Searching for someone online? Perhaps you're just looking to reconnect with an old classmate or friend. Unfortunately, others' intentions aren't quite as legitimate.
So much of your personal information is out there on the Internet for anyone to access at anytime for free. If searchers choose to pay for a background check or report, they can gain insight into many more details of your life that you may not want them to see.
Intelius, WhitePages, Spokeo, PeopleFinders, ZabaSearch, MyLife — just to name a few — are some of the most popular people search websites, according to eBizMBA.com.
In fact, there are more than 100 different people search websites, or data mining services, that gather people's personal information — including your name, age, address, relatives — post it publicly and then sell it.
Don't want your information out there for the taking any longer? Well, today LifeLock announces to the public its free new service, LifeLock Privacy Monitor™ Beta, which empowers consumers to take back some control over their personal information.
LifeLock Privacy Monitor™ Beta allows people to find and remove or suppress their personally identifiable information, such as name, address, age and known relatives, from selected common people-search websites and data aggregators. Removing personal information from these databases can help consumers regain some privacy and make it harder for others to access this personal information or sell it for marketing purposes.
“As people increasingly live their lives online, the amount of data being collected is exploding, and consumers say that they want more control over their identities,” said Hilary Schneider, president of LifeLock. “We agree, so we set out to build a free tool that gives consumers better control of their privacy, and ultimately puts one more hurdle in the way of would-be identity thieves.”
A survey conducted online by Harris Poll among over 2,000 U.S. adults and commissioned by LifeLock revealed that 86 percent of consumers do not want their personal information sold online by people-search websites and online-based advertising companies. The survey also found that 83 percent want to control the availability of their personal information.
A late 2014 survey conducted by Pew Research Center revealed that 91 percent of adults admitted they “agree” or “strongly agree” that consumers have lost control over how personal information is collected and used by companies.
Eighty percent of those who use social networking sites said they are concerned about third parties like advertisers or businesses accessing the data they share on these sites.
And while Americans, according to the Pew survey, are concerned about their loss of privacy, many continue to share online.
“Privacy Monitor fits squarely into LifeLock’s philosophy of giving consumers tools to manage their identities conveniently so that they can live freely in an always-connected world," Schneider said.