Family Tree Now, a once relatively unknown website, has gained a lot of attention over the past week. Advertised as a family history and genealogy website that contains billions of historical records, Family Tree Now provides more than just your ancestral background. It is a database of personal information pulled from public records that allows anyone access. While there are many similar "people search" sites out there, Family Tree Now has created more buzz and concern over the others.
The site gives anyone the ability to find very detailed personal information for free, within minutes, without a subscription. Our Chief Security Officer, Amos Aesoph, explains the issue behind Family Tree Now:
“[It’s] a website that allows you to search anyone, and find things like birthdays, maiden names, previous addresses, and relatives. This is a legitimate problem, because as you all know, those are questions that are frequently asked when trying to access bank accounts, credit reports and more. This is a one-stop-shop for someone trying to steal your identity.”
Family Tree Now raises serious privacy concerns. Anyone included on the site is at risk for being a potential target to phishing and identity theft.
How to Opt Out
The good news? It's easy for a person to block their information from being displayed to users. Here's how to opt out of having your information accessible:
Step 1: Visit FamilyTreeNow.com/optout
Step 2: Search for yourself
Step 3: Select your profile
Step 4: Click the red "opt out" button at the top of the page. Removal can take up to 48 hours.