In addition to obtaining an order of protection, you must also have a good overall security strategy to protect yourself and the rest of your family from harm. One element of your strategy should include online privacy. Checking the type of information public record search sites available about you is an important task in this process.
A set of instructions to opt yourself out of the database for genealogy website FamilyTreeNow is spreading on the internet ever since a woman tweeted the fact that very private information was accessible by searching for her name - for free - on the site. Since her original tweet, the story has been covered by the Washington Post and many other outlets. The implications for those trying to protect themselves and their family from those they have restraining orders against are grave.
The results were even scarier for Alyssa Keele of Washington. Keele tells PEOPLE that someone she has a restraining order against was linked to her records.
“The restraining order I have is against one of the ‘known associates’ that pops up on my profile, who is someone that’s highly dangerous,” she says. “My current address popped up on there and I was legitimately scared.”
She says she saw Brittain’s instructions and was able to opt out, but noted, “They don’t make it easy to hide your information.”
The method to remove yourself from the FamilyTreeNow database is very straightforward. Checking sites like FamilyTreeNow several times a year should be part of your online privacy strategy, especially if you have a protective order or have someone in your life you would rather not know your current address and contact information.
Other sites which search public databases usually require payment for the sort of detailed information that the FamilyTreeNow site delivers for free. Here is a list of the larger identity sites:
A very helpful Reddit post lists links to opting out for most of these sites. The Reddit User that posted the opt-out information suggested that you photocopy your state issued ID, blacking out the picture and ID number. Some sites will require this as proof that you are who you claim to be.