Accused of Running 'Spam-and-Scam' Scheme complaints people, a social networking site that bills itself as "America's #1 People Search," is facing a class-action suit accusing the site of spamming, scamming and hacking the address books of millions of consumers.

The site, which claims more than 42 million registered users and a database of more than 205 million U.S. profiles, says more than 30 million people use its service every month. It also has been a source of increasing complaints from Consumer Ally readers.According to the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Oakland, Calif., lures unsuspecting consumers into responding to spam emails, fools them into signing up for a low-cost membership, overcharges their credit cards and plunders their address books to spam all of their contacts.

" is a scam that begins with a false solicitation telling potential victims that 'someone' is searching for them, and they can find out who by paying a small fee," the suit alleges. "If this ruse succeeds in convincing the victim to provide credit card or other payment information for a 'free trial period' or a low-price membership (eg. $7.95 per month), MyLife then overbills the victim's credit card for a much larger amount, often more than $100."

The suit also says "MyLife provides access to a list of fake names of people supposedly 'searching or you' together with access to a worthless website that is of no conceivable value to anyone."

Online complaint forums such as Complaints Board and Consumer Ally partner SiteJabber are rife with angry stories about consumers who variously describe the site as "a total scam" and "a rip-off. " The suit itself reproduces dozens of these complaints, including this one:
I'm a web developer, and when I saw their commerical, it just didn't add up. I went to the site and put in a fake name like sfsf sdgfsdgf and a real age and zip code, and guess what?! 7 people were searching for sfsf sdgfsdgf!
One of the two plaintiffs, John Clerkin, says he responded to a email and signed up for one month of service for $21.95. Once he learned he didn't know any of the people looking for him, he tried to cancel and discovered he'd been billed $155.40. He claims MyLife refunded him $104.55 but refused to return the remaining $50.85.

The other plaintiff, Veronica Mendedz, says she signed up for a $5 trial subscription, and also realzied no one she knew was searching for her. When she tried to cancel, the suits says, she learned she'd been billed $60, none of which refunded.

"Victims of the ruse then find that hacks into their address books to target their friends, family and other contacts with spam solicitations stating that 'someone' is looking for them," the suit also charges. "This starts the cycle anew by priming the pump with a fresh crop of victims that tricks with false solicitations, overbills, and hacks."

While the Privacy Policy does disclose this practice, it claims to do so only with the user's permission: "At your request we will search your email address book to see if anyone in it is already a Member of . . Contacts who are not registered Members will receive an email invitation from us on your behalf inviting them to join."

However, a review of on Consumer Ally partner SiteJabber by Linda B. contradicts this statement:
This website sent me an email (supposedly from a friend) and when I completed their little questionnaire, they hacked into my email contact list and sent everyone a message like it was from me (just like the one I received from my friend - which was a scam, too). I called and had them remove me from...their list immediately and told them that I was going to report what they did. I DID NOT give them permission to use my contact list.
Despite 1,208 complaints in the past 36 months, the Better Business Bureau gives, which has been an accredited BBB member since 2003, an A+ rating. (The BBB has been under fire for giving favorable ratings to paying members.)

A spokesman emailed Consumer Ally the following statement, which was attributed to CEO Jeff Tinsley:

The complaint against us is completely without merit and riddled with errors and misinformation, including mistaking us for a primary competitor. To set the record straight, has never been part of or in any way associated with -- just one of countless examples that shows the complaint lacks all credibility. We intend to defend ourselves vigorously from this frivolous suit.

The suit does allege that was run by Tinsley and subsequently renamed as -- which was in fact formerly known as has since been rebranded as Memory Lane.

The suit also says credit card companies such as Visa and American Express have been inundated with so many calls from customers demanding refunds that "To them, the name is synonymous with billing fraud."

Visa and American Express did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The class action, which was filed by one of the law firms suing AT&T for iPhone and iPad overcharges, seeks damages, restitution and disgorgement of all revenues and profits.

Become a fan of Consumer Ally on Facebook.

Increase your money and finance knowledge from home

Introduction to Retirement Funds

Target date funds help you maintain a long term portfolio.

View Course »

How to Buy a Car

How to get the best deal and buy a car with confidence.

View Course »

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum


Filter by:

It is a known fact that the worst thing you can have online for a mafia to look at is pictures of your family and especially family trees.

Most of these indy giants for net working have you and I behind the screen running them or worse.

Even banking sites have lowly paid misstreated customer reps that have access to all your personal info, where you work , where you spend and what you invest in.

Whoul you let a stranger look at this ? You do everyday.

June 02 2013 at 1:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Can't. Type on this just an insider opinion, whatch out for customer service all from la ghetto bad. You know how that goes....

June 02 2013 at 1:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Just looka the colors on the site all green white and orrage.
If you are of italian descent it is best to stay away .

June 02 2013 at 12:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I worked for mylife in my opinion Jeff tinsley is worst then lex luther. In my opinion he searches people for the Irish republican army they can research all your ancentry via (partner)

He runs the equivalent of a sweat shop and pulls visas for immigrant workers.

While working there I made friends with an armenian arms dealer that is fully owned by mylife.

He also has an irish den mother in hr that is totally creepy (susan) that like rescues ghetto children , so they can be trained to do what ever they want and they actually,do wha ever they,want like most ghetto children do.

June 02 2013 at 12:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Avoid the so-called firm at all costs.

Guess what?

Unsubscribe does not work.

Life sentences for spammers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

February 12 2012 at 2:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I did not see this before I signed up for for a one month subscription, and paying with Pay Pal.
What got me interested was when viewing the site, was made an indication that I had one person searching for me in a city I used to live in, so my curiousity got the best of me, and I registered to sign up a user name and password, and paid for a one-month subscription special price of $16. using my husband and my Pay Pal account.
This doesn't mention anything about getting ripped off using Pay Pal, but tomorrow, I intend to call Pay Pal and make sure I'm only being charged the $16. amount, and nothing more.
Our government seems to get into everything else in our lives, except when it's something WE ourselves pay for that we're not at all getting.
EVERYBODY AND OUR UNCLE SAM IS IN ON THE ACT THESE DAYS. when is it going to stop I wonder?

January 29 2012 at 6:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

i think above information is correct ,i am glad i am not a victem of ""i seen there add on tv yrs ago i been on site looking at it and i just never but almost went to put my credit card number on the site for a month tral ,but their is facebook anyone can find you there for free ,and looking at blurry picks on my life sayng three woman lookng for me believe was strange ,i am glad i did do it

September 09 2011 at 5:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply