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New Site Displays ALL Of Your Personal Info

Upon launching the Spokeo website, they cleverly remind you that “it’s not your grandma’s phonebook,” which is not only a hacky reference but also literally true: the old meatspace phonebooks didn’t automatically expose all of your private information like age, income, home value, credit score, relationship status and map to your house. Who the Eff are these freaks? How did they get ALL of your info? I don’t know, but all of mine was there. Fortunately, there’s an easy way to remove yourself from the database of these privacy rapists currently thriving in Zuckerberg’s America.

1. Goto Spokeo.com

2.Enter your name and city in the search field

3. Suppress your shout of “Holy CRAPSTAINS!!!” when you see how much of your info is displayed

4. Copy the URL

5. At the bottom of the page, you’ll see “Privacy” in the footer links. Click it.

6. Paste the URL in the field underneath “To remove a listing from Spokeo…”

7. You’ll have to enter an email (sucky, I know) but do what I do and use a secondary one that you only give out to list managers. Try to AVOID giving them your primary email addy. No one has confirmed whether or not they’re phishing for emails, but I wasn’t going to leave the detailed info they had on me so I gave them the dummy address. Extortion much? Unfortunately, they limit the number of listings you can remove to two per email to “prevent abuse”. Really? Could that be any more abusive than displaying all of someone’s personal info??

8. Click “Remove Listing”

9. Check your email; the removal confirmation from Spokeo should come immediately

10. Click after “To complete the removal process…”

11. Celebrate that you have pulled your info off yet another service that took it from you, and rest until the next such battle with some other similar site, likely in an hour or so

UPDATE: Turns out the site it a couple of years old. Also, the veracity of personal information varies from person to person. For me it was SHOCKINGLY accurate. Other folks even found pictures on the site that came from their as-private-as-they-could-make-it Facebook accounts, along with links to family members. Still, other folks either report no listing or old info. In any case, it’s worth a look.

2nd UPDATE: When you’re done, go into your browser prefs and search cookies for “spokeo”, then delete them. Submitted by the hilariously named user “Obvious Point” in the comments.

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139 comments

  • It’s got me listed at four different addresses, only one of which is current and the others are at least five years old, one of which is listed twice, once in the wrong city. I think the money thing is supposed to show how much my house is worth, not my income, which is kind of funny when you consider I’ve never owned a house. They have the number of people in my family wrong, only the vaguest idea of my age (“late 30s”), and no other info of any worth.

  • They couldn’t find anything on me, and I’m pretty much the most googleable person I know. No address, no contact info at all, no personal history, nada. All of that stuff is just a search away on Google.

    Though, I didn’t remember I had a blogger account in ’03…

  • Luckily their tentacles don’t seem to spread to the UK yet, they can’t find me in Birmingham! Either that, or my privacy settings are surprising good. Oh, and hello from 2011 to all you Americans ;)

  • Yeah…they had 99% of my info wrong. They list 2 previous addresses (there was another residence in between the 2 they listed) and at one address had someone else with the same name, but wrong middle initial living with me. The invasiveness of this really sucks, but apparently (and luckily) so does the intelligence level of the site developers.

  • Hah – a dozen Scott Stiefels across the country, but they didn’t pick up on me; not in the state I lived in the last 6 years, not where I had my mailing address for 6 months, and not here.

  • What I found especially pernicious was the “Privacy Defender” ad directly above the opt out window. Is this a racket? At any rate, thanks for the heads up. Come to nerdist for all your privacy alert needs!

  • Well, good thing they still have my deceased father on there. Though, you can get this info on any site if you pay, such as intellius, etc.

    Blockshopper has info on your home ownership as well.
    And at least in Chi-town, if you go on to the assessor/treasurer website, and then on the Cook County Clerk of the Circuit court, you can find all sorts of info as well.

    All it takes is some money and some effort and you can find out a lot. This site is just giving you convenience.

    Kinda sucks, but oh well.

  • yeah, this site has actually been around for a while. i took my info off of it a year or two ago. although i thought about leaving it on there because it estimated my income at about 3x what it actually was.

  • In a rage I went to take my info down, but I don’t exist. It has my entire family from grandparents to younger brother, but no variation of my name comes up.

    …. Oddly enough that is kind of freaking me out more than the site itself…

  • It’s funny, I got the opt-out e-mail immediately to my gmail address, but still haven’t gotten it for my yahoo address (I had 4 listings!)– and it didn’t go to spam, either!

  • If you have lived in multiple cities, make sure you check for yourself in all of them. I’ve come up in 2 places so far. (My boyfriend with the same addresses as mine did not appear at all.)

    Oi. And thanks.

  • Thank you very much for alerting your Twitter followers about this! They had some inaccurate information about me, but enough of it was accurate to be very disturbing. There may be even more information behind the paywall. Why on Earth, for example, would they make income data (even estimated income data) available? That could make people targets for crime. By far the safest decision is simply to opt-out completely.

  • Thanks for the info. Can’t stand these sites.

    If you happen to have other people in your household, if you do a search for those people and their info is displayed, you’ll likely be listed under the “Family” tab. The only way to remove yourself from that tab is to click on your name, copy *that* URL, then go through the removal process. I had to do this three additional times just to remove myself the “Family” tab. I swear, no one can spell my name correctly. :-/

  • I am trying to remove my info from the site, but it’s just not emailing me the final steps. Come on, Spokeo. Any day now. I would like to sleep easier on the last night of 2010 knowing that I am still somewhat safe from rogue Russian wet work teams. Jeez!

  • Screw that, I’m leaving it up. It says I make $129k a year. That’s somewhere in the range of over quadruple what I actually make. Plus, everything else they have is all over the place on my Facebook, Myspace, OKCupid, and probably about 50 other social networking sites I don’t use anymore…

  • Thank you so much Chris! This didn’t have me in it (luckily!) but it did have my mom. TWICE! However they grossly overestimated the amount of money she makes a year. So I suppose it’s not 100% accurate. But when they put your address out for Google Maps and every rapist to see, I think letting the money thing slide is the best option!

    Thanks again man!

  • “Access full results for Linda S Carson plus personal records on over 300 Million people” for just $2.95/month.

    Spokeo’s not carelessly exposing this stuff. It’s selling it.

    I’m trying to be grateful it’s doing this visibly so we all realize how much information is available on us to anything that can aggregate it from the web.

  • This site isn’t very good. It knows my name, age, and where I live, but it doesn’t have a photo, and it just completely made up a number for income. (321k? I WISH.)

    *removed*

  • They had me listed twice – once with correct info, once at my old address with the wrong phone number and a map location about 50 miles southwest of the actual address. Not only invasive, but stupid.

  • It’s a pretty scary site. Fortunately, it kind of sucks. For example, I’m not listed. I was all ready to be outraged and, as it turns out, I’m not that big a deal. But type in “Barack Obama.” Apparently, there are hundreds of them in the US. There are four living in DC alone, though none in the White House. The closest a Barack Obama comes to the White House is 1200 Pennsylvania Ave., four blocks away. He has one kid and a spouse, name unknown.