Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Prabook.org - Identity Theft R Us

So Sunday night I discovered a new "social media" website called prabook.org, and the WAY I discovered it was to find out that someone had created a profile for ME--without my permission or knowledge--INCLUDING date and location of birth, who my parents are (including my mother's maiden name), and they even had a copy of an old resume and had uploaded all the details from that. I immediately contacted them to tell them to take it down, which they did, but they said that since anyone can add information, it could be restored, they would do nothing about it, and they assumed no responsibility for anything about their website.

I know there's a lot of information and public records available online, but the resume they got hold of was from around 1997, so it would have been printed on actual paper and mailed to companies.  It was never emailed or uploaded to anything.  So the copy they have, if not obtained illegally, was certainly obtained in an unauthorized manner via old company files or dumpster-diving.   So aside from supplying more than enough information for someone to have swiped my identity, they're doing it through unauthorized--perhaps illegal--methods.

So, make sure to do a web search on your own name on a regular basis. I had no idea anyone could be quite so clueless, but prabook.org is a real site and their policies are dangerous and inexcusable.

Updated to add:  Since posting these warnings, both my blogs have been hit with surges of traffic stemming from countries so known for identity theft that most American credit cards automatically reject any transactions in them.  If Prabook weren't a scam, why the sudden interest?  And WHY STEAL INFORMATION?  So, it's almost certainly a scam. If your information has been published without your knowledge or consent, please file a complaint IMMEDIATELY with the Internet Crime Complaint Center at http://www.ic3.gov.  


Mereknits said...

Wow, this is just horrible and I am sure it happens in so many places now. Good for you asking them to take it down, how pathetic of them to have a site like this.

RobinH said...

The good news is that anyone looking for me has to wade through 87 million botanical sites and photos of the euphoniously named 'robin holly'. The bad news? Same thing....

Book Dragon said...

Thank You

Anonymous said...

The exact same happened to me and I too asked them to delete the profile they had created for me. The amount of personal information they give out is equally astonishing as it is upsetting. From your birth date and place, to your parents' names, to the name of the high school one attended, to places one lived. A treasure trove for those who are in the business of stealing your personal data. It should be illegal to put all of this out for everyone to see, and I would hope that someone with authority will ask them to take this website down.

Anonymous said...

Regarding the below post: Exactly what "team" at Prabook did you ask to delete your information? Our investigations show an apparent alias Aquilas Scarceli with questionable contact information in Saint Louis, Missouri. Further, Prabook is connected with Hosting Solutions International, Inc. per the aforementioned apparent alias'. This entity could not be reached and Manta.com is removing them from their data base. Multiple removal requests have been made via contact@prabook.org concerning my data which has yet to be removed. Likewise, once again to whom did you speak? Please provide their contact information.

Meanwhile, those concerned should contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Consumer Response Center Identity Theft Hotline at 1 (877) 438-4338. You can file a complaint via telephone with the FTC against Prabook dba/aka Hosting Solutions International, Inc. Also contact the St. Louis, Missouri Better Business Bureau at (314) 645-3300. Further contact the Division 4 Detectives of St. Louis, Missouri at (314) 231-1212. Unauthorized use and publication of private information bares consequences given the apparent dubias nature of this company and its' associates. There may also be legal ramifications, relief, and remedies regarding this matter especially identity thief, and fraud amongst other issues for which "modernization" is not an excuse. Prabook boast of allowing anyone to create a profile without the consent of the individual whose privacy is being violated. This action makes them and the violator culpable should a liable situation develop.

ACT NOW to protect yourself from these entities. Contact the above agencies for help especially as Prabook is nonresponsive.

Begin below post insert:
"Anonymous said...
I was surprised to find a profile about myself on Prabook as well. I never asked anyone to make it so I wanted this profile to be deleted. Fortunately after contacting Prabook team and asking them to delete my information, the profile was removed.
I think as long as they satisfy removal requests, it’s ok. Services like Youtube and Wikipedia can also spread private information. That’s just how modern information society works. And if they position themselves as an online encyclopedia it’s inevitable.
June 12, 2015 at 6:52 AM" End post insert.

jl said...

I got the same problem. You can solve the problem by signing up an account with their site and edit all the info posted on their site. You can delete everything or fake something up if you don't want people to see them. I can't believe they posted all my personal info for over 8 years ago. I remembered I entered this info via (marquiswhoswho) I think they must be selling my personal info to (Prabook.org). If anyone wants to bring a lawsuit against them please let me know. Selling personal data is totally illegal!

Anonymous said...


Hosting Solutions International Inc., (HSII, HSI) is responsible for sponsoring the Prabook web-site. HSI is located in St. Louis, Missouri at (314) 300-2200. I have filed complaint in August 2015 against HSI via the St. Louis, Missouri Better Business Bureau (BBB) at (314) 645-3300 with results as of 09-15-2015 that HSI is to remove all of Prabook from the internet within "three days" on 09-18-2015.

In speaking to HSI employee Mike Gold on today (09-16-2015), he claims HSI is allowing "three days" so Prabook can "back up" Prabook's data. Therefore, I am filing complaint now with Missouri State Attorney General, Chris Koster at (573) 751-7948 and online at ago.mo.gov with their web-site to inhibit and hopefully prevent HSI and Prabook from further use and publication of unauthorized information. We should explore the Marquis Who's Who lawsuit option as well as mentioned.

I also simultaneously filed complaint in August 2015 against HSI and Prabook with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Consumer Response Center Identity Theft at (877) 438-4338. The FTC can intake your complaint via telephone and their fax is (202) 326-2012. Be sure to get a reference number and make note to whom you spoke in all matters.

I am in contact with Missouri Detective Romero Martinez, Jr. at (314) 444-2554 regarding this matter as HSI functioned with an apparent alias via Manta.com. My Manta.com executive contact is permanently "pulling" HSI from Manta.com effective this past August 2015.

I called my local FBI who informed me to file online with their Internet Crime Complaint Center at IC3.gov (that is I as in ice cream; C as in cat; and the number 3).

How do you all want to proceed against Marquis' Who's Who? Meantime, the above action steps should discourage HSI and Prabook from publishing personal information especially if we all take action.

How do I contact "it" from the September 7, 2015 above entry? We should not have to sign up on any site to protect our privacy when that very site is the violator.

Also, somehow, my last entry did not post. I published similar information for your use... I have now save into my files as a record.

Anonymous said...

Regarding Prabook hosted online by Hosting Solutions Internatinal Inc. (HSII): As of today, September 21, 2015, Prabook remains online despite HSII promise to remove the site. Apparently, HSII has transferred their hosting services to another vendor to sponsor Prabook (or something to that effect) or HSII is altogether ignoring their committment to the St. Louis BBB.

I plan to follow through with the aforementioned efforts. The BBB is still involved. May I suggest all concerned contact the above entities as well.

Good fortune...

Anonymous said...

I am just now finding my information on prabook.org and it was not there a year ago. They continue to create pages. What has happened based on all the talk I saw here and on "A Little Off the Beaten Path" blog? It is now two years later and some of the contacts have changed are no long valid in Missouri. In fact, HSI is now redirectig people to Server4You, inc. Maybe as a result of this? Please let me know if there is an update to these. Thank you.