I’m not sure I want to know what personal information of mine is out there lurking around the interwebs… Safe Shepherd is a startup that removes personal information floating around online.
How much is out there? Since its beginning in 500 Startups (then known as MelonCard), over 95,000 records have been pulled from public websites. 95,000 since last August. Percentage-wise that might not be so much, but it sure sounds like an awful lot anyway.
Identity theft frightens me, too, but I confess that I’ve chosen the bliss of ignorance so far over worrying about who might be looking at my info. Otherwise, my obsessive nature would kick into overdrive and I’d forget to sleep as I fretted about what personal details had made me vulnerable each day.
Safe Shepard allows the likes of me to trade in this perhaps dangerous ignorance for a more comforting one. Safe Shepherd performs the search and destroy mission for the customer. Rather than go through the hassle of tracking down all those digital cookie crumbles we’ve all been leaving–reaching for the antacids and anxiety medication–then trying to vacuum up the trail on our own, Safe Shepherd does the work for us with a click.
The website offers to scan the Internet, identifying what information has been either made public or sold. Safe Shepherd will then remove compromising records, and later provide alerts when new information appears. Up to ten records can be removed by signing up for the free plan. A monthly fee of $14 or annual fee of $65 buys advanced monitoring and removal of the more pesky-to-eliminate information.
So why should we trust Safe Shepherd?
A man once in charge of sensitive data is now trying to get rid of it. Self-ascribed entrepreneur and finance geek Robert Leshner founded Safe Shepherd. Before starting the company in California, he served as the Director of Research at HPM Partners Llc. He has a long history in finance beforehand.
Something tells me that if Leshner is concerned about safe-guarding personal information then we should all be more astute about how our information travels the circuits. Forget monsters under the bed. Do a quick search of data-brokers if you’re interested in conjuring a modern day boogeyman.
Behind the curtain, Safe Shepherd navigates the different policies of data-brokers and spares the customer the vexing process of deleting records. According to Leshner, “This is ridiculously hard… it should be ridiculously easy.”
Interconnectedness is wonderful, but has its risks. While we’re all busy sharing information, Safe Shepherd worries about privacy for us.
You don’t need to take a random survey to find why it pays to remove records before they fall into the wrong hands.
While creating Safe Shepherd, Leshner’s father had his identity stolen. $1,000 checks started erasing his bank account. The thief was never tracked down, the security breech never discovered, and all his father could do was transfer remaining funds to a new account.
A nightmare made real.
OK, time to drop the hands covering my eyes. Maybe I do want to know what info is out there…