FOX13 Investigates: Website profits off public information about you from birthdate to salaries

FOX13 Investigates: Website profits off public information about you from birthdate to salaries

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — If you’ve Googled your own name recently, you may have noticed a site called MyLife.com. It’s a website that profits from public information about you, and then boils it all down to your “reputation” on a scale of 1 to 5.

FOX13 Investigative Reporter Leah Jordan got some interesting reactions from folks in downtown Memphis when they saw surprising information about themselves on that site. The website compiles all kinds of public info: birthdates, salaries, and even religious beliefs. Then, it creates a reputation score for you.

The site told Consumer Advisor Clark Howard that the score is calculated with a proprietary algorithm using details in your background report and reviews written by people who know you, but the people FOX13 spoke with said not all the posted information is accurate.

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“It’s not super-secret information. It’s just the idea that it’s all gathered in one spot for easy consumption,” Daniel Gaines said.

Gaines said the people he knows and the places he lived looked correct on the webpage. It even had his old vehicle listed, but at the bottom of the page, it said “Daniel may have Sexual Offenses. Check Full Background Report to see a list of any and all sex offenses Daniel may have been convicted of…”

Gaines said he is not a sex offender, but felt the site made it look like he could be one. The site prompts you to pay to view the “full background report.”

Despite this, Gaines’ profile didn’t have as much personal information as others. Phillip Litsey was less-than-thrilled with what we discovered on his page.

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“Alright, it looks like criminal or civil court records found on your family… Is that something you want to be out there in the world for people to see?” Leah asked.

“No, it is not,” Litsey said.

“We keep going and it says you’re a registered republican, you’re a Caucasian, and lists your religious views,” Leah said.

“That’s certainly nobody’s business,” Litsey responded.

We keep going and it says you’re a registered republican, you’re a Caucasian…nobody’s business. Your religious views? That’s certainly nobody business. Litsey said most of the information on his page was correct. Cecilia Hemme said most of her page was just plain inaccurate. The site said she is a registered democrat, a Christian, and a Hispanic American. Hemme said she doesn’t know where that information came from.

“First of all, I’m not part Hispanic,” Hemme said. “Since I retired, my income is a lot less than its listed here. They may be asking me to buy things they know I can’t afford now,” she said.

With your super-personal information, MyLife.com creates a “reputation score” – the company described it to Consumer Advisor Clark Howard as similar to a credit score, but ‘one that says much more about you.’

That reputation score was one that left some scratching their heads.

“Do you think your score is fair?” Leah asked Litsey.

“Not really,” he said.

So how do you go in and remove information without giving up your credit card numbers? If you’re just clicking around on the MyLife.com website, it may prompt you to purchase an account. But Consumer Advisor Clark Howard has two free suggestions.

One option is calling MyLife.com representatives at (888) 704-1900, and pressing 3 to speak to an operator. Another easy way? Via email. Send your request here: removalrequests@mylife.com.

Consumer adviser Clark Howard suggests you include your MyLife URL, so they can remove the correct person. If representatives try to tell you they can’t remove it, Howard gave us a step-by-step sample letter you can email MyLife that he said works:

Subject: Re: Please remove my personal information (REFERENCE#)
Body:
Reference number: (REFERENCE#)
I'm keeping this email as documentation of your refusal to remove the profiles representing my person from your site.
The information on your site is false, misleading and deceptive — therefore a "reputation score" based on this data that you are financially benefiting from is a violation of my privacy and defamation of my name.
If you don't respond with confirmation that my profile and all subsequent personal data has been removed, I will take legal action.
Thank you,
YOUR NAME