I'm interested in doing online tutoring and I've gotten offers from a few companies, but I'm new to this and I have maybe a strange concern.

A lot of tutoring sites want to list information about you like your first name, last name/initial, college you went to, major, general location, photo, etc. Most of this information has to be real so that they can verify your qualifications and pay you but, at least in my case, it's pretty easy to use these things to figure out my street address from public records websites, even though I've tried to "opt out" of those websites.

So my question: is this actually a concern or am I being paranoid? An online tutor could work with hundreds of students in a couple of years and that increases the chances of meeting someone shady, but obviously a lot of people tutor and don't seem to have problems.


Truth of the matter is, at least in the United States, anyone's address is public record if they've purchased a home and easily discoverable online with only a name. Even if they haven't purchased a home many other things are public record - marriage, divorce, custody, anything court related, traffic tickets, etc.

While I agree that it's unfortunate so much can be found about a person, there's not a great deal which can be done if you need to conduct business under your real name.

Traditionally, sites which require verifiable information do so for them, their site, not for public display. So although a web site may know you are Eric/Elaine Baker... you typically use a pseudonym or username for the public to see. This way the web site can pay you and have actual record of who you are for tax/legal purposes, but the pubic or clients, really only know the information you share with them. But.. I have no idea how any particular site you may be looking at actually functions or operates.

Be aware if I were in the market to hire someone to tutor my child, it would be pretty much mandatory that I know who they actually are. I wouldn't trust some nondescript username to have direct, extended, contact with my child. The business you wish to go into really requires that you be up front about your identity, otherwise it would be a haven for degenerates and predators.

  • It *is*/has been a haven for degenerates and predators, which is why successful public sites have been pushing for greater transparency.
    – lly
    Jun 24 '18 at 7:40

It depends.

Are you a woman?

Yes, regardless of how attractive you may think you are or aren't, you should be concerned if it's trivially easy for hundreds to thousands of adult students to find your home address.

Are you a guy?

No, it probably doesn't really matter, as long as you aren't getting involved in students' personal lives.

Either way, Scott's opinion notwithstanding, only the company needs to know your real name and information for legitimate purposes. If you were to do anything untoward, law enforcement could get the information from them. The parents don't actually need that info and shouldn't be stalking you; they should trust the company to weed out the baddies. If they're all that suspicious, they should be hiring their own tutors individually from families in their own communities.

Therefore, you should be able to talk to the company and explain your situation, which is uncommon if they usually only go by first name and last initial. They should be able to work with you to adjust your screenname to make it less unique and, if they can't, it is going to be safer for you to just work for a different company or find other work.

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