and remove unnecessary or harmful Facebook-related apps, do the following:
- Log in to your Facebook account and go to the arrow in the right top corner of the account;
- Open the drop-down menu and click on ‘Settings’;
- Once you have entered the ‘General Account Settings Page’, select the ‘Apps and Websites’ option;
- On the next page, you will see apps that have been granted access through your Facebook account;
- Remove the apps by checking the boxes next to them and selecting ‘Remove’;
- Before you remove an app, an additional dialog box will appear asking you if Facebook should remove all app-related posts.
Even though you have removed the app and it no longer has access to your data, there is a possibility it still has the information you have shared, so be sure to unsubscribe and avoid future email notifications. You can also contact customer service to check if they have retained any of your information.
Find Email-Related Accounts By Using A Background Check Company
One of the most reliable methods for tracking down accounts linked to an email address is to use the services of a reputable background check company. By performing a reverse email search, you will not only be able to locate the accounts you have signed up for but find out more about your presence on the web or check other people who are of interest to you. There are several background check companies whose services you can use, with Spokeo and BeenVerified being the two most popular and reliable options.
Spokeo is a background check company that gives you access to a wide range of data sources, including 130 million property records, 89 million business records, 6 billion consumer records, and 120+ social networks. With Spokeo’s Email Search, you will receive an instant, easy-to-read report that may include the following information:
- Owner’s details (full name, age, relatives)
- Digital footprint (social accounts, dating profiles, photos)
- Contact info (location, phone numbers, secondary emails)
- Personal details (estimated income, property ownership, interests)
With more than 20 million users per month, BeenVerified is another renowned background check company whose Reverse Email Search provides:
- Real name, aliases, and approximate age
- Current and previous address and property information
- Contact information
- Social media profiles
- Education, job, and employer info
- Names of possible relatives and associates
- Criminal records
Keep Track Of Your Accounts With A Password Manager
A password manager is a software solution that helps you store all your login information in one place. With a password manager, all you have to do is remember a single password that will allow you to access others. With all your login data in one place, you will be able to keep track of your created accounts along with usernames and passwords.
Depending on the password manager you choose, you will have options to sync devices, install it on multiple browsers, and store different types of information like login credentials, debit or credit card information, identity documents, and secure notes.
You can choose between free password managers like KeePass, Bitwarden, and LastPass and premium password managers like 1Password and Dashlane that offer additional features and are easier to use. Furthermore, there are some password managers specifically designed for Apple and iPhone users like the iCloud Keychain and those best suited for Android users like the Google Smart Lock.
Find Accounts By Searching Through Your Emails
This is probably the last option you should use because it requires a lot of time and leg work. If push comes to shove, you can always sift through your entire email history, including inbox, spam, and trash folders, looking for activation emails you received after signing up on websites. The good news is that there is a way to speed up this quest by searching for words and phrases related to account registration. Words and phrases you could experiment with are:
- log in
- free trial
- account created
- verify your account
- confirm your email
- verify your email address
- activate account
This kind of search will help you form a list of potential websites you signed up for and save you the time of going through every single email individually. Once you find the emails, it helps to tag or move them into a folder created for that purpose alone. Finally, it is up to you to decide which accounts you wish to keep.
Useful Tips For Managing Your Accounts
Since it takes some effort to locate all your accounts, once you decide which to keep, you should consider taking some precautions when it comes to proper account management. To begin with, change the passwords for all the accounts you are still using. It is less likely for your accounts to get hacked if you use a unique password for each one.
The best way to manage your passwords is to install a password manager. However, if you do not want to install a password manager, you can use a regular notebook and write all your passwords down. Do not store them on your computer.
After you have changed all your account passwords, do not forget to change the most important one – your email password. Your email account contains all the password information in one place as well as information related to your bank and other important accounts.