Saturday, August 04, 2007

How Easy Would it be to Find You?

Okay, so many people have thought about how to go about finding people, but how would someone go about finding you? Have you ever done a vanity search on Google using your own name? It’s very interesting what you can find on yourself just by doing a search on your name. The interesting part is when you try to find yourself by not using your name. This is probably a very new concept to quite a few people. Vanity searches are becoming more popular as people realize just how much information is available on the web, not only on others – but on themselves. Your identity is sensitive, but some personal information is easily accessed through online search engines and databases.

Try typing your phone number into Google, Yahoo, or another search engine. I recommend using Google, since it is the most widely used, and probably the search engine that most sites try to get their website indexed within. Try a previous phone number, or one of your past addresses – even your current address. You may be surprised. For some people, they will come up with nothing. Others may find that the search results return a huge number of hits that are an exact match for your identity.

ZabaSearch is a great testing medium, as it is free, and produces a fantastic amount of information on people. Type in your name and see what you come up with. Be aware though, for many people this can be extremely shocking and worrisome, as the search results are incredibly thorough and revealing. It has created quite a bit of controversy among identity theft prevention activists, which is understandable. Most people are unaware of how easy their information can be pulled up on the internet, for free.

This information is gathered into online databases through public records, information sold through advertisers, and opt-in email systems. Also, when you move, if you submit a change of address through the postal service, your information may be sold or provided to others legally. This is common practice, as businesses build their contacts lists, mailing lists, and “safe” email lists.

If a person was to try to find you through a search company, such as PeopleFinders or ZabaSearch, you would turn up in the records due to this buying and selling of personal information that commonly occurs. Try a few different websites, and see how easy you are to find. Perhaps you want to make yourself more available if you have people who you know are interested in finding you. On the other hand, for some people – this information can be nerve wracking if you don’t want to be found. People who have been in abusive situations may want to find out how easy they can be found in order to protect themselves, and the internet is a great place to start. Finding out how easy you are to find can really open your eyes, and cause you to see things in a whole new way, and find ways to protect your sensitive information!

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