Why DeleteMe is a subscription service and not a 1-time thing

dm_flowchartWe get a lot of questions from customers about why DeleteMe is a subscription and not a 1-time sweep of deletions.  The reason is quite simple: your personal information often repopulates once we remove it.  A simple way of thinking about it is that your DeleteMe operator removes your record, but new information is generated about you as you continue to use the web, which can ultimately regenerate your profile in people search databases.  By offering DeleteMe as a subscription, we are able to make sure your information is gone and stays gone.

The FTC has said they’re cracking down on people search companies to stop this practice and we reported one company, BeenVerified, to the FTC for for claiming that it had removed customer listings, but we found them to be continually re-posting them.

Here’s a real-life example of one of our customer’s information being re-posted.

One of our DeleteMe experts, Maggie, took this photo on December 19th, 2011 after finding a customer’s information on BeenVerified.com:

We found our customer’s name, aliases, age, current and past addresses, and list of family members.

She emailed BeenVerified a removal request.

In this specific case, there was some difficulty getting BeenVerified to remove the record:  it took more than two months, but it was finally taken down on February 22, 2012.  In BeenVerified’s response email, they state “[t]his information will no longer appear in the results when a search is run on [the customer’s name].”

But 2 months later, both Maggie and our customer found the information back up on BeenVerified.  She took the following screenshot on April 23rd, 2012:

There he is again.

Maggie then emailed BeenVerified about it…again.  You can see BeenVerified’s explanation of how repopulated listings happen in their email below:

Maggie’s opt-out email is below; BeenVerified’s response is above.

But despite BeenVerified’s statement on April 23 that they’d remove the listings, you can see that it’s still up on their site way more than 7 days later on May 3rd:

The customer’s listing is on top. As you can see from the top right of this screenshot, I’m Sarah. It takes a village.

BeenVerified is only 1 of 18 people search sites that DeleteMe removes our customers from. As you can see, it takes quite a bit of work and diligence to make sure your records get deleted and stay gone for good. This is just one customer’s story out of many, many more.  Gaining and keeping control over your privacy takes effort, which is why we stay at it.  And that, ladies & gentlemen, is why DeleteMe is an ongoing subscription service (or you can follow our free DIY instructions).

Stay tuned for a future post on the how and why of the challenges of removing records from some people search sites!




Join in the discussion

  • Nick Braak says:

    Thanks for posting this egregious example of the flaws in these “opt-out” systems.

    In my own experience beenverified results do reappear, exactly as you described.

    My feeling is that their issues are on the back-end, in as much as their operation is essentially placing a web-based front-end on purchased data-dumps and selling subscriptions for access. Garbage in, garbage out, as we used to say. Or maybe we should update the cliche to “garbage in, garbage online!”

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