The Dangers Of Inaccurate Profiles - And Response

Sunday, October 20, 2019

A relative living out west alerted me to a profile of myself listed on a site called "My Life." The problem is outside the name, address and potential age, over 99 percent of what's listed is inaccurate. There's even a picture of another "me" not directly attached to the profile but close enough to be mistaken as part of the profile to give the impression the person in the picture, who lives across town I believe, is actually "me." She's not. I do not know her. I've never met her. The other "me" has no relations to myself or anyone in my family. The other "me" has a Facebook account. I don't.  

I learned several years ago after going to check out a book at the downtown library and being told I had an outstanding book I never returned there are about five other "mes" living somewhere in the Chattanooga area. That doesn't even begin to include the other "mes" living as far away as New York or as close as Memphis. That other "me" in the never returned book at the library situation turned out to be someone living across town in another community with a totally different address I'd never lived and rarely ventured into that side of town. Someone had mistakenly attached her overdue book card to my name without accurately comparing addresses or social security numbers. Or maybe they thought the person was me and had moved. But at the time I'd lived at the same address for more than 20 years. 

There's lot of things that can go wrong, even placing a person in danger, with inaccurate information posted on an online profile. There are phone numbers with out of town area codes listed on that "My Life" profile of "me" I don't recognize and never had. There's even less than accurate information listed about my children. How can a site be allowed to get away with something so critical and possibly dangerous even I can't understand. That's for myself as well as the other "mes" with a same first and last name. 

Imagine all the potential dangerous scenarios: A stalker. Another "me" with a warrant, or being sought by bounty hunters, or a U.S. Marshall? It has happened where the wrong door was busted down or the wrong person was thrown in the trunk of a bounty hunter's vehicle and driven several miles away into another state before they realized they had the wrong person. And those things happened even long before there were such sites as "My Life" openly on the web posting profiles. But this openly posted on an internet site can have a much wider audience, and therefore greater consequences, than having one's name wrongly attached to a library book that was never returned. Imagine a victim "me" of domestic violence attempting to escape an abusive relationship and the abuser coming across that inaccurate profile of another person online, and believing that's the person they seek? 

There needs to be some laws restricting what such sites can put up about individuals without their knowledge and consent. There should also be accountability when they list inaccurate information about a person without first verifying it.

You can call this "My Thoughts."

Brenda Washington

* * * 

Brenda, you again hit the nail on the head.  A few months ago I ran a name through them, the name of a convicted felon.  She murdered her husband on Halloween three years ago, was convicted of 2nd degree murder and has been in prison since the first part of the year.  Her profile shows her as an upstanding member of the community, no police record, active in the community and an all in all great human being.

While I have no use for this convicted murderer it's appalling that someone "could" pass a background check if this site were utilized.  Of course she's in prison but what about the 14 months it took to get her there while she was running free out on bail?  She could have been someone's nanny, she could have been the bank teller, the grocery clerk...she could have been in a position where she couldn't control her anger and harm or even kill another person. 

I'm with you, this site needs to be overhauled or shut down.

Sue White


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