ZabaSearch/Intelius weirdness involving my personal info . . .
July 24, 2006 3:38 PM   Subscribe

ZabaSearch/Intelius weirdness involving my personal info . . .

I looked myself up on ZabaSearch, mostly to see how current the info was, but also just out of curiousity.

This led me to a people search on Intelius, where several records came up. They are all definitely me. I have an unusual last name, all the recent cities of residence match, and almost all of the ages/birthdates match. And there's the problem.

For several of the records, my age/birthdate is incorrect. However, it happens to be the same month/year as my dad's.

It is not completely outside the realm of possibility that during some dark times many years ago, my dad could have used my info/identity in some way - but I have seen no evidence of fraud on my credit reports.

I know incorrect info seems to be a problem with Zaba, but somehow my dad's birthdate is obviously mixed up with mine in some public record. Would purchasing one of the incorrect records give me any insight into where the error is and how to correct it? If so, I'm certainly willing to shell out the cash, but I don't want to waste my money if this is not the case.

I'm slightly freaked out by this, so if anyone has experienced anything like this while using these services, or if there's a simple possible explanation, please share!
posted by peep to Grab Bag (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Don't freak out, these mistakes are very common. I use Lexis Nexis to do research on donors for fundraising, and run across these kind of things all the time. The database companies that collect this data (P-Search is one... I can't remember the others) seem to make certain leaps of logic to fill in the blanks on the records.

In my case, one of my public records says that I am married to a man named Mark. I've never been married or even lived with someone named Mark. But it was easy to figure out what happened. I have a common last name. There was an existing record for a person named Mark with my last name living in my building, but with no apartment number. Then I moved into the building. So since we had the same last name and address, an assumption was made that we were spouses.

I don't know how to fix it. I don't even know if it's worth fixing.
posted by kimdog at 4:03 PM on July 24, 2006

I agree with kimdog.

In college, I spent six months doing background checks, and things like this weren't that uncommon. It usually seemed to happen when two person (junior/senior or two people with common names) overlapped on some detail (living somewhere was common). If Person A had a full name listed, and Person B had only a last name listed, but other details were similar, the systems seemed to assume that they were the same person. (kimdog's example about living in a building with someone with the same name is the same deal.)

If we couldn't confirm first name, last name, AND additional identifying detail (SSN, for example), we usually wrote it off to a database error. I'm fairly confident in saying that others did the same. Also, don't forget that you're looking at crappy, public search databases. It's not much better that simply Googling yourself. The people you need to worry about (creditors, credit companies, etc.) use systems that are far, far more accurate.
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 4:15 PM on July 24, 2006

kimdog, in 1990 I was engaged, coincidentally to a man named Mark. He gave me an Amex card on his account.* Even now, 16 years later, his address and his parents' addresses appear on my credit report. But that's all there is so I haven't bothered to fix it.

*He thought it would be romantic for me to have something with my married name on it. We never did make it to the altar, perhaps he jinxed us.
posted by astruc at 8:35 PM on July 24, 2006

Nah, it's nothing. My whole family shows up there, with frequently mis-matched birth month and years. Same for the friends I've looked up - clear pairings of friend plus friend's parent's birth year, etc.

I suspect it's just a common set of errors, probably even algorithmic.
posted by Dunwitty at 3:33 AM on July 25, 2006

I just looked my last name up. I have an unusual last name, and most of my husband's family is listed as living at our old address and they have several addresses for my husband that I have never heard of. I don't think that database is very accurate and I'd hope that anyone using it is aware of the fact.
posted by Melsky at 5:36 AM on July 25, 2006

Response by poster: Thanks everyone, I'll chill out. All your answers were helpful. (kimdog, I was hoping you were a male Kim, which would have made your marriage to "Mark" far more amusing.)
posted by peep at 9:25 AM on July 25, 2006

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