Various links and messages are warning social media users of a website called Family Tree Now (FamilyTreeNow.com) that can provide access to your personal information just by searching for your name.
Links are spreading online under the headline “You Must Delete Your Personal Info From This Scary Website Now!” that warn of a site called FamilyTreeNow.com. Other longer messages warn of the same website and purport that criminals are using the website to specifically uncover information about LEO’s (law enforcement officers.) An example of that warning can be seen below –
Alert to all LEO’s and Family:
There is a website that criminals are using to get information regarding your family and where you live. The site is www.familytreenow.com. I went to their site and typed in my name and state that I live in and sure enough…they have my current address, as well as all of my old ones. It also lists my family members and their information, and cell phone numbers.
I would strongly suggest you go on the site and see if they have any of your private information. You can also opt out of them maintaining your information. If you find your information on the site like I did, go to the bottom of the page and click privacy and then click opt out. Some of my friends who have found their information cannot opt out. If you can’t opt out, email the company.
After opting out, I typed in my name and it was no longer listed. I also typed in my dad’s name, and I was able to opt out for him on his behalf.
If you find your information on the site I would also recommend messaging the company to express your discontent. Please be sure to spread this message to your friends and family who are involved in law enforcement.
FamilyTreeNow.com is a public record aggregation website. This means that the site collects information about a person from various public record sources and collates them in one place, allowing anyone to perform a search on anyone else to try and uncover more information about them, including year of birth and past or current addresses.
These warnings include instructions on how to opt out of having your information available on FamilyTreeNow, and from what we can tell, these instructions do work.
However it is important to realise that there are hundreds of these sorts of aggregation sites online – and it is not them that record and store the information about you, rather they retrieve records from public sources (council records, court records etc.) and as such if you do choose to opt out, the information about you is still available via these original public record sources or from other aggregation websites. We have previously discussed these sites when Spokeo – another aggregation website – became popular.
Thus, opting out doesn’t mean the information the website obtained about you is no longer available.
The additional assertion that criminals are specifically using the site to target police officers appears to be unfounded at this point. The website is certainly not intended for this purpose – it contains at least some information on most American citizens, regardless of occupation.