Spokeo – What you need to know1

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.

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. spokeo_name
Email – Enter and email address and Spokeo searches for photos and videos, blog and status updates and a large number of social networking sites. spokeo_email
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: spokeo_phone
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. spokeo_username
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: spokeo_friends1
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?

“Spokeo aggregates publicly available information from phone books, social networks, marketing surveys, real estate listings, business websites, and other public sources. Spokeo does not originate data or publish user-generated content. Rather, Spokeo indexes third-party data in ways similar to Google or Bing. Spokeo does not control or maintain any aggregated third-party data, and therefore cannot guarantee its accuracy or currentness. Spokeo does not publish directory listings for children under 18. Please read our full privacy policy.” (taken from the Spokeo website)

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.

Can I remove my information from Spokeo?

Visit Spokeo’s privacy page to remove your listings from public searches.

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