If you've googled yourself recently, then you've probably seen the creepy influx of personal information listed on sites like Spokeo.com. If you've never heard of it before, Spokeo is a website that searches the web for personal information about individuals which is then compiled and published on their website.
Is Spokeo a scam?
Although they claim that their mission is to "help people find and connect with others, more easily than ever", it seems like their goal is to allow you to peek into the private lives of others- which can only be done by paying them for the information they compile from "a large variety of public sources". Even more interesting is the original home page of Spokeo.com, which clearly displays the twisted ulterior motives behind the site:
"Uncover personal photos, videos, and secrets...GUARANTEED. Want to see something juicy? Spokeo searches deeply within 47 major social networks to find truly mouth-watering news about friends and coworkers. Spokeo is designed to let you dig up information on friends, foes, and anyone in between."
In addition to listing your basic information (name, age, sex), Spokeo also lists personal info such as:
• Estimated Income
• Family members
• Credit Score
• Satellite Images of your home
• IP Address Records
• Social networking sites you are a part of
• Relationship status
• And much more!
While researching Spokeo.com, I realized that most of the information provided through their website is highly inaccurate. My age, gender, income, home value, occupation, ethnicity, and address, among other things, were completely incorrect. So although Spokeo may not be a "scam" per say, I still would not trust- or pay- for their obtrusive and flawed data.
1) In order to remove yourself from this untrustworthy site, you must first search for yourself.
2) Once you've located your listing on Spokeo, copy the URL and paste it into a document for so you can easily access this again.
3) Next, go back to Spokeo.com and search for yourself via email, username and phone number in order to find the multiple listing about you that people might be searching for. Copy and paste these URL's into your document.
4) Now that you have all the necessary URL information, go to the Spokeo Privacy Page.
5) Paste the URL (only do one at a time, this may take 3-4 times depending on how many different listings you found about yourself on Spokeo), Enter your email address, and type in the code that appears on the site.
6) Click Remove Listing
7) Check your email for a confirmation. Once you receive this, click the link at the bottom to complete the removal process.
8) Your listing will be removed from their website within one business day.
If you have issues with this process or get an error message, check out the info provided in the Spokeo FAQ.
What's your opinion of Spokeo? Helpful? Harmful? Do you think Spokeo is in fact a scam website full of inaccurate and misleading information or do you think it will help people connect with others, as their mission statement claims? Share your opinions below!