Someone has shared my personal information online
Last updated: 21 July 2021
This guide covers situations where personal or identity information has been shared online without consent, usually as a means of harassment or intimidation.
If this is not your situation, these guides might be more useful:
- If someone is sharing images of you online but not with your personal/identity information, see our guide Someone is sharing my images in a sexualised way
- If someone is sharing your intimate images online, whether with or without your personal/identity information, see our guide Someone is sharing my intimate images
What is 'personal or identity information'?
In this guide, we consider ‘personal or identity information’ to be any information that you consider to be private, such as:
- Your name or past name, NRIC/passport number, date of birth, or residential address,
- Your email address, telephone number, signature, or account passwords,
- Financial information like credit card numbers, banking details, etc.
- Photographs or video recordings of you;
- Information about your family, employment, education, etc.
If you are below 16 years old
Please reach out to a trusted adult now.
This can be your parents, your legal guardian, a school teacher, or a school counsellor. Let them know that this has happened to you. We know it is scary, but you may be in danger.
Remember that this is not your fault, even if it feels embarrassing. Your friends might not know much more than you about this – a trustworthy adult can help you decide what to do.
Most of this guide is still applicable for you, but don’t deal with this alone. Please find someone to support you.
What to do now?
Record what happened
Collect as much evidence as you can (e.g. take photos, screenshots, recordings) and start keeping notes of what happened. Do this before you do anything else. This is important because you will be asked for evidence when you report to platforms, the police, or courts.
Email these notes and the evidence to yourself or someone you trust. This will add a timestamp, which can help you to keep track of what happened and make this record more useful to the police or courts.
Remember to also keep yourself safe. Please do not put yourself in danger for the sake of collecting more evidence. Your safety is your number one priority.
Reach out to people you trust if you need help and support.
Report to platforms
Report the posts/users sharing your personal information to the platforms involved. This is important to stop or slow down the spread of this information.
On the relevant platforms, look for a place to report
Violations of Terms of Service or
Violations of Community Guidelines. You can save each report you make and copy-paste to the next form.
If your personal information is being shared via an account pretending to be you, you can also report this as impersonation to the platform.
Secure online accounts
If you were hacked or are concerned you might be hacked, secure your online accounts now by changing passwords and activating 2-factor authentication.
This is especially important if:
- You have used the same email address and/or passwords for other accounts
- The information that was leaked (such as your mother’s maiden name or your past addresses) could be used to answer security questions you have set for your accounts
What to do next?
Below, we’ve listed further actions you can take. These are all optional – it is up to you to decide what you would like to do.
You may want to Google yourself to ensure that you have reported every place where your information has been shared. This is also important if your contact details have been shared and you want to reduce the risk of harassing messages/calls.
Our guide to identifying what information about you exists online helps you assess the information that is currently available about you online as well as understanding what additional information this links to (i.e. if your full name was shared, this might connect someone to your Facebook).
Limit unwanted contact
Once you have identified what information about you is accessible online, remove any info that people can misuse to harm you. Our guide to limiting unwanted contact can help you minimise the risk of unwanted contact and harassment. The guide also includes instructions for adjusting your privacy settings.
Apply for a remedy under POHA
You may wish to consider applying for a remedy under the Protection from Harassment Act (POHA) as it is an offence under POHA to publish an individual’s identity information with the intent to cause them harassment, alarm, or distress.
What counts as identity information?
According to the law, ‘identity information’ means “any information that, whether on its own or with other information, identifies or purports to identify an individual”. This includes, but is not limited to:
- Your name, NRIC/passport number, date of birth, or residential address,
- Your email address, telephone number, signature, or password,
- Any photograph or video recording of you;
- Any information about the your family, employment or education
What counts as causing harassment or provoking violence?
It is an offence for someone to post your identity information with the intent to cause you harassment, alarm, or distress. You can read the law here , which includes this example:
- An ex-romantic partner writing a post on social media with abusive and insulting remarks about you; subsequently posting photos of you and your mobile number to cause you harassment. Even if you did not see the post itself, receiving and being harassed by phone calls and messages from strangers who have read the post is considered as ‘causing harassment’.
It is also an offence for someone to post your identity information with the intent to cause violence to be used against you or to cause you to believe that violence will be used against you. You can read the law here , which includes this example:
- A classmate writing a post on a site that your classmates use, stating your identity information and encouraging others to ‘beat you up’.
Under POHA, you can apply for civil remedies relating to harassment (e.g. protection order, expedited protection order) or remedies relating to false statement of facts (e.g. stop publication order, correction order). A Protection Order, for instance, would order the perpetrator to stop their behaviour.
Our guide to applying for a remedy under POHA provides further information on POHA and the application process.
If you are unsure of your legal rights, you may wish to seek legal advice: Find legal support
If you want to report someone to the police so that the police may conduct investigations, you may wish to make a police report instead.
Set up a Google alert
You can set up a Google alert to monitor information posted about you.
A Google alert prompts Google to send you an email when new results about you show up in Google search results.
Take care of yourself
Reach out to people you trust to let them know what you are going through. They can support you emotionally and help with any actions you decide to take.
Additionally, you can refer to our directory Find support in Singapore to find a hotline, legal clinic, mental healthcare provider, or other social service that best fits your needs. In the directory, you can also find resources that can help you make sense of the emotions you may be feeling in that directory.
If you would like another perspective on questions about the risks associated with having your information shared online or the actions you can take, you can read Crash Override Network: So You’ve Been Doxxed . This was written by someone who survived a severe campaign of online harassment, including having their personal information leaked.