Published Published August 20, 2020
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Real stories: foster parents face unique privacy challenges

foster parents face unique privacy challenges

This blog series features real stories from Onerep customers. They highlight just how serious online privacy violations can be along with the consequences and fallout for individual victims and their families. This post tells the story of foster parenting, a noble yet difficult undertaking.

Recent research shows that foster parents experience overall more stress than biological parents. Some of this stress comes from the often difficult relationships between foster parents and kids’ biological families. As many foster and adoptive parents use Onerep to protect their privacy, we regularly hear stories of foster families being stalked, harassed and bullied by the biological relatives of the children they open their hearts to.

Technology makes it easy for biological family members to find foster parents through search (that leads to people-search sites) and social media. We’ve seen instances where biological relatives post harmful messages on foster parents’ pages, ruining reputations with false accusations that eventually force new placement for the child. 

There is also a physical threat associated with having your sensitive personal details posted on people-search sites; full names, addresses and phone numbers exposed on MyLife, Whitepages, Spokeo and similar websites can give rise to stalking, trailing, threatening and harassment of foster parents and their families.  

Onerep customer George C. from New York has had this traumatizing experience. We asked for his permission to share his story with our readers. If you find yourself in a situation like this or you consider foster parenting but are scared of stalking or harassment, you need to know there is a way out.

George’s story of harassment as a foster parent

I’ve been a foster parent for over six years and to seven kids. Normally we don’t have to worry about aggressive parents and wonder if they have our personal information. This changed last year when one of the birth parents found us online and started sending a lot of angry messages. The messages ranged from unfounded accusations to personal attacks to direct statements about some of our information (including our full name). As we searched online we realized how many sites had our personal information, including our home address, phone number, and family details. I became highly anxious and immediately started removing our personal information from as many sites as I could find. I was frightened at the idea that an angry birth parent could track us down at our home, try to forcibly take their kids back, physically attack us, or even kill us, especially since there was already a history of violence. 

I was frightened at the idea that an angry birth parent could track us down at our home, try to forcibly take their kids back, physically attack us, or even kill us…

As I started going through the many sites that contained our names and personal information, I realized how extremely tedious that would be to manage. Parenting and fostering was already challenging, without the added threats.  I searched around and found Onerep. I loved the idea of a service taking on the burden of removing me from all these sites, and the customer service was excellent. 

We’re over one year in and I feel much better about my personal information online. I can see how many sites Onerep has removed my information from, which makes me feel good as I think about my name and address being that much less visible. I don’t feel like I have a target on my back and I don’t have to stress about someone showing up unannounced at my house and potentially hurting my family and the kids in my care. The feeling of safety makes me feel like Onerep has definitely been worth it!

Staying safe

If you are concerned about safeguarding your family against stalking and harassment, try Onerep’s family plan. The plan covers up to 6 family members. We monitor the web and automatically remove your family members’ unauthorized profiles from 199 people-search sites. Take control of your online presence and don’t let exposed personal information affect your family’s safety.

image Maria Shishkova Digital Marketer & Privacy Expert at Onerep

Maria is an experienced digital marketer and a regular contributor to Onerep’s blog. She is dedicated to promoting Onerep’s mission to make privacy affordable for everyone.

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