Woman warns free search tool could expose your personal information

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Nicki Dillinger alerted the Troubleshooter to a website where personal info is available for free.

Your personal information could be online for anyone to see. The genealogy website FamilyTreeNow.com claims to have one of the largest collection of genealogy records anywhere, and it's all free to search.

Raleigh mom Nicki Dillinger says she was shocked to see all her personal information on the website, which is meant to track down your family's history.

"I put my name in and it had accurate addresses to the '90s, to the apartment numbers and everything," Dillinger said. "It also had all my family members and their accurate ages. It's a little scary that someone can just go in and see your last seven addresses."

It's pretty simple to search. You just put in your first and last name along with a state in which you lived. Within seconds, you can see whether your personal information is listed on the website.

"It is public information but most other sites you usually have to pay to get into it," Dillinger said. "Anyone can just go in and decide to look you up and find your current address and knock on your door if they really wanted to."

According to FamilyTreeNow.com's website, it collects information about users when someone registers, interacts with the site, through cookies, and when you voluntarily interact with third-party services. The good news is if you take action, you can "opt out" and your information will be removed from the website.

To opt out, scroll to the bottom of the website, hit contact us, click on opt out removal requests, and then go through the steps to remove yourself from the website.

Nicki said the opt-out option worked for her, and she has this advice for others: "If you don't want this information out there, please opt out as anyone can get any information on you."

I did reach out to FamilyTreeNow.com, but no one has gotten back to me yet.

Related Topics:
financefamilytroubleshooterpersonal financeidentity theftconsumer concernsRaleigh
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