Recently several people have asked me about Spokeo, an aggregate website that lists personal information already available on the web, yet I hadn’t seen it for myself until the last report I worked up. When I encountered it while doing a reputation management report for a client (online brand and personal name search, findings, and includes how to build up great brand content or eliminate that which is incorrect or undesirable), I dropped what I was doing, applied this to myself to learn how it worked, and how to teach you to remove your name and information.
Navigate to www.spokeo.com and enter your name. You may find that you have several listings. This information comes from public records such as utility bills, phone listings, and more. Investigate each listing that may possibly be you (you can now simply navigate to the states you’ve lived in to speed up the process). You will see information such as gender, age, phone number, street address, and a photo of your neighborhood. In order to see the full results, they will charge you. Don’t pay! You can simply remove yourself. (You can read more about privacy rights on the web at Privacy Rights Clearinghouse or about the $80,000 fine levied against Spokeo by the FTC.)
- Copy the listing URL out of the address bar and then navigate to www.spokeo.com/privacy
- Scroll down until you see “Removing Your Listing from Spokeo”, click on “Opt Out” form
- Paste the URL into the Profile URL box and in the next box put an email address where you’ll be receiving a confirmation link
- Enter in the Captcha phrase or check the “I’m Not a Robot” box then “Remove This Listing”
- You should receive an email almost instantly that has a link saying “Spokeo Directory Removal Confirmation.” There will be two links, one is the listing, the other is the link to complete the task of removing. It works instantly. (The last two times I’ve done this, I received an error when clicking on this link. I had to copy the link into my browser to complete the task. SNEAKY Spokeo.)
- Now keep looking yourself up and repeating this process until they are all eliminated.* I did it for myself and got rid of three listings in less than 5 minutes. Now do it for your spouse and kids.
*When I repeated this process to make sure I got all my steps right for my blog, I used my husband’s information. Spokeo only allowed me to do 2 before it throttled me by saying “In order to prevent abuse, we must limit the frequency of automated privacy requests.” Don’t let them stop you! Go back in an hour or tomorrow but eliminate all information that you can! Yes, you can pay an outside service to do this for you but it’s much more expensive and time consuming than you’d like to believe.
Other services with a similar information and process:
- ZoomInfo to opt out use http://www.zoominfo.com/lookupEmail
- 411.info, to opt out use www.411.info/privacy
- White Pages, to opt out use http://www.whitepagescustomers.com/get-help-with-a-personal-listing/
- Persopo, to opt out use http://info.persopo.com/opt-out.html
Other aggregator sites like Spokeo: