Who is searching for you? MyLife.com sued for deception

Privacy

Written by:

Who’s searching for you? Apparently no one, according to the lawsuit against MyLife.com.

“Who’s searching for you?”

MyLife.com asks this question to every visitor of its site, and according to a lawsuit filed in California on February 3, 2011, it lies about the answer.  For example, one victim cited in the complaint allegedly registered as “sfsf sdgfsdgs,” then received an email from MyLife.com saying that seven people were searching for “sfsf sdgfsdgs.”  Maybe this wouldn’t have raised any eyebrows if people were naming their kids “sfsf sdgfsdgs,” but something tells us they aren’t. Some celebrity baby names are pretty close in their weirdness, though.

Interesting (and perhaps surprisingly to those of you who haven’t realized yet that Google isn’t as pro-privacy as you thought), Google allows these types of ads on its search pages.  People search sites can–and do–bid on names as keywords.  Forbes’ Kashmir Hill wrote about this earlier this month:

Earlier this year, I noted that a background check company named Intelius had placed a Google ad on a search of my name. “We found Kashmir Hill,” it promised . . . [But] [t]he new policy makes clear that Google doesn’t care who places an ad on your name.

Seems like Intelius uses a similar, but slightly less aggressive, tactic as MyLife.

An example of a sponsored ad that Intelius runs on real name keywords.

Users who are tempted to find out the mystery person searching for them can pay a low trial fee, $7.95, to unveil the secret.  At least they think it’s $7.95.  Suddenly they’re charged “roughly $90 to $190” and billed every month thereafter.  The complaint says that this deceptive practice happens so often that Visa and American Express have”designated MyLife as a frequent offender whose charges are inherently suspect.”

The complaint included the above illustration to show MyLife’s shady business practices.

The complaint also alleges that “[v]ictims of the ruse then find that MyLife hacks into their address books to target their friends, family and other contacts with spam solicitations stating that ‘someone’ is looking for them.” You read correctly:  not only does MyLife.com overcharge you with hidden fees and pretend that people are searching for you when they’re not, but they spam your contacts list, too.  According to the complaint, “This starts the cycle anew by priming the pump with a fresh crop of victims that MyLife tricks with false solicitations, overbills, and hacks.”

The plaintiffs allege violations of the Consumer Legal Remedies Act and the Unfair Competition Law and seek to attain class action certification.  We’ll keep you posted on whether that succeeds.  If you were one of the people duped, you may be compensated for what happened to you.

MyLife.com is part of a network of sites:  it used to be Reunion.com, it shares a database with Wink.com, and it’s affiliated with Classmates.com, which is now MemoryLane.com.  Facing similar charges of deception in 2010, Classmates.com settled for $9.5 million.  Still, that amount is an afterthought to a company that boasted in November 2010 that it is now registering more U.S. users per month than both LinkedIn and Twitter.

How Abine sees MyLife and User Privacy

We have our own qualms with MyLife here at Abine.  First, they’re a major pain to remove people from:  they’re the only major people search website that requires that you call them to delete your listing.  (Check out our opt-out page to learn how to remove yourself from MyLife, as well as many other big people search databases).

Second, they continually republish listings that we’ve already deleted.  They carefully choose their words when we call, making sure to keep calling them “public record listings.”  “Oh, I see a LinkedIn profile and a Facebook profile,” they’ll say, as if it’s common sense that your social networking information will be scraped and aggregated and sold on a completely different website to strangers.  Sometimes we’ll remove a “standard” listing, only to find several new ones pop up from these “public records.”  Call us old-fashioned, but when we take the time to call you up and request that you delete a listing, we expect it’ll be gone forever.

We will say this about MyLife, though:  the people who answer their phones are extraordinarily friendly.  We know they’re just doing their jobs and they’re not the problem, and they do a damn good job at customer service.  Hopefully they’ll be able to find other uses of their people skills when MyLife goes down in flames.  Fingers crossed.

As much as we dislike MyLife.com, their customer service people are awesome. We imagine they actually look like these people.

Have you had an experience with MyLife.com?  Good?  Bad?  Let us know in the comments section below.

39 Replies to “Who is searching for you? MyLife.com sued for deception”

  1. […] to their claiming form.)  MyLife is ultra-shady.   They are already the target of a class-action lawsuit for their spam-and-scam practices (go plaintiffs lawyers, […]

  2. Jen says:

    I am really disgusted – I have been burned by this company twice. The first time I signed up for what I thought was a $6.95 trial and later found my credit card to be charged around 140.00. At that time, I contacted them and was told I did sign up for a larger membership. I honestly don’t know how and then I went about the instructions to ensure I would not be electronically billed for another year when the subscription was over. Low and behold, one year later I have another charge on my card for 143.40 and when I called to complain they said there was NO record of me closing the account etc and they refused to take off the charges.
    I am totally disgusted.

  3. Liars. Deceit. Scammers. Crooks. Thieves.
    Stay away from these butt heads.
    I hope they rot in hell.

  4. john payne says:

    my life have taken£142.80 off of my card and i cant contact them by email or phone so lost i think disgraceful isnt the word im afraid and all they should have taken off my card was £5,89
    they should be jailed and if i got my hands on them bastards excuse my language there wouldnt be anything left to put in jail

    regards john payne

  5. Confused says:

    I just ran across this site and it says my wife and I are related to some people we’ve never heard of. It has some of our relatives too, but I think it’s strange that it says we are related to strangers who simply are from the same city. That site is inaccurate and creepy.

  6. Jean Scott says:

    Yes, just today I googled myself and found that mylife.com had me all right. But they had erroneous and nonsensical information all jumbled together with. They had me related to two people who are NOT related to me. Worst of all, though, was that they listed my departed parent as living, and listed him at the age he would be if he hadn’t died some three decades ago.
    This pissed me off something terrible, and I called and they claim it’ll be gone in 24 hours. You better believe I’ll be checking. I will be checking over and over again. I am also calling the BBB of Los Angeles. I’ll be watching the progress of the lawsuits with great interest.

    When I called them the first customer service person was not particularly friendly and took exception to my use of the word “pissed.” I hung up on that one and called back.

    The second customer service rep. said something about how my “feelings” were about this matter. I said, “Feelings? What feelings? You have falsehoods posted up there as if they were facts. These are LIES. There are no feelings, I am staring at lies in black and white print.”

  7. Norman Fourd says:

    As Mylife.com you have pilfered my checking account for 19.95 twice but you’re still trying to make me buy for a search I have already paid for. You must do a refund if you are going to be pulling this stuff.

  8. Kevin stiles says:

    Cauition do not be fooled they will rip you off thank abount it if you have to put in your zip than the people looking for you already know we’re you are.

  9. kerry says:

    When I registered for the $9.95 trail My life.com in 2010, I beat them at thier own game. I already suspected they were shady, so I sent them a money order! Boy that pisses them off. Try to charge more money on one of those!

  10. They are sneaky lairs. The said that I could sign up for seven dollars and some change, then at the end of the sign up I was charged $99 dollars and some change. It’s a shame that you cant’ trust these internet lying companies. I am demanding my money returned to my account. I did this on March 2, 2013 at approximately 9:30 p.m and I am demanding my money back at 9:39 p.m. March 2, 2013.
    LIAR, LAIR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Sarah Downey says:

      Who are you talking about: MyLife or us? If you’re talking about us, we can’t process refunds through blog comments. Just email support@abine.com and we’ll get to it right away.

  11. Dennis says:

    Typed my sons mothers name. It came up with a picture of my son when he was 9. He is now 11. Not the point!! I want my sons picture removed. How they got it?, and why is it the picture for a 35 year old woman? LAW SUIT !!!??

  12. Jody Palmer says:

    They Are Liars & They Steal Your Money!!!…I Have Been A “Free” Member For Sometime Now…But When I Got A Messages That Several Of My Classmates Were Looking For Me..Decided To Join MyLife On 3/18/13 The Price For Joining Was $17.40/Mo…So I Joined Thinking That That Was The Actual Price For Joining!!.. About Three Days Later.. They Took Out $131.40..Singles Search To Join…..For People Search$95.40 Which Was A Separate Charge..& More Money For Your Public Record Remover!…Which I Am Not Getting!!!!!The People Search..& Public Record Remover Should Have Been Included In The Membership…Which Should Have Been $17.40/Mo!!!!!!!..After I Joined I Couldn’t Get On The Site..& Had To Call Them Up & Bitch Them Out In Order To Get On Their Site!!!They Are Running A Scam Site..& They Need To Be Investigated..& Closed Down!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Sarah Downey says:

      Sorry to hear that MyLife did that to you. Lots of people have similar experiences with them–you can see their writeups on sites like pissedconsumer.com and ripoffreport.com.

  13. T says:

    I have also just been scammed. I am looking for old family friends… they came up and i was so happy… so i joined so i could get in contact… they took a Lump Sum of 800 South African Rands out of my account… gave me no details or information… and now i can’t even deleted or disable my account.. any one have any way of getting rid of this>? please help 🙁 ANYONE… Desparation…

  14. Mel says:

    Hi, I saw my picture, my name and age on MyLife.com. And on that website it says I live in California. But I never subscribed there, and I live in Holland. So I am guessing they took my picture, name and age probably from hi5.com (because there is the only place I had that pic). How can I make them to take it off???? Me living in Holland that is!!! pffff

    • Sarah Downey says:

      That’s annoying! Here’s how to remove yourself from MyLife:

      Call MyLife at (888) 704-1900 and press 2 to speak to an operator. Have the following information on hand: name, age, date of birth, email, current address, and one previous address. Tell them that you want your listing removed and provide the information that they ask for. Once they confirm removal, the listing will be off the site in 7-10 days.

      While you’re on the phone, you should also ask them to remove any Wink.com profile that may exist for you. MyLife.com and Wink.com share their databases.

      • AJ says:

        I just tried calling MyLife at (888) 704-1900, but it seems their menu options have changed. You have to press #3 to talk to someone about removing your information. Then they tell you it that they will charge you $7.99 in order to remove your personal information. The recording says you can delete it yourself for free by creating an account on the website, but I haven’t been able to figure it out. Is there a way around this charge?

  15. Sue Solaris says:

    Can My Life really tell people who is searching for them? I got an email today that said “Sue, Sue, 50, in Philadelphia is searching for you.” I am 50 year old Sue! If somebody else was searching for me would it tell me their name and age, too? Or vice versa if I was searching for someone? I was really creeped out!

    • Sarah Downey says:

      Hi Sue-

      That email you got that says someone is searching for you is a notorious tactic that MyLife and other sites use to make you believe that people are looking you up. In some cases, you get that email because MyLife got your address somehow (most likely because someone you know uses MyLife and the site imported that person’s address book and contacted everyone). If you’re a member of MyLife, it’s possible that the people you’re searching for might get notified like this. It really depends. If it’s a vague “someone’s searching for you” email, odds are the search didn’t happen. But if it’s a specific email about the person’s name and age doing the search–and it sounds like it was accurate in your case–it could be a new tactic that MyLife is using. I wouldn’t assume that *anything* you do on their site is private, including searches you run.

  16. I had lost contact with my mother and choose this site to search for her. They told me she was deceased! Had my family’s members names,
    li
    sted correctly, her p
    ersonal info was also correct ie age, address, birthday,every looked very official. All of this info was listed on my states homes page the .gov one. I spent over two grieving and confused as to why I was notified efc. I finally got in touch with her relative and guess what? She was very much alive! What to do? What such hideous deception? This is going past any limitations!

  17. oh boy, I should read complaints BEFORE I join. well at least I know don’t send money but why did I leave correct data about myself? I always change things around ~ why did I let my guard down? I guess because I was thinking about an old flame of almost 1/2 a century ago in High School haha ain’t that a kicker ….

  18. april white says:

    I just received a notice in my inbox today(7-28-2013) claiming that 63 pple are looking for me. Of course to view “who” they want money. I can’t believe they
    are still doing this!! They are being sued, yet continue to do this!!

  19. sharon says:

    If they do not refund your money, call your bank or credit card company and do a chargeback. Or threaten my life to do this. If they get enough ppl calling and charging back the fee, it goes against their business and ability to continue accepting credit cards. They did not want to refund my bogus fee so I threatened this and they immediately switched their tune!

  20. MyLife.com scammed me. They got me last January for a small membership so I could look up a phone number. Then sent so many junk emails that I began to automatically delete them everytime I saw their emails. Then charged me this year for an automatic renew for a year. I had not signed up for a year in the first place. When I called to complain they said that they sent several emails giving me a chance to cancel the renew before the renewal happened and won’t give me a refund. Yes it has cost me over $100.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Not true at all. My ex is accusing me of looking him up on mylife recently and even has emails saying I did. I can assure you I have not looked him up since before we were divorced. I had forgotten i had even signed up for this site, never paying any money. But yet now I look like some kind of stalker. All I have to say is there is something shady about Mylife.

  22. Cherie Spurlock says:

    I just got an email saying I’m in the top 10 people looking for me.which is strange because I’ve never found my dad and now my identity stolen.

  23. Thomas Smith says:

    What I can’t understand, and find somewhat uncanny, is that every single person I know from the past that I liked has a facebook page. Nearly every single person I knew from the past that turned out to be a real piece of work has a MyLife page, including a woman I knew who tried to contact me, then used my attempt to reply to her as an excuse for a rant that ran on for pages. I also hadn’t seen this woman for over twenty years, and she had told me I was the father of another man’s child to try to demand money from me and from my mother. I don’t know exactly why, but the people on MyLife are all a little bit like that.

  24. For years I was ignoring the threatening emails from MyLife for I was certain it was scam. I am shocked to know that this harmful organization is taken for real and is still functioning. All the information they have on me is false. I have never signed with MyLife and I have never used the name they connect me with. There is no saying how much damage this organization has already done not only to me, but other people as well.

  25. Shannon says:

    I’m so disgusted by this website. I have been getting an email at least two times a week for the last two months saying that my father is searching for me, who died two summers ago. This website is fucking with people and it’s not right, I hope those fuckers get shut down completely

  26. Mylife.com should be shut down for being one of the biggest scams on the Internet! They are nothing more than just that! Lying deceitful scam artist and I have yet to find one good review of this company. How is it they are still operating is a complete mind blowing mystery to me!

  27. Tim Kinsley says:

    What a stupid website. Falsely claims “background records found” when almost 99% of the people havent been arrested. Falsely claims they found “felonies, misdeameanors, sexual offenses” when in reality there are none of them. They deceive people by making it look like they have been arrested, but they mean they found records of NOTHING. Everyones profile says it found felonies misdeamers etc etc when none is true. I know thats what all background check sites say to deceive people but still its misleading.

  28. anonyms says:

    It has my husband listed as single but a few months ago he was listed as married. Why is that. Can someone please advise. Thank you.

  29. Tammy Cowger says:

    Mylife website has lied about my reputation. It says I’ve been arrested and have criminal offenses. I have asked the p.o.s. to take the lies off my profile and delete my profile. They wanted me to pay money to them to have it done. I’ve never been arrested and definitely don’t have criminal charges against me.

  30. Julie Walles says:

    Why are they allowed to still operate if they are continuing to act fraudulently and they are totally disregarding their tight rules laid down by the court ????
    I have been duped by them and have had to cancel my card. MY biggest gripe is if they have already been in court and had tight restrictions, why arent they being monitored? If they had been moitored and seen that they havent changed their ways then the court should have shut them down. Then I wouldnt have fallen for their scam.

  31. MyLife says:

    Im NO where to be found on this MYLIFE site.

    Also, I do not use BookFace, MyFace or any other social media sites whatsoever.

    Furthermore NO ONE other than the local utility company knows where I live.

    At this point in my personal life I am about to discontinue using a cellular phone. Why ? Because the continued advance of technology seems to create larger more advanced methods of private information prying and theft.

Leave a Reply