Website that provides ‘reputation score’ accused of posting false information
Have you googled your name recently? If so, you may have noticed a website called Mylife.com. It brands itself as the leading reputation platform. But some people say the website is posting false information.
When Dawn Froehle Googles her name, Mylife.com pops up before Facebook and LinkedIn. When she clicks on it, the site shows she has criminal and civil court records, lawsuits, liens and bankruptcies. In reality, Dawn has never even had a speeding ticket. And Dawn isn’t the only one. When Erik Bingham checked Mylife.com, it showed criminal or civil court records found on his background report.
The site allegedly started scanning the internet.
“It’s a little nerve-wracking especially when this pops up. Attention all in red. Graphic content and sensitive details,” said Erik.
The site asked for payment and when Erik paid, it turned out his criminal record was a speeding ticket from more than five years ago.
“I don’t consider that a criminal offense,” said Erik.
Mylife.com had other inaccuracies.
“That picture just makes me sick to my stomach,” said Dawn.
Dawn’s profile picture is a photo of her youngest daughter.
“She was two or three there. That’s scary. That is not me. That’s my baby. Where’d they get this photo from?” Dawn asked.
X-Mission founder Pete Ashdown says the internet is saturated with illegitimate sites. But he wonders how Mylife.com showed up so high in Google’s ranking system.
“It’s obviously being manipulated by somebody and so they found a way around Google’s page rank algorithm,” said Pete.
A Google spokesperson provided a statement saying “Our goal is always to provide relevant results for the billions of queries we get every day. Our systems are not always perfect and we continually work to improve and deliver results that people find helpful.”
Mylife.com has faced multiple lawsuits since its inception in 2002. Founder Jeffrey Tinsley initially named his website reunion.com. In 2008, the site now known as classmates.com faced a class action lawsuit, accusing the company of false advertising and deceptive marketing. Tinsley settled, paying $9.5 million. Then again in 2011, the site now known as Mylife.com faced another class action suit claiming it was using similar tactics under a new name. That suit was later dismissed.
“Fraud has been around since the dawn of commerce so I wouldn’t say the internet invented it. It certainly has made it easier,” said Pete.
If you want to get your information removed from the site, there’s a toll free number. It’s 877-820-9006. All you have to do is ask the site to remove your name.
But if you ask where the false information comes from you’ll hear a script like this – “Our service Mylife.com uses a special technology for the internet finding those sites that have your information. Hundreds of millions of records including credit cards, bank account numbers, and passwords are stolen all the time in data breaches. That’s why.”
While getting your name removed from the site is relatively easy, some would argue in a world where Googling is almost second nature, the damage has already been done.
“This could ruin somebody’s life if somebody took it seriously,” said Dawn.
“That’s all it would take to decide between me and someone else is this little red alert thing,” said Erik.
In order to look at your background report, Mylife.com charges $4.95 a month but it makes you pay for 12 months up front.
In the past six months the Indiana Attorney General’s office has gotten five complaints about the site. Mylife.com is not accredited by the Better Business Bureau. Nationally, more than 9,000 complaints have been filed with the BBB against the site.