There’s a new website has some people feeling a little uneasy at how accessible it makes personal history.
FamilyTreeNow.com offers users a look into their past, but it also opens up that information to anyone with your first and last name. Similar site Spock.com also shows previous employers. Most of the information published is public record like current and past addresses, age, birth year, and relationships with other people. However, finding it all in one place at no cost was typically rare.
Identity Theft Countermeasures Group CEO Tyler Wildman warns online privacy agreements we often click through make the selling information to third parties legal.
Some sites give you the option to remove your name from the listing by opting out.
Spock.com’s opt-out through Intelius requires a copy of a photo i.d. https://www.intelius.com/optout.php
“In this information age, it’s nearly impossible to remove all your personal information from the internet,” Wildman said. “The best approach is to monitor your record regularly and have a plan of defense.”
1. Play hard to get with your information. Most companies don’t need as much as they ask for to process your request.
2. Use a P.O. Box instead of a home address when possible.
3. Set up Google Alerts for your first and last name to get notified when your name is posted on the internet.
4. Disguise your IP address by using private browsing on your computer or smartphone.
5. Consider an identity theft prevention program that monitors all databases (i.e. credit, criminal, bank accounts, sex offender registry, loans, etc.)