Free Search Tool Could Expose Your Personal Information
There is a new scam online that has been luring people into giving up their personal information. Click bait websites that promise to “find your data” or “expose the truth” about someone or something are basically scanning your computer to gather whatever information they can. When you click onto their unsecured web page thinking you’ll be getting more info, what you’re really getting is scammed. These are mostly people search websites which are also called background check sites. There are other sites too; they claim to be able to find any information about you that others are searching for. Other sites claim that they are keeping track of people who are “looking for you.” Then you follow their breadcrumbs to other pages that run a scan of your machine looking for personal information like home address, phone numbers, and other data. They can set cookies and track your internet usage and search history. They can scan your existing history and save that information as well.
The best thing to do is to not open websites like this. As tempting as it may be to google an old friend or former partner, you should put that inclination aside because you won’t get much information on them, but the website will get a lot of information on you. If you’ve already given in to temptation, and many of us have at some point, make sure your credit card information is not on their website. If it is either remove it yourself, or “edit” it with a fake credit card number. If your card is being charged monthly, (many of these sites rope you into a subscription plan that you’re not even aware of), cancel the plan and immediately change your credit card number or close that card and get a new one. You can try to contact them to get it removed but they will do their best to get more information from you and they might or might not cancel your “subscription” or remove your card. So it’s best to do it yourself rather than trust a scammer to do it.
If you have clicked on these sites and you find that your private data is now showing up online, then you can take steps to get it removed. You have to contact the company and request an “opt-out.” They have to remove your information at your request; they often say it will take weeks to do so. You can also have an internet data removal company remove the data for you, which makes it much easier and less time consuming on your end. They have more experience dealing with websites like this and can get the job done thoroughly. Either way, it’s important, more than ever before, to get and keep your private information off the internet.