Warning: Companies making money off your mugshot
Photo: Video by fox4now.com
LEE COUNTY - Making money off your mugshot! A Fort Myers attorney warning people tonight about those online companies that make money by promising to remove your arrest photo. One Lee County woman says because of those companies she had to pay for her crime in more ways than one. Four in your Corner’s Mike Mason joins us now with more on this one. If you pay a company to remove your mugshot you may think that's all you need to do....but one woman found out it's not that easy. We can't show you her photo or tell you her real name, so we'll call her "Maria". Maria was arrested for petit theft in 2009 at the Edison Mall in Fort Myers. Rene Suarez: "It was a $68 bottle of men's perfume from JC Penney." Maria's attorney is Rene Suarez, he says prior to this arrest Maria's record was spotless. Last December, he got her records expunged. Her booking photo was then removed from the Sheriff's website but her mugshot was still floating around in cyberspace. Rene Suarez: "She told me it was appearing now on a private website." Maria found her mugshot featured on the website, “Mugshots.com.” She contacted the company and paid them $399 to have it removed. That's why Maria says she was shocked to see her photo then suddenly appear on several other websites. Rene Suarez: "Whenever she paid that 'boom' it would pop up on a different website and they would wait until you paid the money to that website before it would reappear on a different website." Maria says she had to pay a total of $568 to 4 different companies to get her mugshot removed from the internet. When we contacted mugshots.com they told us their services are only for: "Un-publishing from the mugshots.com database. It isn't from all other existing websites or databases and (they) never stated as much." But if you Google Maria's name, her arrest information still shows up on mugshots.com - according to the company that's only because Google has 'dead' links which remain online until Google refreshes its index. Maria's arrest information is no longer on mugshots.com but her attorney says there's no telling when or where her mugshot will pop up next. Rene Suarez: "There's really perhaps no way of completely eliminating your image from the internet." Before paying any company for their services it's best to read the fine print and any disclaimers they may have.