Family Tree Now is the latest people search engine sparking controversy. It shares personal information and makes connections between relatives. Should you opt out of Family Tree Now and other people search engines?
People search engines
Moms get the nickname “Momma Bear” for a reason. We protect our family, and react when anyone comes close to violating our family. Imagine the anger moms feel when personal information is on the Internet for free. People don’t want their information shared. People search engines pop up all the time, and usually spark warnings to opt out. Should you remove your name and personal information from people search engines?
Data aggregation is a big business. Lots of businesses gather our personal information, and make that data available. Some companies sell the information, while others make it available to the public with a people search engine.
Consumer reporting companies have to make the data available to you for free. These include information on your prescriptions, insurance claims, rental history, and so on. Check these reports. They impact important financial products like your insurance rates and credit.
Spokeo stole the headlines years ago, when it first launched its people search engine. Also known as a data aggregation site. You only see basic information on Spokeo. The majority of it, including social media data, is hidden behind a pay wall. The fee is nominal, but at least it’s not free.
FamilyTreeNow.com is a data aggregator like Spokeo, but its focus is genealogy. Technology veterans found Family Tree Now in 2014. They say they created the site to make paid services available for free. With a click of a button, you can see lots of personal information for free. Three years later, Family Tree Now is still spooking out the public.
The website makes it easy to find people, and draw links to family members. The website lists current and past addresses, possible associates, possible relatives, associated names, age, and year of birth.
While alarming at first, all that data is already public information. You can find the same information on other public sources. The website is people search engine, and it’s not breaking any laws sharing the information.
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Removing information from Family Tree Now & Spokeo
Mom’s groups are warning you to remove your personal information from Family Tree Now. The concern is criminals are using the information to find where you live. While that may be the case, criminals can already find all that information. They just might have to look on more than one website to gather a full profile of you. Family Tree Now makes the data available in one place.
Our address, date of birth, mortgage company, mortgage amount, loan rate, political affiliation, and middle name is all public information. We see the same warnings during Election season when websites post political affiliations publicly.
I understand the concern and privacy warnings. It’s creepy when the information is staring back at you on your home computer, and it’s free. However, it’s difficult to remove your name from every people directory. A new people search engine popps up all the time. Are you constantly going to hunt them down, and remove your information? Is it really worth your time?
If it concerns you, remove your personal information from the public database. FamilyTreeNow.com allows you to opt out of its public listing. It takes 48 hours for opt-out requests to work.
If you have trouble with the opt out option on Family Tree Now, try again. The link didn’t work the first few times I tried. I went back to the site on another day, and the link worked.
Spokeo’s site is not free to search. Most of your information is behind a pay wall. However, you can still remove your name and data from Spokeo.
With Spokeo, you’ll find social media information too. Another reminder to hide your Facebook profile. Check those Facebook privacy settings often.
When you opt out, you only remove your name from people search engines. Your information is still publicly available from the original source.
Search your name on Google
Whether this creeps you out or not, you should always search your name in search engines like Google. You may be surprised what you find. A follower once found her credit card information posted online. She found it simply by searching her name on Google. She immediately cancelled the card. Thieves often post stolen credit cards online for everyone to see.
Once information is out there, it’s hard to remove it. However, it’s not impossible if it’s inaccurate. Contact the source and demand they remove the information especially if it’s damaging. There are also online reputation companies who advertise they can fix your online reputation.
What do you think of these free people search engines? Should they post your personal information in one place? Comment below or let me know what you think on Facebook.