Kyle and I at Removaly recently became aware of a new development in the world of people search websites, data broker removals and opt out services. San Diego, California-based CheckThem, an extremely popular people search site housing millions of profiles and records, has shut its doors for good.
We have confirmed that their main people search, reverse phone lookup, criminal records search, reverse address search, and dark web search are all unable to be accessed. Additionally, all former search results for name searches now show a message that reads: “Sorry. CheckThem is closing its doors.”
Why did CheckThem Close Down?
To put it simply, it’s too soon to tell. There are many reasons why a people search site or data broker shuts down entirely with no notice. It could be a lack of profitability, inability to make payroll or access funding, or even a lawsuit being brought on behalf of a user not wanting their information publicly available. Or it could be none of those things and something else entirely. It’s far too soon to tell and too reckless to speculate.
What we do know, from our personal experiences removing CheckThem results on behalf of our customers, is that the hits had a tendency to be ignored. CheckThem had a tendency to need to submit removal requests more than once before an opt out request was honored. For this reason, we at Removaly (and surely other data removal services) say regarding this news: Good Riddance.
All in all, it’s quite the decline for a company that released press releases in 2017 that they were the fastest-growing name search database in the United States as well as the most comprehensive arrest records database.
Using Open Corporates’ public information about the company, it seems that CheckThem became an inactive corporation around this time last year, changing status from active to forfeited. What that means, I don’t know. But information about the company’s CEO is extremely difficult to find. Ironic since the service made its money from disseminating and selling other people’s personal information.
But my info is still showing in Google for CheckThem. What gives?
If you Google: “site:checkthem.com“, you will see that you aren’t alone in this. There are currently, as of the writing of this, close to 368,000 indexed search results pages on the CheckThem domain, even with the closure of their service and directory.
However, I did the same search 12 hours earlier than the above screenshot, and that number was 412,000 results.
What does this mean? Don’t panic, your visible search result is not stuck in search engine purgatory forever. This goes for search engines such as Bing, Yahoo, DuckDuckGo, and more, as well. Search engine crawlers, simply put, take a bit of time to scan through a site as massive as CheckThem. As they crawl the site, they notice that specific links no longer provide the same information they once did. When they see this, they remove the search result from the results pages.
So now what do I do?
Nothing! For all intents and purposes, if you had your personal information publicly available on CheckThem, it’s gone now. Whether or not they are going to try and sell off their database of PII, that’s another story, and all part of the Nine-Headed Hydra game that we play here at Removaly.
If you’re concerned about the dozens of other sites that may have your personal information publicly available, we recommend running a free scan with Removaly, which you can do here.