It’s not uncommon for individuals to make mistakes and run into trouble with the law. Also, because mugshots are taken when individuals are arrested and not when they’re convicted, some individuals without any criminal record end up needing help with mugshot removal.
If there’s a mugshot of you on the internet, it can create problems for you in business and in everyday life. Employment opportunities can often be limited, and the mugshot can also affect interpersonal relationships.
This is why reputation management and mugshot removal services exist. However, there are a lot of scam artists in the mugshot removal industry as well, and some mugshot sites are simply out for your money.
That’s why we’ve put together this primer on mugshot removal. By reading this article, you can determine whether your mugshot is on a legitimate or scam site. You can also learn how to have the mugshot removed from the public eye.
At Reputation Enhancer, we’ve been helping individuals and businesses save and maintain their reputations since 2014. We can surely help you with your mugshot removal conundrums as well.
So Your Mugshot is Visible Online – What Next?
If you’ve been arrested recently or in the distant past, it’s important to check and see if your mugshot is visible online. If you’re reading this, it’s likely that you’ve already seen a mugshot of yourself online.
You may be worried about employment, dating, family, or other areas of your life. A mugshot being visible online can have a negative impact in any of these areas.
However, removing your mugshot might be possible. Read on to discover what to do next when you see your mugshot online.
How Did You Find Your Mugshot Online?
If you were arrested and ran a Google, Yahoo, or Bing search on your own name and found your mugshot, it may be part of a legitimate mugshot database. These exist to serve the public, although they are controversial.
If you received an email or social media message containing your mugshot, you may be the target of a scam.
Mugshot Removal Scams vs. Legitimate Mugshot Sites
It’s often very hard to tell the difference between scam mugshot sites and legitimate mugshot sites. Scammers in this area are often highly resourceful and can make their scam sites look legitimate.
Legitimate mugshot sites that supposedly exist for public service should never ask you for money to take your picture down, however. If a site asks for money, it’s likely a scam or a business with a disreputable model.
If a mugshot site asks you for money to take down your mugshot, it will be tempting to pay them. However, it’s usually best not to do so. To understand why, let’s look at a hypothetical example.
Mugshot Removal Scam Scenario
Two months ago, Mark was arrested on a DUI charge. Although he was found not guilty in court, he received an email after his trial informing him that his mugshot was pictured in an online database.
The email, claiming to be from a legitimate reputation management firm, said that his mugshot could be removed for $400. He gladly paid the fee. The mugshot was then taken down.
However, in six months he received another email from the same company. His mugshot was pictured on a very similar site. He was asked to pay another $400 for the reputation management firm to take it down.
In another six months, the mugshot was available again. This process repeated itself for several years, and eventually Mark had lost thousands of dollars.
Miles and miles away, a creative scam artist had become a few thousand dollars richer.
What We Can Learn from This Scenario
There are reputation management firms out there who are less than reputable. These firms often seek to take advantage of clients in a unique way.
They create or acquire mugshot databases and post mugshots online. The mugshots are then viewable by the general public.
For a fee from the person pictured in a mugshot, they will take the picture in question down. However, because they still own the picture, they can repost it at any time. This means that they can charge the individual in question again.
This is one of the many reasons that the mugshot industry has become so controversial in recent years. These sorts of scams are highly effective and lucrative, meaning that plenty of scam artists will try them.
Also, these scams occur in a legal gray area. Although these sites’ practices seem to fall under the legal definition of extortion, it is often hard to fully accuse them of extortion. This is because mugshots are often considered a matter of public record.
How to Beat a Mugshot Removal Scam
There are a few ways it is possible to beat a mugshot removal scam without paying the company or individual publishing your mugshot. Two have been shown to be highly effective.
First Path to Free Mugshot Removal – Becoming a Nuisance to the Mugshot Removal Site
This is technically the easiest path to free mugshot removal, but it often involves the use of a lot of time and/or resources.
To do this, you’ll first need to find a way of contacting the mugshot removal site. Because of these site’s construction, this can often be very difficult.
You will then need to contact the site multiple times – often as many as ten times a week. It helps to contact them by multiple methods, such as using both phone and email.
When you contact the sites, you will need to repeatedly refuse to pay and threaten legal action. You need to do your research here to see if there is any possibility of actually taking this action. If there is, the site will often back off.
Essentially, to do this successfully you need to make yourself so annoying or threatening (in a legal and ethical way) to the site that they determine you’re no longer worth the investment.
Second Path to Free Mugshot Removal – Making the Mugshot Disappear from Google & Other Search Engines
This method is more complicated than the first, but in most cases is more effective. Whenever the experts at Reputation Enhancer are charged with removing a mugshot from the public eye, we usually try the first method first and then resort to this one.
This method involves the use of SEO. SEO, short for “Search Engine Optimization,” is a way of creating web content that is often used in marketing and reputation enhancement.
The web content is question is positive. It is also designed to be naturally appealing to search engines. Search engines are companies like Google, Yahoo, and Bing, which deliver users results from all over the internet based on search terms.
When reputation management companies or marketers use SEO, they essentially try to make positive content more likely to appear higher in search engine results than negative content.
For example, in a mugshot removal scenario, we would try to make content like a blog or social media profile of yours appear higher in search results than your mugshot. This would make your mugshot much harder for the general public to find.
Although this method is highly effective, it is often prohibitively expensive and complicated for most individuals to try on their own. That’s where hiring a professional reputation manager may come in handy.
The Art and Science of Mugshot Removal
As you can probably tell, mugshot removal is a tricky business. This is why many legitimate reputation management firms that specialize in this area exist. We are here to combat the scam artists trying to wreck your reputation for money.
Before taking action yourself or hiring a professional reputation management company, we strongly recommend learning about some of the issues surrounding mugshot removal. You should also do research before deciding which reputation firm to hire.
Learning About Mugshot Removal, Reputation Management, and SEO
In addition to the information I’ve presented for you so far, there’s plenty to be learned about mugshot removal, mugshot scams, and reputation management in general. Try reading some of the articles I’ve linked to from within this article, or take a look at our blog for more information.
It’s also very useful to learn about some of the basics of SEO. Read on for a basic primer in SEO. There are also some wonderful introductory guides to check out, such as the one available at Search Engine Journal (SEJ).
For a very quick introduction to the basics, check out the short video below. Although it is very condensed, it offers one of the best possible overviews of the art and science of SEO.
How SEO Works
SEO has a huge influence over what appears in Google, Yahoo, and Bing search engine results. Because most web users never go past the first page of search results – and many don’t even scroll all the way to the bottom of that first page – SEO can keep your mugshot out of the public eye.
There’s even an old saying among SEO professionals and journalists: “The best place to hide a dead body is on Page 2 of Google.”
But how exactly does SEO work? Here’s the short version:
- Google and other search engines use a wide variety of ranking factors to determine where sites land in SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages).
- SEO involves the manipulation of these factors on a website you create so that it outranks other content in SERPs.
When content you’ve created ranks higher than the mugshot sites, fewer people see those mugshots. Eventually, if your SEO is good enough, you can push the mugshots off the first page entirely.
What Factors Influence SEO?
Some of the factors that influence SEO include the following:
- Links from other sites to the site you create
- The use of keywords (search terms) on the site you create
- The size of the content that makes up the site you create
- Other pages related to your site, such as social media profiles
- Popularity of your site
Google and the other search engines consider these and many other factors when ranking sites. A few of these, such as general popularity, are beyond your control at first.
However, you decide what is written on your site. You can use keywords you think people will search for related to you that will boost your site’s rank for those searches.
For most mugshot removal purposes, you’ll therefore want to create content that uses your name often. That way, if someone runs a Google or other search of your name, that person will find your content instead of the mugshots.
You can encourage other sites to link to yours simply by creating engaging, useful content. There are also a few other tricks that professional SEO experts use to get links. These usually involve having a lot of contact with other webmasters (website owners).
The Role of SEO in Mugshot Removal Technique
As stated above, creating content that outranks mugshot sites will push your mugshots off of SERPs for searches of your name.
You can also try to improve the popularity of sites that are related to you but not created by you. These include social media pages, YouTube channels, LinkedIn profiles, and more. These sites can also replace mugshot results in SERPs.
Because mugshots are images, you should also look at some SEO techniques for images. These will help push your mugshots further down Google Images results.
Also, because of the imagistic nature of mugshots, you should be sure to include lots of pictures on any websites you create.
How Reputation Enhancer Can Help with Mugshot Removal
Learning about and implementing SEO for mugshot removal can be a daunting task. This is why many people stuck in the situation you’re currently in choose to hire professional reputation managers.
Professional reputation managers like the experts here at Reputation Enhancer know SEO. They also know a thing or two about mugshots, mugshot scams, and the reputation industry in general. Furthermore, they have contact with webmasters who can lend a helping hand.
Often, simply hiring a professional can be cheaper than acquiring and creating web properties on your own. It is also almost always less time consuming than going out on your own.
If you choose to hire a reputation management firm to handle your case, be sure you do your research. There are several internet resources that can help you spot the difference between good reputation managers and hacks and scam artists.
If you’re interested in learning more about our approach to mugshot removal here at Reputation Enhancer, read on. Then fill out the form below or give us a call.
Although we charge for our services like any business, we offer free consultations in cases like yours. We also provide estimates and a money-back guarantee to all of our customers, whether they’re purchasing mugshot removal or other reputation management services.
This can be a very stressful time in your life, but it doesn’t have to be with professional help.
Our Method in Detail
When a client first contacts us needing mugshot removal services, we discuss the problem with the client in detail at no charge. We then do some of our own research so we can develop a price estimate. Our prices often beat the competition because of our low overhead costs.
As soon as we figure out an exact price and you sign up, we get to work. We also offer a money-back guarantee for the first month, in case you decide to cancel.
As mentioned above, we believe the best way to begin a mugshot removal campaign is by contacting the mugshot hosting site. We will often spend months contacting hosting sites multiple times per day.
Sometimes this first approach works, and sometimes it doesn’t. If we don’t see results through negotiation and communication within the first 30 days, we get to work on SEO-based reputation enhancement.
We will create a wide variety of profiles and blogs on your behalf – with your input if you so desire – and use positive or neutral images of and related to you within the content on those sites.
Then we will go on to use our SEO expertise and webmaster contacts to make sure these positive and neutral sites rank higher than the mugshot hosting sites.
Although no method can entirely scrub a mugshot from the internet without the owner’s permission, this approach will bring you personal security and peace of mind. Though this is certainly a difficult time for you, these pictures do not have to remain in the public eye.
Other Reputation Enhancement Services
We also offer a suite of other affordable reputation management services from which you may benefit. These include the suppression of other arrest records, as well as other negative content about you online.
Through our years of experience in this industry and unparalleled expertise in the field of SEO, we can bring you the results you want and need. Please, contact us by filling out the form below. Alternatively, you can contact us by phone or email.
Even if you don’t end up purchasing our services, we’re happy to help you get through this trying time any way we can.