Comments by Ponzi

Instant Checkmate defied Fair Credit Reporting Act

I know a little about these websites because I used to work in information mining. When I was in that business the internet was in its infancy. All of the data we handled was on magnetic tape and then CD-ROM’s. It became really crazy when you could put the voter registration records and property records on an entire county the size of San Diego on one CD-ROM. That was in 1992 and one enterprising company began selling the voter registration CD-ROM for $100. That caused the Registrar of Voters to clamp down on data sales. Anyway, that a whole other story. With the internet, these companies make money selling information that is basically public records of some sort like Don Bauder said. Then the companies sell it to each other. Some of these companies operate under several different names. Often times they offer to sell criminal records which don’t exit or email addresses they don’t have, then you’re out your money unless you spend a great deal of time hounding the company for a refund or disputing the charge on your credit card. You can opt out on most of the websites, but some make it very difficult. Ironically, to opt-out you may have to give them more personal details about yourself. Also, even if you opt-out there is a good chance your name will pop back up in a year or so because these businesses sell the data to each other and re-populate their databases. One company that specializes in helping people remove their data from internet database firms is Albine. They also offer some handy tips on how to do it yourself. https://www.abine.com/optouts.php In my opinion the business is a double-edged sword. It’s good if it is used for positive purposes and bad in the hands of wrongdoers. Since I am handy at locating data, I have helped many people relocate relatives and loved ones they lost touch with. I’ve helped law firms find the heirs named in wills and I helped track down deadbeat dads. It’s not what I do for a living, I just do it as a favor for friends. But some people abuse the data and use it for marketing or worse to stalk. For example, since the age accompanies most data, many scoundrels will target elderly people for scams.
— April 14, 2014 12:14 p.m.