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Living Referral Websites, Privacy Policies & Avoiding SPAM
Many assisted living websites operate (in some capacity) as referral
websites. These sites (some legitimate, but many are not) try to
collect your information to then distribute or resell to other services,
companies, or spammers. This page offers tips on how to try to protect
your information, and how to avoid unsolicited contact & spam. Written
Besnette - Founder/Editor for Assisted Living Directory
The assisted living
landscape has changed dramatically in recent years - especially
when we talk about what is happening on the internet. Just a
few years ago, there were really only a handful of sites and
directories for assisted living, and most of those were, and
still are good resources to find information about assisted
living facilities and senior care. Additionally, a few of the
top sites that existed then still do today - which include the
Living Federation of America, which was founded in 1990,
on the National Institutes of Health. For those with Alzheimer's
disease, the Alzheimer's
association website has always been a good place to go.
However, as we do searches
online for assisted living, more and more negligible or even
sketchy "referral" sites are cluttering the results,
making it even more confusing to
know who to trust - and more importantly, who to trust your
As you navigate your
way through the top several pages of results when you do a search
- you'll likely see a number of sites promising "expert
care" for you and your family. All you have to do is fill
out this simple form with your email, phone number and other
personal items. From there - as these websites all claim in
one way or another - all of your senior care dreams will come
true...and mom or dad will be hand-held by the best national
experts as they journey through the challenging maze of assisted
Yes....dream on. I'd
say that most of the time, this doesn't happen.
What does happen in
many cases, once you submit your information - is that your
email address and phone number will be sold off to the highest
bidder - regardless of relevance,
expertise, or intentions. I have heard of seniors being hounded
day and night after their personal information has been compromised
- not only by facilities wanting their business - but by insurance
companies, senior care "experts" who are not certified
or trained in any way, shape or form - or downright spammers
who will clog your inbox for years to come.
There are a few things
that you can do to try to minimize the unwanted phone calls,
emails and solicitations:
Before you submit your information to any site - make sure to
collects any information about you should have one...and if
they do not, I recommend that you move on. Essentially, a privacy
policy is a statement by the website that declares exactly what
information they plan on collecting from you, and how they plan
on using it - whether selling, distributing or keeping it to
themselves. Privacy policies can be long and complicated, but
it is important that you take the time to read it and understand
Does the website have a way for you to "opt out" from
unwanted solicitations or contacts, and is there a way for you
to remove your information from their databases? Most legitimate
websites will tell you exactly how you can "opt out"
from any further communications from them, and their "partners."
By opting out, your information should ideally be completely
removed from their systems.
Try to use an email address that you don't care too much about.
I have a yahoo address set up specifically for online orders,
and any time a website "requires" my email address
for anything. I fully expect this address to receive a fair
share of spam, and I don't use this address for other personal
or business use. Most good email services have "filtering"
that you can set up to help direct most spam messages into the
spam folder - keeping most legitimate ones in your good folders
(i.e. inbox folder).
If they require a phone number, I would take extra care. Most
people only have one or two phone numbers, and if you give a
bad website your phone number, you can end up wasting minutes
and money fending off all of the unwanted calls. Never, if possible,
offer your cell phone number.
Assisted Living Directory
tries very hard to be "transparent" with what we are
external companies or facilities we work with and allow to collect
and information on our website wherever they ask for information
from you. We also require that there is an easy way for people
to opt out from any future contacts.
In the 9 years we have
had an online presence in the assisted living niche, we have
never received one complaint about information being abused
by us, or any of our partner sites.
- Article by the
staff at Assisted Living Directory
to this article:
Living Directory Wrote:
Hi Joseph - I have seen privacy policies done in a variety of
ways - most often you'll find it at the bottom of a site, in the
footer, but if there is a form where the site collects information,
good sites will also place a link to the policy there as well.
13 February 2012 at 5:26 pm
is the most likely place it will be found on most sites?
13 February 2012 at 5:25 pm
It seems like almost every site you come to nowadays is a referral
site - and not much else. I have no idea who I am supposed to
trust, other than perhaps the ALFA. I guess this is to be expected
with the ever-increasing number of people hitting retirement age!
24 October 2011 at 6:15 pm
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