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A Network of US-Focused People-Search Sites in China, Operating Under Fake Identities

Last Modified Date: Apr 02, 2024

On March 20, 2024 Brian Krebs of the security blog Krebs on Security published an investigative report entitled “The Not-so-True People-Search Network from China.” The article sheds light on a concerning trend in the people-search industry, revealing a network of US-focused sites based in China that operate under fabricated identities.

As the report notes, “It appears the purpose of this network is to conceal the location of people in China who are seeking to generate affiliate commissions when someone visits one of their sites and purchases a people-search report at Spokeo, for example. And it is clear that Spokeo and others have created incentives wherein anyone can effectively white-label their reports, and thereby make money brokering access to peoples’ personal information.”

The use of pseudonyms and fabricated identities reveals a deliberate attempt to obscure the true nature and origins of some of these sites’ operations.

These networks aim to generate affiliate commissions by redirecting users to purchase reports from established and well-known people-finder services, whose involvement indicates a broader industry issue of laundering users through progressive networks of sites.

To protect yourself from these types of tactics, we recommend never paying any people search sites any money, maximizing your privacy settings on all devices, limiting the info you share online, and opting out of data brokers and people search sites whenever possible. To find out what information people search sites are posting about you online, Optery provides free scans

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