Our offline life is now closely intertwined with our online life. Unfortunately, this didn’t make us safer. We reached out to OneRep customers to ask why they sought help from an online privacy company. Some of the personal stories they shared have literally shocked us. With the permission of our customers, we decided to share their stories with you. For security reasons, all names and locations mentioned have been changed.
John, 41: My partner was shot dead. A gang member found his home address on Google
I am a major police officer, and over the years, I’ve made a lot of enemies. It happens to everyone who works in law enforcement. With my help, many high-risk gang members were sentenced to prison for several decades. And it is very likely that upon their release, they’ll seek revenge.
I actually like my work. There isn’t anything more satisfying than stopping a crime in progress, or arresting someone who’s victimized an innocent person. Placing handcuffs on the suspect of a brutal crime is even better. Protecting those who cannot protect themselves is the main reason I remain a cop. But everyone has weaknesses. Mine is my family.
I recently discovered it’s getting more and more complicated to remain invisible on the internet. When it comes to a police officer, it’s a matter of life and death. Publicly available records jeopardize not only my safety and security, but also endangers the lives of my family.
“I want to see my daughters grow up, graduate from college, and walk them down the aisle; I want to keep my wife safe and sound.”
My typical workday is 8 AM – 5 PM. But that’s officially. As a rule, I never come home earlier than 7 PM. But even when I’m at home, I continue working; answering emails, calls, receiving messages from subordinates about the situation in the city. It’s a never ending process that doesn’t leave much time to worry about my online privacy.
Last year, my partner was shot dead by a gang member we arrested who was released from prison. And you’ll never guess how the criminal found my partner’s address – he just Googled his name. I can’t be vulnerable to a mistake like this. I want to see my daughters grow up, graduate from college, and walk them down the aisle; I want to keep my wife safe and sound.
I chose OneRep over other online privacy companies because I feel like they treat each case individually. When I see a website listing my personal information, I just contact OneRep, and every time, they successfully get the job done exactly as promised – they removed my name, mailing address, physical address and phone number from the internet.
I even signed up my entire family because people-search sites make connections between family members, relatives, and even neighbors. And I know if my information is relisted, OneRep will take care of it and I can rest easy knowing online predators can’t threaten my family. Thank you OneRep.
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Katie, 32: According to a background check website, I was married and had a criminal record - which was a flat lie
A year ago, I decided to give Tinder a try. I was on a train to Virginia for Christmas. The trip was long, and I was superbly bored, sitting by myself in an almost empty train. So I wanted to do something to entertain myself. And that’s when I thought of Tinder. I never pictured myself joining a dating app. But never say never. Times change, and all my friends use it, so I figured, why not?
I downloaded the app and discovered Tinder requires you to have a Facebook account in order to register with the app. Okay, no problem. I linked my Facebook account to Tinder, came up with a 500 character bio, uploaded six images of myself, and then linked my Tinder account to my Instagram profile for good measure. I also included information about the company I work for.
Guess what happened next.
I started swiping left and right, searching for my knight in shining armor, and – hooray! – I found my first match! His name was Greg, and we both had a lot in common; neither of us had been married before, never had kids, but planned to have a family one day. It was kind of exciting. When I got back home from Virginia, Greg asked me out to dinner and we agreed to meet. But the day before our big date, my knight in shining armor suddenly unmatched me, and our magical love connection was lost. Much to mine dismay, the same thing happened 5 more times.
I began to wonder, what’s wrong with me? Why were all these eligible bachelors suddenly bailing at the last minute?
Then I remembered, before I go on a date, I’m in the habit of checking the social media profiles of any potential bachelors. And I realised that my Tinder suitors could easily be doing the same thing to me, since I left a lot of personal information on Tinder. They knew where I worked, my age, and could easily find my Facebook profile. My first thought, was they found something inappropriate. But I know myself, I’m a good employee, a trustworthy person, and have nothing bad to hide.
“One day, you come home from work believing your biggest problem is a box of crackers in your pantry that’s past its due date, and the next morning, you find out that according to many background check websites, you have kids, debts, and arrest records.”
Eventually, it dawned on me to try Googling myself, and the information I found about floored me. According to one background check website, Spokeo.com, I was married. So I decided to explore another website, Whitepages.com, which said I had a criminal record. My stomach sank. I dug deeper and discovered the website, MyLife.com, which listed my reputation score(!), while other sites displayed my annual income, age, previous addresses, and even my current residence.
My world was shattered. One day, you come home from work believing your biggest problem is a box of crackers in your pantry that’s past its due date, and the next morning, you find out that according to many background check websites, you have kids, debts, and arrest records. And the worst part is, you can’t prove any of this information is false, because nowadays, people rely too much on what is written on the internet.
I knew I had to do something about all this inaccurate information, and tried really hard to remove all those records myself. But to do that, I had to dedicate all my free time, remember to recheck all those websites regularly, and fill out countless opt-out forms. So you basically spend your entire life trying to control your own data, which sounds absolutely crazy. Just when you remove your records from one site, another appears. So I started looking for a better solution, and found it on a discussion forum. People were talking about online privacy companies that help remove personal records from various people-search websites, and after comparing a few of them, I chose OneRep.
OneRep’s service is exceptional. They send email alerts when they remove my profile from a new background check website, even when I sleep. When I wake up to these emails, I literally sigh with relief. It helps me feel confident and safe, because even when I’m sleeping, OneRep is protecting my privacy.
Now I use dating apps secure in the knowledge that my future knight in shining armor won’t find any untrue information about me online. Hang on, Tinder, I’m coming!
Andrea, 27: My grandparents received threatening calls saying their house would be burned down if I broke up with my boyfriend
I’ve been a victim of online harassment.
Our relationship began online, as often happens these days. We could talk for hours about everything. I liked his sense of humor, his personal views jibed with mine. I thought he was my soul mate. He was charming. He told me everything that I ever wanted to hear about how wonderful I was. I just thought the world of him. Because our relationship was online, it was very easy to not see the faults someone has, and not see the warning signs. It appears I rushed to conclusions.
In time, I saw other sides of his character: aggression, jealousy, and a constant stream of accusations against me. I knew this couldn’t go on, and told him we need to break up. He was furious. Everyday, I received long, aggressive emails. First, I demanded to be left alone, then stopped responding to him at all. But his harassing emails and calls continued; as many as 20 in a single day. I had to change my email address and phone number. A week later, he found my new phone number and the nightmare resumed.
My coworkers and neighbors started receiving emails from someone anonymous who compared me with a prostitute. These emails contained my photos, and defamed my honor and dignity. The messages came from multiple email addresses, so it was impossible to block them all.
My mother and grandparents received calls with threats too. They were warned that their house might burn down if I broke up with him.
“I spent a lot of hours crying about the situation. Every time I checked my email, every time my phone would ring, I expected the worst because this is what I became used to.”
Within the span of several months, I moved several times and changed my phone numbers. But everytime, he texted my new phone, and the only thing I could say was: “How did you even GET this? Leave me and my family alone!”
I realized that the Internet is full of personal information about everyone I know.
The Internet seems to know where I’ve lived for the past 10 years. Many people-search websites list different sorts of information, like property ownership, vehicle records, identifying data and demographic info. My every step was recorded and shown to the public without my consent.
I spent a lot of hours crying about the situation. Every time I checked my email, every time my phone would ring, I expected the worst because this is what I became used to. And I sincerely believe these records could have cost me my life if not for OneRep. They explained that online records can sometimes be relisted, so they scan the web every day and remove any relisted records as soon as they appear.
I saw tangible results within a few days after starting my subscription. During the next two months, I received updates from OneRep informing me when my profile was removed from a particular website. Now if something is relisted, I don’t have to worry, I know OneRep will deal with it while I concentrate on what really matters.
That crazy stalker hasn’t been an issue since I subscribed to OneRep.
How can OneRep help you?
OneRep removes you and your family’s public profiles from all known data broker sites. Below you can see what public profiles can include.
Name, address, birth date, phone numbers, email address, social security number, driver’s license number.
Amount spent on goods, buying activity, number of orders, buying channel preference, types of purchases, type of food purchased, type of entertainment purchased.
Ailments and prescriptions, allergy sufferer, health insurance plan, weight loss & supplements, disability insurance, purchase history in health topics, smoker in the household.
Court and public record data, social media and technology data, general interest data, home and neighborhood data, vehicle data, travel data and other biographical facts.
Annual income, credit score, credit card info, ownership of stocks or bonds, recent mortgage borrower, life insurance, loan.
Age, height, weight, marital status, country of origin, education level, occupation.
Your time is valuable. Let us help you.
OneRep offers its members continuous monitoring and automated removal of their private information from 116 people-search and data broker sites, once and for all.
Editor of OneRep Blog