A lot of Facebook users have been receiving privacy warnings in their newsfeeds about the website, Spokeo. Spokeo is a controversial people search site that claims it has personal records on over 300 million people. Users can search by name, email, phone number, user names and friends. Spokeo states on its home page, “Not your grandma’s phonebook.”
Let’s take a deeper look at each search criteria and what information is available.
Name – Name and geographic location. Type in a name and Spokeo populates a map of the U.S. with links to all relevant results.
Email – Enter and email address and Spokeo searches for photos and videos, blog and status updates and a large number of social networking sites.
Phone Number: Enter in a ten digit number and you will be amazed at the information that becomes available. Spokeo’s basic results show the name(blotted out), age, ethnicity, address (blotted out) median income and a picture from Google Earth. I’m assuming if you upgrade to the paid search that the name and address would be provided. Spokeo also provides a wealth of demographic information the phone number is located in:
Username: Enter a username and Spokeo searches over 50 networks including: social networks, blogging sites, dating sites, photo sites, music sites, video sites, location and review sites and online shopping sites.
Friends – Click on your current email provider, provide your email credentials (at your own discretion) and BAM! Spokeo displays a listing of your email contacts and any relevant activity on the sites and networks that Spokeo monitors:
As you can see, Spokeo appears to be a dream come true for a stalker, criminal or Facebook creeper! Spokeo offers both free and paid search features. The paid search offers more detailed information on any of the searches a user is looking to conduct.
Where does Spokeo get all of this information?
This makes it extremely important to have privacy settings on any social networking sites completely locked down. Also, be careful of what you post on other people’s profiles that may have less restrictive privacy settings than your own.
Many analysts and researchers have stated that Spokeo contains a lot of errors and inaccuracies on selected searches, but there is still a ton of information available for the nosy and nefarious.
How can I remove my information from Spokeo?
Visit Spokeo’s privacy page to remove your listings from public searches.
In the first window, conduct a search for your name and any variations that could possibly show up in a web search. If you have a listing(s) that displays in the left column, then click on it. Once the page containing the listing is loaded, copy the URL of this page and paste it into the input field on the privacy page in the 2nd browser window:
Enter your current email address.
Enter the Captcha Code and then press “Remove Listing.”
Check your email and follow the confirmation link.
Rinse and Repeat.
If you have difficulty removing any listings, then you may need to contact Spokeo directly:
Company Contact Info:
556 S. Fair Oaks Ave.
Suite # 101-179
Pasadena, CA 91105
Hours: Mondays – Fridays, 8am – 5pm (PST)