Sometimes, trying to protect your information is like playing Whack-a-Mole. Say one day you find out that some invasive site posted your full name, address and date of birth online. Tap or click here to stop strangers from learning where you live — and tracking you down on Google Maps.
After deleting your records, you turn around and realize that yet another website leaked your information. It’s time to whack the next mole that popped up, and the game will never end because deleting your data from a public search website doesn’t eliminate it. Your data is still accessible.
There’s always another website wanting to share your personal and public records around the corner. However, not all sites that release your information do so because they’re pursuing a quick buck. Sometimes, other U.S. citizens are entitled to know certain things about you to keep the government transparent.
Case in point: OpenPayrolls
Someone recently reached out to Komando.com, surprised to find a website that listed their salary information. It’s called OpenPayrolls. Speaking of which, if you ever have a digital question for Kim, send it here.
When The Kim Komando Show listener looked herself up, she found a record of a former job. The site even included the amount of money she earned while working. Here’s a screenshot:
As described by its FAQ, the purpose of this website is to give U.S. citizens access to millions of public records from government and public employee salaries. It’s pretty comprehensive and updates itself regularly.
All the payroll records you see come from government and publicly-funded agencies. Under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and public record laws, they’re public records. However, undercover officers and other confidential positions are exempt.
How this affects you
It appears that if you’re a private employee, you’re in the clear. But if you work in some form of government, your salary info could be available as part of the public record. I gave the website a whirl; here’s what I found.
I looked myself up and found a job that I worked for a publicly-funded college a while ago. I couldn’t find a way to delete it. And that’s by design. OpenPayrolls doesn’t remove public records because that would misrepresent data. It could even make people suspect the government or employer is guilty of wrongdoing.
OpenPayrolls is a free resource for people who want to understand how their taxes are used. It can feel like an invasion of privacy, but it can’t be helped. In the name of transparency, some data must be public.
All someone has to do is look up your name and hit the search button to see how much you make.
There are exceptions, though
If you think there’s been a mistake, you can take action. Maybe the government or another employer released your name and information by mistake. Perhaps this information shouldn’t have been put into the public domain.
You’ll have to submit an official affidavit and prove the alleged wrongdoing. Here’s a good starting point. Once you submit the official affidavit along with proof, OpenPayrolls will work to redact the data.
Want to see for yourself? Tap or click the link below to see if any of your past or present payrolls are public information:
We’ve covered people search sites before. If you want to pick up the mallet and play Whack-A-Mole with privacy-invading websites, we’ve got you covered. Here are a few sites you should blitz your records from.
Delete yourself from this creepy site that collects personal data
8 ways to protect your data and delete yourself from the internet