?Tis the season to hear some of your favorite holiday songs on the radio, have a full date-card, and enjoy this festive time. One of my favorite songs is Bruce Springsteen’s rendition of “Santa Claus is Coming to Town.”
It?s also a time to take inventory on your dating life, manage your digital reputation, and ask yourself, ?What information is on the Internet about me??
I can?t stress enough the importance of protecting your digital reputation. ?I’ve been impersonated twice already, so, when I was invited to lunch to learn about Michael Schultz?s new service, My Info Guardian, I was very interested to hear what their service could do to help singles date safely, while managing the fine balance of relevant data and minimizing financial or personal information.
Yes, I believe you should do a Google search on your date. Whether you decide to do so before or after a first date, I also think you should keep it to yourself.
Yes, I believe if someone was convicted of a federal crime, that you should know about it before getting involved.
Yes, I was happy that Match.com took the steps to search their members against the national sex offender registry to help singles date more safely.
However, I don?t believe that anyone browsing the world-wide-web should find your phone number, address, net worth, parking tickets, and other data that could put you at a safety risk or possibly steal your identity.
According to Schultz, ?Gone are the days where you had to know someone?s social security number to be a digital identity thief.?
You probably know that Facebook owns your data that you happily share on their social networking sites.? But did you know that many of the people search sites buy and sell your data? Without your knowledge, information is being sold. This is where MyInfoGuardian steps in. Their service will remove your listings from people search sites.
At the end of the luncheon, guests were given a complimentary membership to their service. I logged on and was stunned to find almost 40 sites that had information, including birthday, age, phone numbers, email, and more. If I want to be found by long-lost friends and relatives, I should be able to do so on my own. Facebook and Twitter are easy enough sites to connect with people of my past, present and future. I like controlling the content I post.
Should you want to know if you?re dating someone with a criminal record? Absolutely. That information cannot be removed from public records by this service. ?Do you want every date to know your home phone number and address? Probably not. If it?s a date-gone-bad, you don?t want him or her showing up on your doorstep.
MyInfoGuardian is now in the process of removing some of my data from these sites. I?ll let you know the results.? I wish you a very happy holiday filled with dating safely, both online and offline or wherever you may roam.
Julie Spira is an online dating expert and author of the bestseller, The Perils of Cyber-Dating. Visit her at CyberDatingExpert.com for dating advice and follow her?@JulieSpira on Twitter and at Facebook.com/CyberDatingExpert