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Keeping your private information private

(MGN Photo)

The days of the yellow pages are over. Now, it's easier than every to find much more than a phone number for pretty much anyone. There are websites dedicated to compiling your personal information and handing it out for free.

Two examples are Fast People Search and Family Tree Now. All it needs is a first and last name as well as a recent city. And that's it. It lists a recent address, phone numbers, and even relatives with links to their personal information. If you're surprised websites like these exist, you're not the only one. We were able to pull up accurate information on random people in downtown Little Rock.

The websites say they compile billions of public records to gather this information. They aren't the only ones to exist, but with these, there's a catch.

"They're free. You can get all of this information without making any kind of financial commitment. So, it opens it wide up for people to stalk and who are very curious about you to dig pretty deep," said Emily Dean, director of brand management at Cranford Co.

In the age of social media, it's easy to find basic information on someone. But to bring up things like phone numbers and addresses caught many people off-guard.

Sheila Turnage said, "That's a little scary. You don't know who's looking for you. And they'll be able to come straight to you."

"It's kind of alarming. It's definitely weird to see in first person, that's for sure," added Eric Reinhardt.

Don't worry, there is a way to take your information down. These sites have opt-out services or removal requests that you simply fill out, and they'll take down your information. Dean also mentioned services like Delete Me where you can pay someone to remove it all for you on many more sites you may not be aware of.

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