DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – A “people finder” website known for rating people’s reputations could be publishing inaccurate information about you online.
MyLife.com is just one of many companies that attempt to profit off your personal information.
But the California-based company sets itself apart by offering many of those details for free, as well as rating people’s reputation on a scale of zero to five.
Angie Wilkerson, of Joshua, Texas stumbled upon her profile while she was was perusing the internet. MyLife.com gave her a reputation score of 3.75.
“I think I would be at least a four,” said Wilkerson.
At first, the information on the site seemed accurate.
“I found my birth date, it had what car I drove, what year it was, how much I made,” Wilkerson said. “Just info that shouldn’t be out there.”
But the page also suggested Wilkerson may have a criminal background, on top of liens, lawsuits, even sex crimes.
“It’s deceiving,” she said. “I would almost call it nefarious because you don’t know if it’s true or not.”
Wilkerson has never been charged with a crime. When she tried to see the records MyLife was referencing, she discovered she needed to pay a fee.
MyLife.com offer her subscriptions ranging between $6.95 per month and $18.96 per month.
“I am absolutely appalled,” Wilkerson said.
MyLife is a new twist on an old concept: the concept of selling personal information to you or someone who wants to find you.
The business feeds off the idea that reputation matters. Even if your background is clean, your rating can be even tainted by your associates: relatives, exes, or neighbors.
The company tells customers they can improve their scores by interacting with the site.
“Did you ever send out your resume and never hear back?” says a man in a video that appears on MyLife.com. “Or text a woman asking her to dinner and she didn’t bother to reply? Ever wondered why this happened? Well, there’s that pesky thing called your reputation.”
In a past life, MyLife went by a different name: Reunion.com
But in 2008, the site faced a class action suit that claimed the company misled customers into believing acquaintances wanted to find them.
In 2009, Reunion.com rebranded itself as MyLife.com. In 2011, the case was dismissed with prejudice.
One of the plaintiff’s attorneys, Karl Kroneberger, said he could not comment on whether the parties reached a settlement.
Privacy advocate Hayley Kaplan said it’s legal to share information that’s already public.
“It’s coming from public sources, so they’re not doing anything wrong when they publicize it,” said Kaplan, runs the site, “What is Privacy?”
But Kaplan takes issue with another aspect of MyLife: the suggestion you may or may not be a criminal.
“I would say that’s extremely unethical,” Kaplan said.
Technically, an offense as minor as a traffic ticket qualifies as a court record.
But with colors, fonts and exclamation points, MyLife leaves the details to the imagination.
Removing that information can be hard. Wilkerson contacted MyLife to take down her profile.
But weeks later, she found a similar page under her name.
The only difference? MyLife stated Wilkerson was 99 years old.
“I’m very disturbed by it,” Wilkerson said.
She’s not the only user who encountered trouble.
“I look it up, my name’s there and I send them an email, they take it off for three months, it’s back up three months later,” said Don, who asked to not use his last name.
Don wanted his profile purged after MyLife posted information about his daughter, who serves in a classified role in the military.
The page was removed only after Don threatened legal action.
“That’s when they said it will be processed in seven to twelve business days,” Don said.
To check how accurate the statements are on MyLife.com, The Ones for Justice surveyed people in Klyde Warren Park in Dallas.
Many individuals had no idea their personal information such as their address, age, religion and political affiliation, was available online for anyone to see.
They were even more shocked by the fact some information that wasn’t true.
Using a computer, people checked their scores and public profiles.
Ellen Becker says MyLife got her life totally wrong.
“I’m Jewish, not Christian,” Becker said. “I am not single. I am very, very happily married!”
Jason Villalba, a former Dallas mayoral candidate, said the site botched several of his policy positions.
“I am not a Tea Party supporter,” said Villalba. “I’m for marriage equality, I don’t oppose marriage equality.”
Calandra Paul disagreed with just about everything she spotted on her profile.
“It’s false,” Paul said. “It’s very false.”
The site also suggested Paul “may have sexual offenses.”
“I’m sexy, but I don’t have sexual offenses,” Paul said.
BEHIND THE LENS
Many individuals stated they planned on asking MyLife to remove their pages.
But Villalba said with the internet, there’s only so much you can do
“If you look to the internet for your information you always expect to take it with a grain of salt,” Villalba said.
MyLife did not respond to repeated requests for comment or interviews.
Trying to remove yourself from MyLife? The Ones for Justice created a tutorial.
Consumers should never pay to remove themselves from people finder sites.
MyLife has faced several lawsuits in recent years.
In 2011, an Ohio man sued MyLife.com over the suggestion he had committed criminal activity.
A lawsuit filed in 2012 in Oregon alleged MyLife.com posted information about a man’s family without seeking anyone’s permission.
Both cases were eventually dismissed.