Almost everyone has Googled themselves at some point. According to YouGov.com, 70% of those 18-24 and 69% of those 35-39 have Googled their own names. Googling yourself is supposed to be a fun trick to see what the internet “knows” about you. But, it can sometimes turn into a lot more. That reckless driving ticket you got 10 years ago? It’s out there for everyone to see. Your embarrassing school photo from 7th grade? That’s there too, thanks to some classmate who thought it would be a fun throwback for other students to reminisce on their middle school days via a blog post. But, where it becomes really sketchy is when websites pop up that claim to know just about everything there is to know about you – and it’s often true.
When Googling Yourself Turns Creepy
It can be funny to search Google images for your name and see what comes up. You’d be surprised with the number of ridiculous memes and silly photos that are connected to your name. And, a quick Google search may show the places you used to live and people you’re related to. It may even turn up old message board posts you wrote years ago.
But, things can turn creepy fast. Google can provide anyone with your phone number and address in a few seconds. It might tell people where you work, what your kids’ names are, and can easily lead them to your social media pages. Granted, things you do, say, and put online are usually known to be fair game for any internet users. However, some people are horrified when they see information that they thought would be private out there for the public to see.
Combing for Answers
One website known as TruthFinder, for example, has been a popular way to look up a person’s personal information since 2015. It searches through public records to find criminal records, traffic records, and more. All a person needs to do is pay for a subscription. Then, they can find just about anything they want to know about you. In all fairness, the website specifically says not to use its information in wrong ways. Screening potential tenants or employees and making credit, insurance, or other decisions is against policy. In other words, it should never take the place of a background or credit check. But, it’s still unsettling to know that the internet has so much information about you at its fingertips.
If you haven’t yet Googled yourself, you can always try it. See how much of your own information is out there. You may be surprised to find embarrassing old e-mail addresses, blog URLs, and social media accounts from your high school days. If you want to remove personal information that falls within Google’s guidelines for removal, you can always send a request to Google to delist sensitive information.