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CheckThem is a web application that uses advanced technology to provide comprehensive and instant background reports to paying users. However, the service is not compliant with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). Thus, it should not be used to decide insurance, consumer credit, housing, employment, scholarship, benefits, or other related matters. Neither should it be used to blackmail, harass, stalk, or impersonate anyone or for any purpose that will violate any applicable federal or state law.
CheckThem obtains most of its data from local, state, and federal government open records. It compiles this public information into digestible formats (reports), which are accessible by entering specific keywords such as a person's name, phone number, address, age, city, or state into a preferred search engine. However, note that the data gathered and provided by the website is specific to citizens of the United States. Currently, CheckThem features five search engines:
- People Search
- Criminal Records Search
- Reverse Phone Lookup
- Reverse Address Search
- Dark Web Search
Using these tools, an individual has access to a range of background information and public records, including:
- Property records and assessments
- Criminal, arrest, and conviction records
- Employment details
- Contact information
- Social media accounts
- Licenses & permits
- Marriage records
- Divorce records
- Civil lawsuits
Members of the public can also browse a phone or name directory. The Phone Number Directory segregates telephone numbers in the United States by area codes (200 to 900). Interested persons can click an area code to view its prefixes, counties, cities, carries, and types (landline or wireless). By clicking a prefix, they can select a particular phone number to view its location, carrier, and phone type. Additionally, by clicking the state map, the directory will show a state's demographic information, crime statistics, and phone/area code statistics.
On the other hand, the Name Search Directory allows users to view a person's full name, age, city, state, address details, relatives (limited to a specific number), and know if any state or federal public records exist. Like the Phone Number Directory, the Name Search Directory has an additional featureâ€”it allows users to search for the meaning of a name and view its historical popularity.
No matter the search tool or feature used, an individual will have to pay a subscription fee to access more information about a person. The site only offers very basic information for free. CheckThem's monthly plan costs $34.85. However, new users are eligible for a 5-day trial at $2.99.
With all this information out in the open, it is understandable why a person would want to protect their privacy and delete records from the website. For this reason, CheckThem offers a manual opt-out process that the owner of the record can complete.
How to Opt-Out of CheckThem
The steps to opt-out or remove a listing/record from CheckThem are as follows:
Scroll to the footer of the website and click "Remove My Info" under Quick Links.
Input your first name, last name, and city in the correct fields. Also, select your U.S. state from the dropdown menu. Then, click "Search Now."
On the next screen, find the appropriate listing and click "Choose."
Complete the form by filling in a valid email address, checking the CAPTCHA, and answering two questions: one English and one Math. Then, click "Send Verification Email."
Requesters should check for an email from CheckThem and click the confirmation link in the body of the email. CheckThem tries to process these requests within 48 hours, but it may take longer. Once processed, the company will send another email verifying the removal.
Though this is the easiest way to opt out of CheckThem, individuals who want alternative opt-out methods can contact the customer support team at (800) 410-3722. This is a toll-free number that can be dialed from 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. Individuals can also contact the team by email at email@example.com or mail:
861 Sixth Avenue, Suite 310
San Diego, CA 92101
Inquiries regarding the deactivation of a CheckThem membership account can also be directed to the customer service department.
Anyone who does not want the website to disclose their personal information for third-party advertising should not tick the relevant box authorizing such action during the registration process. The same goes for email correspondences and targeted advertisements. Individuals can also send email requests or log in to their accounts to adjust user preferences. For promotional offers or email communications, it is also possible to opt out through an email provider, usually by clicking the â€œunsubscribeâ€ link at the bottom of the email. Nevertheless, this may not completely stop CheckThem from sending more emails in the future, for instance, company announcements or surveys.
What Difficulties Exist when Opting Out of CheckThem
CheckThem's opt-out form is the simplest and most recommended way to remove personal information from the website. The company also accepts mail and email requests from users for both removals and subscription cancellations.
However, where the difficulty may arise is that a user may submit the form repeatedly, but their information will still be listed on the site. In these cases, the user is advised to submit an email request containing a full name, age (as is written on the site), and their most recently listed city and state. Additionally, the requester can include a URL link or screenshot of the profile to be removed. The processing time for these submissions is two to three business days. Note, however, that CheckThem will only delete a profile if the person making the request is its owner. Third-party requests are not permitted nor processed.
Another issue that may come up is the existence of multiple records. This can happen because of name variations, aliases, and nicknames. With the online opt-out form, an individual is only allowed to submit one request per record. As such, email may be the way to go to avoid a lengthy process.
Furthermore, like most data aggregator sites, CheckThem gets its data from public records. Therefore, although a user may remove personal information from the site, it may still be available on other public records sites. The user may also find links or information on major search engines like Yahoo, Bing, or Google. As CheckThem does not control the collection or management of information by these sites, it cannot help users maintain their privacy by removing personal data from the internet. Individuals must contact those sites directly to request deletion or correction. However, suppose the profile was deleted from CheckThem and is still showing on Google or Yahoo. In that case, wait some days for it to be automatically removed before searching for the record again, or request manually. For links/information appearing on Google, visit the Remove outdated content webpage. For links on Bing, use the Content Removal Tool. Users should also clear their browser histories to prevent search engines from bringing up cached data.
Note, however, that opting out of CheckThem does not ensure that some records will not reappear in the future, as the website refreshes its information daily from public records. As such, individuals should check the site regularly to find and remove personal information. However, given that there are many data broker and public records sites that may have this information, an individual's privacy is never truly guaranteed.
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