Does ZabaSearch make your private information public?

Public Records

Searching public records used to mean reading books like this, now services like ZabaSearch do it for you. Image from Flickr.

Personal information and privacy on the internet can be a sticky issue – and ZabaSearch is just one of many public-records search engines available online. Some worry that ZabaSearch may be used to share information they don’t want shared. ZabaSearch results aren’t ‘t always accurate, however.

How ZabaSearch works

ZabaSearch operates much like Spokeo or other public-records search programs. ZabaSearch uses a computer program to scour and compile publicly available information. When you enter a name into ZabaSearch, it returns the information it has compiled. Basic search results are provided for free, and extended search results are available for a fee.

What information does ZabaSearch provide?

The basic ZabaSearch search result provides an address and phone number, as well as a Google Maps view of the address. A paid ZabaSearch report includes current and former addresses, average home value, a credit report, tax resolution records, a criminal check, and information about possible neighbors and relatives. The paid ZabaSearch result is paid for through Intelius, a background-check and public information business.

Can I opt-out of ZabaSearch?

Seeing a lot of your information made easily found on ZabaSearch can be scary. While information such as this has been public for years, the fact it is so easy to find is relatively new. ZabaSearch is known for getting results wrong as often as right. The program does not use a human element to “connect the dots”. So if your name is listed as “Mary A. Rice” in one place, and “Mary Rice” in another, ZabaSearch will see it as two different people. Opting-out of ZabaSearch is not necessarily easy, because the service relies on publicly available information. While ZabaSearch does allow you to “opt-out” by faxing them your proof of identity, there are other search engines that do the same thing. If you have a “compelling privacy or security issue” it may be worth it to contact the custodians of public records such as land records offices, phone company, county tax office, etc., to ask for your records to be sealed.

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