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The Rabbit Hole

I am about to lead you down an Internet rabbit hole that you may not want to know about, but you should. This one will fascinate you at first and then leave you questioning what else is out there with a disconcerting thought of how easy it is to access – to virtually anyone.

If you haven’t Googled yourself in a while or haven’t used other search engines like DuckDuckGo, Bing or Safari to search yourself, you should. They all bring up different information.

You might be surprised to find that you are listed on a number of people websites like TruePeopleSearch, Radaris, Spokeo, OfficialUSA, Whitepages to name only a few. How do these websites know so much about you?

In ways you wouldn’t think.

The most common sources for your personal information are government records. People search sites or data brokers request birth, voter, marriage and death records that are publicly available upon request like property records.

The DMV in your state may be selling your personal information for funds to upgrade roads, bridges and other infrastructure.

Permanent mailing address changes are recorded by the USPS in the National Change of Address database. This information in the NCOA is available for purchase.

Of course, all social media sells birthdates, anniversaries, current city, hometown, family member names/ages and whatever details you disclose in your profiles/posts/likes/surveys/quizzes/games /sweepstakes you play even when not publicly shared.

Genealogy websites where you or a relative have uploaded personal family information. These sites may appear harmless on the surface but in fact are people search engine sites.

Obituaries also sell you out. The local funeral home will post it on their website. Then people search sites specific to obituaries repost them with much broader circulation.

Professional licenses for pilots, doctors, lawyers, architects, professional engineers and accountants sell your information.

Data breaches where your hacked personal information could be for sale on the dark web.

These data brokers collect your personal information from a host of data providers not only from those mentioned but also from the usual Experian, Equifax, Transunion, LexisNexis, Dun & Bradstreet, Bing, Google, Facebook, LinkedIn and then sell it to other companies. You can go deeper into the rabbit hole of trying to request your data is removed but you would need to do this for every site or pay for professional removal services to do this for you.

This, however, is tedious, time consuming and ineffective. I have tried this, and it’s had the opposite effect with other people sites picking up more personal information that you have confirmed in the removal process and posting it as new, and some won’t even honor your request.

With over 4,000 data broker sites it’s not likely to stop. Plus, you would need to do this for your spouse and other family members. People are going to know where you live, how old you are and a lot of other personal details. So, you have to protect yourself, your family and other treasures in different ways, an entire post for another day.

This is funny yet disturbing. (TV-MA)

Other sources:

What are data brokers? Tips to keep your data safe – Norton

What To Know About People Search Sites That Sell Your Information | Consumer Advice (



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