This Family Tree Website Knows Way Too Much About You
Cyber security is the sort of thing that we all know we should be concerned about, but most of us just shrug off. I try not to save my passwords when it comes to important things like banking, but there are plenty of sites that have my info saved. After finding this site, I might have to rethink my entire online philosophy.
Family Tree Now is supposed to be a fun, simple way to check through your genealogy and see how far back you can trace your family. The scary thing is, they seem to know a whole lot about me (and my family) even though none of us have signed up with this website. It's okay to just list names and connections, but when they start collecting home addresses, it gets weird.
When I searched my name, I got the usual results - my name, my father, my mother, my sister. My wife also appeared, but under her maiden name. Where things got creepy is when it displayed "possible associates", which included my father's second wife, my father-in-law, my mother-in-law, both of my brothers-in-law, and both of my brothers-in-law's ex-wives! What the hell?
The icing on the creepy cake? Keep scrolling down to see your "Current & Past Addresses" - which turned out to be correct. I've only lived in a couple places, but in the case of my wife, her last FIVE homes all showed up, including the timeline of when she lived there. This is not cool whatsoever.
Here’s how you can Opt Out of Family Tree Now:
- Visit FamilyTreeNow.com HERE
- Under ‘Start Your Journey’ enter your first name, last name and state. Click ‘Search’
- Find yourself on their search. If there is more than one person with your name that lives in your state, you can narrow down your search by looking at the age.
- Click on the account that matches your personal information.
- Scroll down to the bottom and click on their ‘Privacy’ link.
- From the Family Tree Now privacy page, scroll about 1/3 the way down until you see a blue hyperlink that says ‘Opt Out Here’
- Search your information again. Once you find your page, click ‘Details’ and then a red ‘Opt Out Here’ button will appear.
- Click ‘Opt Out Here’ and you’re done. You’ll be removed from Family Tree Now’s website within 48 hours.
I'll let you know how this worked after the weekend - try it for yourself, let us know if you're on the site, if you're creeped out, and if the Opt Out works!
I know this sounds silly, but since I'm a person that technically is in the public eye, it definitely creeps me out that people can find information like this. Here on the Hawk, we're all pretty open (hey, I talk about my wife and my baby a lot), but there's still an expectation for privacy.
It took less than the 48 hours, but my info has been removed! The process worked, so you should take the moment to do it yourself. In regards to a few comments I've seen about this, yes I understand that a lot of this information is available in other places online, but this site is bad because it's all in one place, and it's free, and it lists my damn home address! Other genealogy websites might have my name or some family connections, but a lot of the reputable ones charge for that information.
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