Welcome to the PublicRecords Privacy FAQ. This page was last updated on February 16, 2006.
PublicRecords is very sensitive to the privacy and security concerns that individuals have expressed regarding personal information and its use.
The following pages, presented in a Question and Answer format, outline general information about PublicRecords, our customers, and the information we distribute.
These pages contain answers to the following questions:
PublicRecords is an individual reference service, a company that provides information used to help identify and locate individuals.
PublicRecords provides information solutions for consumers and small businesses using public records and publicly available information.
Our products help people find other people, verify the identities of individuals they encounter, manage risk and ensure personal safety.
PublicRecords is not a consumer credit reporting agency, and we do not compile mailing lists or consumer marketing data.
Additionally, we do not maintain any databases of non-public individual financial data, such as individual credit reports, tax records, employment
information or bank information. PublicRecords also does not have any individual's medical records, and PublicRecords does not collect or distribute any
information about race, religious preference, medical history, lifestyle, political preference, or friends to any customers.
Finally, although PublicRecords does offer access to "white pages" telephone directories, your telephone number is not available in these databases if you
have a non-published telephone number.
Our customers are individuals and small businesses that use our data to locate people and for personal security and risk management purposes.
Our customers use our information to locate distant relatives or old friends as well as ex-spouses who are past-due on child support.
They also may verify the identity of individuals with whom they do business, such as the owners of their day care facility or a seller of goods over
Our customers do have restrictions on how they can use our information.
Every PublicRecords customer enters into an agreement with PublicRecords
that restricts the customer's use of our data. Our customers agree to use our data only for legal purposes, and they also agree not to use our
information in ways that might be harmful or embarrassing to others.
Additionally, because PublicRecords is not a consumer credit reporting agency,
PublicRecords does not permit any of its customers to use it information in connection with consumer credit transactions. PublicRecords also forbids its
customers from using its data for employee background checks, or residential tenant screening.
PublicRecords takes these restrictions very seriously. In the event we believe that a customer has misused our information, we will address the matter and terminate the subscriber. Additionally, if a customer uses our information in a criminal or harmful manner, we will
contact appropriate law enforcement agencies. Our customers agree that we can disclose information about them and their searches to law enforcement
agencies in the event we suspect they have misused our information.
PublicRecords provides online access to public records such as real estate deeds, lawsuit filings, liens, professional licensing records, and other
information filed by individuals and businesses with local, state and federal agencies.
Other PublicRecords information includes publicly available data
complied by third parties from published telephone directories. PublicRecords is not a consumer credit reporting agency, and we do not compile mailing
lists or consumer marketing data.
Additionally, we do not maintain any databases of non-public individual financial data, such as individual
credit reports, tax records, employment information or bank information. PublicRecords also does not have any individual's medical records, and
PublicRecords does not collect or distribute any information about your race, religious preference, medical history, lifestyle, political preference or friends to any customers.
Finally, although PublicRecords does offer access to "white pages" telephone directories, your telephone number
is not available in these databases if you have a non-published telephone number.
All of the information contained in our databases is available from many other sources, such as the public records custodians and private data
compilers. For example, home addresses are available from county land records, tax assessor files, and telephone directories. Additionally,
many companies retrieve and publish public records, and many government agencies and private information vendors now make their records available
electronically and over the Internet.
These terms refer to the source of the information. The following definitions have been agreed upon by various information industry and government
Public Records are compiled by various public offices and agencies with the intent and for the purpose of being made publicly available.
Examples of public records include real estate records, lien filings, business entity filings (such as corporate registrations), lawsuit information
and court dockets, court decisions, and birth, marriage, divorce and death records.
Publicly Available Information generally originates with the individual himself or herself and is provided in the course of routine business
transactions, such as ordering telephone service, placing catalog orders, making retail purchases, and joining book clubs. Published telephone
numbers, household demographics, street addresses, and church and school alumni directory information all fall within the category of publicly
available information. Information contained in newspapers and magazines (such as news reports and birth, death and marriage notices) is also
considered to be publicly available.
Private or Non-Public Information is not generally available from public records or commercial sources. Non-public information includes information
that is protected from disclosure by law or by custom, such as medical records, employment records, tax returns, and personal financial records.
It's important to note that the status of information depends on the information's source. A certain piece of information may be a matter of
public record as well as publicly available and non-public. For example, your home address may be contained in a public record (such as the deed
to your property that is on file in your county's real property records office). Your address may be publicly available from your local telephone
directory, and your address may be contained in a non-public database, such as a credit bureau database.
Many people incorrectly believe that some information, such as Social Security numbers or mothers' maiden names, is always non-public.
This is not true. For example, while individuals may believe that their mother's maiden name is a "private" fact (and while credit
grantors may treat this data as private or secure), birth records are public record in every state. Since birth records typically contain the
maiden name of the maternal parent, it's public record. Similarly, Social Security numbers are often
included in public records, such as lawsuit filings and bankruptcy records.
Public records are available from the official public records custodian or repository to anyone who
requests them. In order for any database of public records to be useful, the databases must contain all
of the information in the public records offices. Our data files must accurately reflect the
underlying public records, and we do not remove or suppress any information that is both accurate
and publicly available. There are exceptions to this rule, as a courtesy we allow law enforcement,
certain government officials or employees, and individuals with court protection orders the option to
opt out their information.
If you have a compelling privacy or security issue, you may wish to contact the official custodians of
those public records that contain sensitive information about you, such as your county's land records
office, to determine how to remove your information from the public record. (The process of having
public records sealed typically requires a court order.) This process will ensure that the information
is not available to the public, to PublicRecords, or to any other public records information provider.
As a courtesy we can 'opt out' your specific information from the PublicRecords People Search service.
What this means is that your name as it appears in a particular record and the associated identifying
information such as your address and phone number will be suppressed if you request this in the manner
described below. However, please note that any time your identifying information appears in a public
record in a manner which is different from the record you opted out, it will again appear in our system.
(For example, if your address or area code changes your new information will again appear unless you
opt out the new record.) There also are many other public records search services which are not owned
by PublicRecords and your request that we opt out your information will not prevent your information from
appearing on these other services.
In order for PublicRecords to “opt out” your public information from being viewable on the
PublicRecords website, we need to verify your identity and require faxed proof of identity.
Proof of identity can be a state issued ID card or driver's license. If you are faxing a
copy of your driver's license, we require that you cross out the photo and the driver's license number.
We only need to see the name, address and date of birth. Please fax to 425-974-6194
and allow 7 to 14 days to process your request.
Each individual that wishes to be opted out of PublicRecords must be accompanied by proof of identity
and address. We will only be processing opt out requests we receive by fax and no request
will be processed without complete information. Requests for opt out will not be processed
over the phone or via email.
Although PublicRecords does not sell mailing lists, you may wish to contact the Direct Marketing Association if you are concerned about unwanted mail or telephone
solicitations, or about the collection of marketing data about you. This association maintains a list of individuals who do not want to receive telephone
solicitations, advertising mail, product offers and catalogues. The DMA's addresses are:
Direct Marketing Association
Mail Preference Service
PO Box 643
Carmel, New York 10512
Direct Marketing Association
Telephone Preference Service
PO Box 1559
Carmel, New York 10512
You can also visit the DMA's web site at www.the-dma.org.
Please note that information used for marketing purposes originates from many common transactions that you enter into every day.
For example, marketing information about the names and ages of your family members may originate with catalog orders
placed by you, children's magazine subscriptions, promotional surveys and product registration cards. Compilations of marketing data
generally are updated on an almost-continuous basis with information gathered from numerous sources.
New information is generated each time you or a family or household member enters into a routine transaction such as using a frequent
shopper card, entering a contest, ordering from a catalog, or submitting your name to a school or association directory. This new
information finds its way into the publicly available sources through the constant updating. Accordingly, it is wrong to think of marketing
data (or publicly available information generally) as being contained in discrete, static databases from which particular records can be
deleted or suppressed. Rather, the information is continuously updated and supplemented and is capable of being cross-referenced with other
compilations of similar information.
In addition to subscribing to the DMA's Preference Services, there are steps that you can take to help limit the amount of personal information
about you that is collected for marketing purposes:
Do not disclose your residential address or phone number to others. On your personal checks, use a post office box or business address and a
business phone number. If you do provide your residential address and phone number, ask how it will be used and how you can restrict any further
use. Tell businesses that you do not wish to be on their mailing lists and that you do not want them to provide your name, address and phone number
to other companies. Have a non-published residential telephone number (neither available in the printed directory or from directory
assistance) or a "non-listed" number (not printed in the directory but available from directory assistance). CD-ROMs containing nationwide listings
of telephone directories are now readily and cheaply available from computer and discount stores. Nationwide telephone directories are also available
on the internet, and there is no charge for internet users to search these directories. If your address and phone number are in a directory, they
are widely available. If your address is included in the local directory, it will also be in the nationwide directories.
Do not complete street directory information forms (e.g., a request to complete street address information for a commercially published directory other
than a telephone book). These directories include alumni directories, church directories, employer directories, etc.
Avoid ordering products or services by telephone. If you do, inform the merchant that you do not want your name, address and telephone number given to
others. Not only do the national catalog retailers capture and store your personal information, but local retailers such as pizza delivery services capture
your phone number and generally have your name and address displayed on their screen merely to be confirmed by you.
Avoid completing product warranty or registration cards, consumer surveys, preferred buyer promotions and the like. Also avoid using preferred shopper,
store discount or check cashing cards. These cards generally permit the retailer to compile lifestyle information -- number, ages and sex of people in
the household, income level, and similar information -- which is then used to compile targeted mailing lists which are sold for marketing purposes.
HOWEVER, do complete registration cards (at least providing your address) for products where recall notices might be critical, such as infant car seats.
Indicate on the card that you do not want your information used for targeted marketing.
Use Caller I.D. blocking to prevent your phone number from being displayed when you call companies or order products.
How do I contact the Direct Marketing Association?
Direct Marketing Association
Mail Preference Service
PO Box 9008
Farmingdale, New York 11735
Direct Marketing Association
Telephone Preference Service
PO Box 9014
Farmingdale, New York 11735
Or you can visit the DMA online at www.the-dma.org.
Although many people believe that their Social Security numbers are private, Social Security numbers are available from many different sources.
For example, Social Security numbers are often contained in public records, such as death certificates, driving records, bankruptcy filings and lien documents.
To protect yourself from fraud, avoid using your Social Security number as your "unique" identifying number unless you are required to so by law. (For example,
you will be required to provide your Social Security number for banking and tax purposes.) You can legally refuse to provide your Social Security number to private
businesses unless it is required for governmental purposes (such as tax withholding).
However, some businesses, such as utilities, may require another form of
identification or even a deposit if you do not give them your Social Security number, and some business may decline to extend credit to you unless you provide your
Social Security number to them.
To prevent widespread disclosure of your Social Security number, do not include the number on your checks, business cards or other documents. Similarly, do not
use your Social Security number as your driver's license number or student identification number. In general, do not permit others to use your Social Security
number for identification purposes. Instead, ask businesses to use another "made-up" number if they need to confirm your identity.
If you have questions about your credit report, you may wish to contact the three main consumer credit reporting agencies. These
companies can remove your name from their marketing lists, and they can provide you with a copy of your current credit report. Each
company also has procedures for correcting any inaccuracies that you may find in your credit report.
The three main credit bureaus are:
Experian (formerly TRW): 1-800-682-7654 connects you to a recording that has instructions for requesting copies of credit reports
if you have been denied credit, employment or insurance. You may also request a complimentary annual credit report. Consumer Assistance at
1-800-422-4879 connects you to a representative that can assist with more specific requests.
Visit Experian online at www.experian.com.
Equifax: 1-800-685-1111 connects you to a recording that directs you to another toll free number in your local area. Your local
number connects you to a recording that addresses requests for copies of your credit report and what to do if you disagree with information
on the report.
Visit Equifax online at www.equifax.com.
Trans Union: Consumer Relations at 1-800-851-2674 connects you to a recording that addresses requests for copies of your credit
report or to speak with a representative.
Visit Trans Union online at www.transunion.com.
Identity theft occurs when someone uses another person's personal information (such as name, Social Security number, credit card numbers
or bank account numbers) to conceal crimes or get credit fraudulently. Identity theft is a crime. If you believe that you are a victim of identity theft, there are several important steps that you should take:
First, report the crime to the police promptly and get a police report.
Second, contact the three main credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian and Trans Union) to get copies of your credit report - fraud
victims are entitled to free copies - and ask about the agencies' fraud alert services.
Trans Union: www.transunion.com
Complete the FTC's ID Theft Affidavit form (www.consumer.gov/idtheft).
Inform the credit grantors who have extended credit to the thief in writing about the situation and enclose copies of the police report
and the ID Theft Affidavit. Keep copies of all letters you send and keep notes of any follow-up calls that you have with credit grantors,
including the date, the name of person who called, and what was discussed.
Contact the Social Security Administration if someone is using your Social Security number.
Contact your bank and credit card companies if someone is using your bank account, checking account or credit card numbers.
Identity theft can be a costly and devastating crime for its victims as well as for the credit grantors who are defrauded. For more information
about identity theft and consumer fraud, you may wish to visit the Federal Trade Commission consumer identity theft web site at
www.consumer.gov/idtheft. Additional information can be found at Privacy Rights Clearinghouse,
If you have questions about PublicRecords information policies, privacy or related questions, please Click Here
to contact us.
PublicRecords.com is concerned about the safety and security of our customers. We have put a number of technological protections in place to
ensure that our transaction process is safe and that our customers' information is secure.
Safety and Security Tips
- If using a public computer or terminal, always log out when you complete an online session.
- Keep your passwords private. Don't share your password with anyone. Store your password in a safe place.