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Posted: 6:00 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 19, 2013

Mugshot sites prey on traffic violators



By Clark Howard

ClarkHoward.com


Imagine getting a speeding ticket and having to pay a ransom when a third party website posts your name without a picture, implying you're a serious criminal.

The Baltimore Sun  reports there was one such website doing mugshots with no mugshot! They were simply taking public record of people who got speeding tickets, or were fined for making an illegal turn, or whatever other moving violation. Then they were posting entries as if those people were booked or arrested, saying "mugshot not available" and wrongly implying one had been taken.

The only way to get your name removed from their database was to pay between $40 and $90! Too often, Google's search algorithm has been complicit in letting these extortionists do business, according to The New York Times. After blowing this problem off months ago, Google is now working on a new algorithm to prevent or reduce the chance these third party websites will pop up on a search.

Three states -- Georgia, Oregon, and Utah -- are also taking action to protect you from extortionists by the force of law. But this overall trend is one I've discussed before and it's truly Clarkrageous. The people who need mugshots taken of them are the people running these websites.

If somebody is trying to get you to pay money to have a picture or record removed, don't take the bait. It may come down from one website, but it will pop up on another. And each time, you'll be asked to pay more and more money!

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