"Family Tree" website causing concern for privacy - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

"Family Tree" website causing concern for privacy

Source:KFDA Source:KFDA
AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) -

An easily accessible database is causing some alarm in Amarillo.

It's a fairly simple process...you put your first and last name into familytreenow.com, and it will pull up a list of all your family members and your current and previous addresses.

And as you can imagine this is unsettling to a lot of people.

It's a scary thought to think anyone with internet can access personal information about you, but that's the reality. With just a quick search at familytreenow.com, you can find your address, your relatives and their addresses.

"That website is not doing anything unusual at all. In fact, it's become the norm," says Life Lock Director of Security Communications Joe Gervais. "There are any number of websites out there, any number of service providers where you can search public records easily..one stop shopping."

These types of sites concerning, considering the number of identity thieves and other criminals.

"It seems that everything they find is public record that has been found somewhere on the internet," says APD Officer Jeb Hilton. "They've got people that go through and search and gather information and they put it all together in one spot."

Newschannel 10 hit a few Amarillo hangouts to have people test out the website on their own, and their reactions speak volumes.

To one young woman's delight, her name was not found. But for the millions who are in the database, you can opt out.

"You go into the privacy settings and can opt out of this service and they'll take your name and information off of there," says Hilton.

"It's frightening to be honest," says Gervais. "The bottom lines just comes down to being aware, paying attention and monitoring and seeing what's happening with your data."

Again, this is one of many websites like these, but one of the few that are free. Hilton and Gervais encourage everyone to keep tabs on websites that allow opting out.

"It's all automatically siphoned up into these huge collections of big data and it's very easy to search through all of it, access all of it and unfortunately abuse all of it."

Gervais says you should remember three rules for additional security. Have a strong password, requite 2 factor authentication, and set all your applications for automatic updates.

To opt out of the website click here.

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