MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Your address, income and court records, all posted on one website for anyone to see. MyLife.com promises to deliver a reputation score based on your background, but WCCO found the information isn’t always right and getting it off the site isn’t easy.
We took our office outside to Como Lake in St. Paul to see just how much information gets posted online for anyone willing to give the website a try, and found a woman named Sharon and a man named Bob.
“I try to not be out there because I don’t want to be out there,” Sharon said.
Within seconds, Sharon found her children’s names.
“The first two. I don’t know the third person,” she said. “That’s way too much information.”
Bob was equally surprised by his results.
“Well, that would be my age,” he said. “I don’t know any of those people.”
Mike Olson is a computer security expert, whose worked fraud and identity theft cases for the Secret Service for nearly 30 years.
“There’s mixed information there. There’s some information that’s accurate, some information that’s not accurate,” Olson said.
We asked him to take a look at MyLife.com. In addition to personal information, the site also pushes a reputation score, along with alerts to possible court records, lawsuits and liens on file.
You have to pay anywhere from $1 for a one-week trial to $19.95 a month to see it.
“A legitimate employer is not going to use that website to do a legitimate background investigation,” Olson said.
Olson says the website preys on our egos, which can be delicate in the digital age we live in.
“They’re playing with some level of emotion there, which is kind of a phishing technique in my opinion,” he said.
He suggests we start thinking long and hard about the footprint we want to leave on the web.
“The general rule of thumb if you don’t want people knowing a lot about you stay off social media,” Olson said.
Or at least be sure your pages are set to private, and when we do business with someone, Olson suggests looking closely before signing on the dotted line.
“Pay attention to the user agreements, if they’re going to resell your information think twice about do you want to do business with that company,” Olson said.
He doesn’t think it’s worth losing any sleep over what’s on MyLife.com.
“I’m really kind of concerned that all of this is out there,” Olson said.
Try telling that to Sharon.
“Who is collecting this data and where is it stored? That makes you think of a lot of questions, doesn’t it,” she said.
MyLife.com did not respond to our requests for comment. It may take several steps to get your personal information taken down, as our sister station KTVT in Dallas found. They’ve posted a tutorial on how to do it here.