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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

  • With havin so much content do you ever run into any issues of plagorism
    or copyright violation? My site has a lot of completely unique content
    I’ve either written myself or outsourced but
    it looks like a lot of it is popping it up all over the internet
    without my agreement. Do you know any ways to help
    prevent content from being stolen? I’d certainly appreciate it.

  • Greetings! Iknow this is somewhat off topic but I was wondering which blog platform are you using for this site?
    I’m getting fed up of WordPress because I’ve had problems with hackers and I’m looking at alternatives for
    another platform. I would be great if you could point me in the direction of a good platform.

  • Wow, wonderful blog layout! How long have you been blogging for? you made blogging look easy. The overall look of your site is fantastic, let alone the content!. Thanks For Your article about New Site Displays ALL Of Your Personal Info Nerdist .

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    Thanks

  • Wow, wonderful blog layout! How long have you been blogging for? you made blogging look easy. The overall look of your website is fantastic, as well as the content!. Thanks For Your article about New Site Displays ALL Of Your Personal Info Nerdist .

  • Heya i am for the primary time here. I found this board and I in finding It really helpful & it helped me out a lot.
    I’m hoping to present one thing back and aid others like you aided me.

  • Checked this with my real information: They told me that I still live in a town that I haven’t lived in in almost ten years, that my father is my son and that I’m in my seventies…

  • This isn’t that new. I remember finding this a couple years ago. Unfortunately I unlisted myself back then and guess what? All of it is back on there now. Removing yourself obviously isn’t going to work for long.

  • Tried all three of my personal email addresses as well as my work address, and only found anything attached to my primary, which I’ve now made private. Using my name, it found the place I lived three apartments and almost seven years ago, and my deceased father (but not my still-living mother) at the family home they inherited and moved into two years ago. Weird.

    It always creeps me out how much of my personal information lurks in the corners of the internet, despite all my efforts to keep my private stuff private.

  • Can someone tell me how to get my personal information of this damn site? I never gave them my permission to post my personal information. In order to get acess to the site you have to sign up and pay money. They have invaded my privacy and are making money in doing so. This is illegal and they will be sued. Also the Justice Department will investigate. A complaint will be filed with the states attorney general, and the FTC as well.

  • Found two different profiles searching my name, both with slightly out-dated info. That’s fine. What I don’t like is finding a profile on my dead grandmother.

  • They won’t let you remove your username from their user name search. I tried, and emailed them, and they sent me a form letter about how to remove my email or phone number. When I explained that was not what I had emailed about, I then got this:

    “Dear Spokeo User,

    I understand you are looking to remove profile(s) that match(es) your username. At this time however, this is not supported. Your username, if common, may be shared with someone else. As such, our engineering team is working hard to find a way to allow you to verify ownership to certain profiles.

    In the meantime, please look into making your profiles private on the actual social network. This will be reflected on our end after a period of time.

    Thank you for your patience.

    Sincerely,
    Spokeo Privacy Team”

    I don’t care if my profiles are public. I just don’t want them all lined up in one place. Gross.

  • Well, nothing of any real interest on me (not even when searching by e-mail address) which is cool. I suppose that comes from not whoring out a ton of my personal information on the internet like most people do. The crap found by spokeo can easily be found on Google too – they just make it nicer to read and organize it better.

    Remember folks, Web 2.0 is an invasion of your privacy. The old maxim that you shouldn’t be giving your real name and other personal information out* unnecessairly still holds.

    *But you need to give it out for business transactions due to shipping and COD verification purposes! Here’s hoping Amazon doesn’t go rogue. :p

  • Well, nothing of any real interest on me (not even when searching by e-mail address) which is cool. I suppose that comes from not whoring out a ton of my personal information on the internet like most people do.

    Remember folks, Web 2.0 is an invasion of your privacy. The old maxim that you shouldn’t be giving your real name and other personal information out* still holds.

    *But you need to give it out for business transactions due to shipping and COD verification purposes! Here’s hoping Amazon doesn’t go rogue. :p

  • @Joy: It probably imploded after all the removal requests.

    Just checked, it’s up and fortunately it doesn’t know who I am anymore. If I could only get places like ZabaSearch, etc., to forget such info I’d be less paranoid.

    BTW, I wonder what’s being done with the e-mail addresses collected from people who post here? ;-) It is a required field you know….

  • [...] 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. Hat Tip to: Chris Hardwick at The Nerdist Blog. [...]

  • It’s a trick to make you feel safer. After following the name removal instructions that are posted all over the Internet, it seems like if one does a name search that the info isn’t there. Try doing an email search. I’ve had problems trying to remove information that is connected to email adresses.

  • It’s not that Spokeo–or any other “white pages” site expects you to buy your own info report… or even anyone else’s report . (Why would you unless you’re a detective, creditor, bounty hunter or con artist?)

    Rather, I suspect the real money comes from affiliating with the “reputable” privacy protector company that you can click through to join to go and eliminate such listings from other such white pages sites.

    Reality is, certain bits of information are a part of public record…which in ye olde days of paper and pen, took more work and motivation to go looking for. And a lot of it is also information that each individual put out there on social sites, naively thinking that what happens on (Face Book, MySpace, etc) stayed there.

    Be Aware: If your info on a social site is public (eg Facebook) it will show up on Spokeo and any other such site the next time they crawl the web. You’d have to change your public vs privacy setting (and hope it really works).

    Also Be Aware: Having accurate private info online is understandably scary, but even inaccurate private info made public can have negative consequences so don’t assume that because you know it is false, that anyone looking into you will know that it is false.

  • what’s really funny is that they have 4 DC addresses for “Barack Obama” and none of them are the white house. there are also a bunch of listings for “Luke Skywalker” and “Saddam Hussein”

  • Thank you for the, yet again, helpful and informative post.

    I was shocked at the detailed expose of my personal life. And imagine my surprise to discover that I have “1 child” !!!

    This just reaffirms my paranoia of the http://www... If only highly addictive websites (ahem, Nerdist.com) would stop luring me back in…sigh…I might stand a chance of untangling myself from the sticky web.

  • author

    Great tip Corrin! Also, NO ONE should pay ANYTHING to this site. It’s easy enough to give out a secondary email but you do not want to give them money and more of your personal info!!!

  • Married women should search on various versions of their name. I used to hyphenate my maiden name with my husband’s name, so I found a listing under that variant as well as the simpler version I use now. The good news is, that one was old information. Another factor is that people have to pay $2.95 a month to access this service, so people may not use it as much as possible. I refused to pay to see what they have on me, although some of it was old info. Still, thanks for pointing this out so we can go through the process of removing what’s there. I’m guessing we should check back periodically to be sure they haven’t added us back in.

  • I went to the site, it had some limited info. To get all of the info I had to pay for it. Did anyone have to do that? I did not see that mentioned in the step by step.

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