Free Website Sharing Personal Information: Opt Out!

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Loik098
Posts: 394
Joined: Mon May 30, 2016 9:29 pm

Free Website Sharing Personal Information: Opt Out!

Postby Loik098 » Thu Jan 19, 2017 10:33 pm

Friends,

A story posted in Time recently: http://time.com/money/4634434/family-tr ... -yourself/.

This website allows anyone to access anyone else's personal information for the purpose of genealogical research, for free. You can imagine what other purposes it can be used for. You might look into opting out.

Mudpuppy
Posts: 4837
Joined: Sat Aug 27, 2011 2:26 am
Location: Sunny California

Re: Free Website Sharing Personal Information: Opt Out!

Postby Mudpuppy » Thu Jan 19, 2017 11:03 pm

This is far from the only website out there that has this sort of information available freely online. You'll be playing a proverbial game of whack-a-mole to opt out of everywhere that has this information. It's better to lock down your credit reports than worry that someone might get the information and open up credit in your name.

Loik098
Posts: 394
Joined: Mon May 30, 2016 9:29 pm

Re: Free Website Sharing Personal Information: Opt Out!

Postby Loik098 » Thu Jan 19, 2017 11:08 pm

Mudpuppy wrote:This is far from the only website out there that has this sort of information available freely online. You'll be playing a proverbial game of whack-a-mole to opt out of everywhere that has this information. It's better to lock down your credit reports than worry that someone might get the information and open up credit in your name.


Of course. Not posting this for advice, but rather for those interested in protecting their privacy when they can. Credit reports are one thing. A person having such easy access to my current address and my relatives is another.

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celia
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Location: SoCal

Re: Free Website Sharing Personal Information: Opt Out!

Postby celia » Thu Jan 19, 2017 11:18 pm

Loik098 wrote:A story posted in Time recently: http://time.com/money/4634434/family-tr ... -yourself/.

I doubt this was an article in their (print) magazine. This reads more like an ad to get you to go to the genealogy website.

The website looks pretty wimpy. I entered the name and state of someone famous who is currently in the news. It said there were 8 people with that name in the state but only showed two of the names in the search result. The birth year wasn't even shown but is commonly known (or easily found) as there is a wikipedia page with 100 times the information on the person than this website shows.

This may be effective advertising but for a product that doesn't give you anything (except collect the info you may have just given).

This doesn't even look like a genealogy website or like it even has a database. It looks like a public records search with a tree logo and genealogy name for the website. The search results are the same as the search results done from other public records search sites!
Last edited by celia on Thu Jan 19, 2017 11:37 pm, edited 2 times in total.
A dollar in Roth is worth more than a dollar in a taxable account. A dollar in taxable is worth more than a dollar in a tax-deferred account.

aqan
Posts: 130
Joined: Fri Nov 06, 2015 7:07 am

Re: Free Website Sharing Personal Information: Opt Out!

Postby aqan » Thu Jan 19, 2017 11:27 pm

celia wrote:
Loik098 wrote:A story posted in Time recently: http://time.com/money/4634434/family-tr ... -yourself/.

I doubt this was an article in their (print) magazine. This reads more like an ad to get you to go to the genealogy website.

The website looks pretty wimpy. I entered the name and state of someone famous who is currently in the news. I showed there were 8 people with that name in the state but only two of the names showed in the search result. The birth year wasn't even shown but is commonly known (or easily found) as there is a wikipedia page with 100 times the information on the person than this website shows.

this thing is catching fire.. the other day I saw it on TV, they showed you how to opt out.
I was surprised how much information they had on me.. scary

Loik098
Posts: 394
Joined: Mon May 30, 2016 9:29 pm

Re: Free Website Sharing Personal Information: Opt Out!

Postby Loik098 » Thu Jan 19, 2017 11:28 pm

celia wrote:
Loik098 wrote:A story posted in Time recently: http://time.com/money/4634434/family-tr ... -yourself/.

I doubt this was an article in their (print) magazine. This reads more like an ad to get you to go to the genealogy website.


It's not Time magazine. It's Time.com, the owner of Fortune and Money magazines. This article was posted in Money. Apologies for the confusion.

And I thought the same as you until I took the time to read the article and then visited the website and typed in my name. Perhaps you should try typing in your own name. May not be as effective for very common names.
Last edited by Loik098 on Thu Jan 19, 2017 11:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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celia
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Location: SoCal

Re: Free Website Sharing Personal Information: Opt Out!

Postby celia » Thu Jan 19, 2017 11:31 pm

aqan wrote:I was surprised how much information they had on me.. scary

Have you ever googled yourself? Have you ever looked for genealogy info for yourself online? There's not much for me online and I do genealogy. It gave me the same results as other quicky public records searches.
A dollar in Roth is worth more than a dollar in a taxable account. A dollar in taxable is worth more than a dollar in a tax-deferred account.

mnaspbh
Posts: 131
Joined: Fri Sep 09, 2011 12:26 pm

Re: Free Website Sharing Personal Information: Opt Out!

Postby mnaspbh » Fri Jan 20, 2017 12:00 am

There are many, many, many websites that collect and share public records like these. There is no way to "opt out" of having this information stored and shared, just like there is no way to keep credit-reporting agencies or Facebook from building comprehensive profiles about you that are sold or shared with advertisers. If you feel there should be some way to keep this information from getting passed around, contact your representatives and lobby for privacy laws.

Some sites will use "opt out" attempts to collect additional information, like your location, a valid email address to link to the name, a cell phone number (if needed to "verify" the opt-out attempt), etc.

Caduceus
Posts: 1353
Joined: Mon Sep 17, 2012 1:47 am

Re: Free Website Sharing Personal Information: Opt Out!

Postby Caduceus » Fri Jan 20, 2017 8:48 am

Yes, I agree that this whole data brokering thing is getting out of hand. Considering that most financial institutions use past addresses as challenge questions, I am quite sure this spate of affairs is one reason why it is so easy to compromise financial accounts through social engineering.

The WorldPrivacyForum has a list of the top brokers that you can opt out from. You may not be able to stop everything, but I think trying to stop the main culprits from sharing your information will still earn you good returns on your time.

azurekep
Posts: 455
Joined: Tue Jun 16, 2015 7:16 pm

Re: Free Website Sharing Personal Information: Opt Out!

Postby azurekep » Fri Jan 20, 2017 11:14 am

I looked into opting out at a variety of sites for some relatives who have a lot of information showing up on Google searches. I found you have to send in a copy of their driver's license, the last four digits of their SSN, or some other form of ID. And it doesn't result in the information being purged from their databases but simply not viewable from browsers on the Internet. Especially considering there are at least 20 main data brokers out there, it didn't seem worthwhile.

Mudpuppy
Posts: 4837
Joined: Sat Aug 27, 2011 2:26 am
Location: Sunny California

Re: Free Website Sharing Personal Information: Opt Out!

Postby Mudpuppy » Fri Jan 20, 2017 1:47 pm

Loik098 wrote:
Mudpuppy wrote:This is far from the only website out there that has this sort of information available freely online. You'll be playing a proverbial game of whack-a-mole to opt out of everywhere that has this information. It's better to lock down your credit reports than worry that someone might get the information and open up credit in your name.


Of course. Not posting this for advice, but rather for those interested in protecting their privacy when they can. Credit reports are one thing. A person having such easy access to my current address and my relatives is another.

There have been websites with address and relative information for ages. I can remember sensationalist articles like this one about Spokeo when it was founded a decade ago.

Raryn
Posts: 29
Joined: Sun Dec 01, 2013 9:39 am

Re: Free Website Sharing Personal Information: Opt Out!

Postby Raryn » Fri Jan 20, 2017 1:57 pm

I googled myself with the street I lived on a while back, came up with something like 15 separate websites that listed my address. I (with the help of some other websites that pointed me at the opt out pages) opted out of every single one I found. Some required a copy of my drivers license for proof, I simply cut out everything from the photo but the information they already had (so leaving just my name/address/photo). Whole process took a couple hours.

Repeating the search today brings up 2-3 sites with that same address, and zero with my current address (though it's only been 7 months here). One site seems to somehow have my cell phone number, which is frustrating to me. Perhaps I will repeat the process. Given the decrease in the volume of results, it seems to have worked pretty well the previous time.

ikowik
Posts: 78
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Re: Free Website Sharing Personal Information: Opt Out!

Postby ikowik » Fri Jan 20, 2017 2:00 pm

I went to the website mentioned, typed in my name. My current address, previous address, names of my wife and daughter appeared...Yeesh! All in one place for easy access instead having to troll through multiple public records!
A Google search with my name does NOT turn up information on my wife, she still keeps her maiden name.
My credit reports are locked, but this level of information on that website made me uncomfortable. I opted out.
Granted, there might well be many sites that have same information, but at least one down, and it took little effort.

Thanks OP.

Loik098
Posts: 394
Joined: Mon May 30, 2016 9:29 pm

Re: Free Website Sharing Personal Information: Opt Out!

Postby Loik098 » Fri Jan 20, 2017 5:41 pm

ikowik wrote:I went to the website mentioned, typed in my name. My current address, previous address, names of my wife and daughter appeared...Yeesh! All in one place for easy access instead having to troll through multiple public records!
A Google search with my name does NOT turn up information on my wife, she still keeps her maiden name.
My credit reports are locked, but this level of information on that website made me uncomfortable. I opted out.
Granted, there might well be many sites that have same information, but at least one down, and it took little effort.

Thanks OP.


Thanks. You expressed my intention in posting this better than I could have.

Same goes for me...Google search has no idea who I am. But when I stumble on a website that does, rather than throw up my hands in helpless despair, I still feel good about trying to do something about it.

mnaspbh
Posts: 131
Joined: Fri Sep 09, 2011 12:26 pm

Re: Free Website Sharing Personal Information: Opt Out!

Postby mnaspbh » Fri Jan 20, 2017 6:27 pm

Loik098 wrote:Same goes for me...Google search has no idea who I am. But when I stumble on a website that does, rather than throw up my hands in helpless despair, I still feel good about trying to do something about it.


What exactly are you trying to protect against?

Loik098
Posts: 394
Joined: Mon May 30, 2016 9:29 pm

Re: Free Website Sharing Personal Information: Opt Out!

Postby Loik098 » Fri Jan 20, 2017 7:00 pm

mnaspbh wrote:
Loik098 wrote:Same goes for me...Google search has no idea who I am. But when I stumble on a website that does, rather than throw up my hands in helpless despair, I still feel good about trying to do something about it.


What exactly are you trying to protect against?


People have different reasons for not wanting extensive information about them readily available online. If I'm getting the intention behind your question....I'll just say that your experiences and thought patterns probably aren't the same for absolutely everyone else out there. Think of famous people, those who do work for and/or develop relationships with others that don't always end amicably, business owners, those with professional licenses who service the public, etc.....many of them probably have rather decent reasons for not wanting folks to know where they or their loved ones live, among other information. I don't feel a need to justify any more of my own personal reasons than that.

mnaspbh
Posts: 131
Joined: Fri Sep 09, 2011 12:26 pm

Re: Free Website Sharing Personal Information: Opt Out!

Postby mnaspbh » Fri Jan 20, 2017 7:34 pm

I know full well that there are many reasons to want to restrict access to one's information. I've been stalked and harassed at a former employer, and a close relative had to take out a restraining order over a bad relationship. But the information is already out there, and can't be removed or restricted under current laws. Information about me isn't owned by me, so in few cases can I actually limit its exposure or use.

Playing whack-a-mole for every particularly egregious public information aggregator won't un-break the egg. In fact, trying to opt out may increase exposure. Aggregators generally don't delete the information, but rather just hide it from some kinds of exposure. Any information one provides in an attempt to opt out will be stored with that same information--send them a copy of a driver's license, and now the picture and ID numbers are linked to that name and address even if they don't expose everything to search engines.

If one wants a particularly unpleasant example of how opting out can increase exposure, try clicking on the "unsubscribe" link in some spam email.

And even if an information aggregator has the best of intentions, they still get sold, or these days, hacked and their databases passed around on the dark web.

I've found it more practical to try to mitigate the effects of the inevitable disclosure of the information. Freeze credit reports, improve home security, increase situational awareness, opt out in the few places where one has legal control over information disclosure, and teach family members these things.


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