PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Ever Googled yourself?
Were you surprised by what you found?
There are all kinds of websites that try to profit from your personal information.
But there is growing concern over one in particular called MyLife.com.
The California-based website sets itself apart by offering many of those details for free, as well as rating people’s reputations.
In this case, it’s a reputation that you have no say in building. Rather, it’s an arbitrary score assigned to you by the website.
Angie Wilkerson was so concerned about her so-called reputation score that she contacted KDKA’s sister station KTVT, in Dallas, Texas, for help.
“It’s deceiving. I would almost call it nefarious because you don’t know if it’s true or not,” Wilkerson said.
Wilkerson was searching herself online, when she came across MyLife and a rating tied to her name.
It was 3.75 out of 5.
She says the score seemed odd, and when she started scrolling down the website, it became even more odd.
“I found my birth date. At that time, it had what car I drove, what type of car, what year it was, how much I made, my neighbors. It said I may have court records. Just information that shouldn’t be out there,” Wilkerson said.
The website even suggested Wilkerson might have a criminal background, including sex crimes, lawsuits and liens.
Wilkerson does not have a criminal record, so when she tried to see the records MyLife was referencing, she discovered she needed to pay anywhere from $6.95 to $18.95 a month to get that information.
“I’m a stay-at-home mom. I mean, I don’t even have a traffic ticket. I haven’t done anything. I pay my taxes. I go to the grocery store. I’m not competing with anybody for any kind of score. I am absolutely appalled,” Wilkerson said.
MyLife feeds off the idea that reputation matters.
Your rating can be dragged down by your relatives, neighbors, people you’ve had past relationships with or even total strangers.
But you can improve that score, by interacting with the site.
In addition to the reputation score, what makes MyLife unique is how much information they offer for free.
“It’s coming from public sources, so they’re not doing anything wrong when they publicize it,” privacy advocate Hayley Kaplan said.
Kaplan says it’s legal to share information that is already public, but she takes issue with the aspect of MyLife that suggests you may or may not be a criminal.
“I would say that’s extremely unethical,” Kaplan said.
Technically, an offense as minor as a traffic ticket qualifies as a court record.
But with bold colors, fonts and exclamation points, MyLife leaves the details of your record to the imagination.
KDKA decided to put MyLife to the test during a recent afternoon in Market Square. We wanted to see how accurate the information was on MyLife for random people we met.
First up was Justin Matase.
His MyLife profile says he once lived in Easton, Pennsylvania, which he says is true. It lists the names of people who are “known associates” of his, but Matase says the people named are merely his neighbors.
It also says he has arrest and criminal records.
Matase told us he has never been arrested, but he did admit to having a couple of traffic tickets in his past.
Next, KDKA talked to Emily Manganaro.
Her MyLife profile says she’s Christian and Caucasian. Manganaro confirmed both are correct.
But again, MyLife says she may have arrest or criminal records, of which Manganaro says she has none.
And finally, KDKA researched Tameka Dallas on MyLife.
Just like Matase and Manganaro, Dallas’ profile claims she has a criminal record, including possible sexual offenses. But Dallas told KDKA she has never been convicted of any sexual crimes.
And the icing on the cake for Dallas? Her profile listed her ethnicity as Caucasian, when she is actually African-American.
So how do you remove your profile from MyLife?
Click here for a complete in-depth step-by-step tutorial.
KDKA reached out to MyLife for comment, but so far we have not received a response.