How to Delete the Startling Amount of Your Personal Info From Genealogy Website That Gives It to Anyone
What do you look for when you get on genealogy websites? Ancestors? DNA profile? How about the relatives and addresses of ANYONE you search?
Family Tree Now compiles "U.S. public records sources, including property, business, historical and current records" into one, easy to access site. While this would normally be used to work on your family tree, it also provides anyone with quick and free access to your personal information.
All I searched was my first and last name, no middle initial and no state, and what came up scared me. Only two listings came up for my name, but it was clear one of them was me. When I clicked on it I got my nickname, the names, ages, and birth years of my wife, my parents, my wife's parents, her brother, his wife, and his ex-wife. Not only that, a detailed list of every one of my addresses from now all the way back to high school, nearly 20 years ago.
None of this information is illegal to have or distribute as it is all a matter of public record. But this site is making it easy for people with nefarious intentions to get a complete list of names and addresses of potential targets. You don't even have to sign up or log in. Just open the page, type in a name, and you're good to go.
AOL has released instructions on how you can keep your information safe and off this irresponsible website:
- Go to the Family Tree Now website (www.familytreenow.com/optout) and click "Begin Opt Out Procedure."
- Search for yourself.
- Click on the record detail and verify that the person you searched for is really you and not someone else with your name.
- Click the big red "Opt Out" button.
- Allow up to 48 hours for your request to be processed, and your record will be removed from all places on the website.
Be sure to get your information off that website and pass this article along to your friends and family so they can do the same!
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