Menu

Family Tree Now Opt Out Warning, Privacy Notices-Mostly Truth!

Family Tree Now Opt Out Warning-Mostly Truth!

Summary of eRumor:
Privacy alerts circulating on social media urge people to opt out the website Family Tree Now because it publicly displays their contact information.
The Truth:
Family Tree Now opt out warnings are real and can prevent the public from viewing personal information like your age, address and family relations.
Family Tree Now, or FamilyTreeNow.com, isn’t necessarily a new website. The site was created in 2014. But, ironically enough, Family Tree Now subscribes to a service that prevents the name and contact information for the site’s domain holder from being publicly disclosed.
That’s ironic because Family Tree Now has come under fire for listing current and previous addresses of millions of people, along with lists of people that they may be related to or have business affiliations with. That site aggregates that personal information from various public sources and compiles them into a searchable database with the stated goal of creating “the best free genealogy site in the world.”
Other online information aggregating services like LexisNexis and Intellis charge users fees for similar services, but Family Tree Now has come under fire for making “free” public information about private citizens more readily available than pay services. That’s prompted Family Tree opt out warning on social media like this one:

There is a website that criminals are using to get information regarding your family and where you live. The site is “familytreenow” (you can find their site on goggle or typing in that name plus dot com) and I went to their site and typed in my name and sure as heck … they have my old address as well as a few of my family members and their information. I didn’t believe it at first, but I typed in my name and state and it found me.

It should be noted that we couldn’t find any reports of criminals using Family Tree Now to gather information about private citizens. Another version of the Family Tree Now opt warning suggests that people are using the site to find the home address of police officers and their relatives to carry out retribution. Again, we haven’t found any reports of that actually happening.
But if you’re uncomfortable with your information being displayed on Family Tree Now, you can opt out by clicking on the “Privacy Policy” button on the site’s homepage. From there, you’ll need to scroll halfway down the page and look for blue “opt out here” link:

Family Tree Now opt out
People can opt out of having their info in Family Tree Now’s database by clicking on the “Privacy” tab.

It’s not clear if the Family Tree Now opt out link removes your information entirely from the database, or simply makes it not visible to the public.
So, the Family Tree Now opt out warnings are real and credible. But reports that criminals have used Family Tree Now, or that police officers have been targeted by it, are unproven. That’s why we’re classifying the Family Tree Now opt out warning as “mostly truth.”