Remove your information from this website if you won't want it public
HOUSTON – A website claiming to help people research their genealogy and find ancestors is sharing a lot of information about you.
On www.FamilyTreeNow.com, anyone can search by your name and see your current and past addresses where you've lived, your birth month and year and all of your known relatives.
While there are ways for anyone to get this information through public records, some feel that this website makes it far too easy.
"This is really scary," said one Click2Houston.com digital producer when she looked up her name on Family Tree Now. In seconds, the website revealed every address she had ever lived.
"Including one... I was only in an apartment for about four months. They have that also," she told consumer expert Amy Davis.
"It's has my parent's names, their ages... my brother's ex-wife is on here," said another digital producer, looking at his records.
There are even friends and acquaintances listed as "associates."
"Actually, the woman who stole my mother's identity is on here and connected to us... which is very interesting," said one producer.
Identity theft is the main concern the producers have with the website's information free for all. While Family Tree Now purports to make it easy to research and find ancestors, it could also make it a breeze to gather up all the information you might need to log into someone's online bank account.
"What's your mother's maiden name? Or what's the street you grew up on? Or any of that kind of stuff, and that's all right here for people to see," one of the producers told Davis.
It is true that all of this information can be obtained through public records, but it would take a bit of digging, or you could register with a website like Spokeo or Intellius and pay for the information.
"I don't want this information out there in one place. I want people to scramble if they're really trying to find me," the producer said.
Family Tree Now does have a simple opt-out page where you can request that the site remove your information. No one from the site replied when we reached out, but the site says it can take up to 48 hours to process your request. You can bet if this site is now posting the information with no registration, no fees required, others will follow suit.
Consider that when creating passwords and security questions using information that is easily found about you.
Davis contacted the Federal Trade Commission. An FTC spokesperson told her he couldn't say if the FTC was concerned or looking into Family Tree Now and how they're posting the information.
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