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Mar 25

The Truths vs. Myths about Spokeo

by Harrison • March 25, 2010

Hype and Myths

We’ve been inundated with the growing traffic, emails, requests, and everything.  There is no way we can answer everyone’s questions right away, and I know many of you want answers right now.  As a result, I will address some of the common questions below.

Myth 1:  Spokeo is a government agency and our big brother.

Truth 1:  Spokeo is an aggregation technology that organizes people-related information across various public sources.  Spokeo is NOT a government agency, and there is no information that you cannot find elsewhere.

Myth 2:  Spokeo is a big, secret corporation.

Truth 2:  Spokeo has a total of 8 people.  4 of us are engineers, 1 graphic designer, 1 product manager, and 2 customer service.  All of us just got out of college in the last 4 years.

Myth 3:  Spokeo intentionally makes opt-out hard.

Truth 3:  Spokeo lets you opt-out of Spokeo public search in ONE-STEP under the Privacy page.  Other people search databases ask you to mail in a proof of your identity.  We have to double-check that you aren’t a robot because some hackers have tried to delete our entire database before.  As a result, if you try to delete too many people at once, we ask you to wait.  This is the best compromise we can find between fending off malicious attacks vs. keeping the opt-out process in one-step.

Myth 4:  Spokeo knows everything.

Truth 4:  Spokeo knows only as much as the sources it aggregates, and these sources are available to the public for a long time.  The reason why you don’t know about it is that there hasn’t been a good-enough technology to let you access these information in a cheap and efficient way.  Spokeo is the first to make these public information truly publicly accessible.

Myth 5:  Spokeo makes up information.

Truth 5:  Spokeo knows only as much as the sources it aggregates, so if you put in wrong information somewhere online, the information Spokeo aggregates will be wrong.  Spokeo is not a private investigator, but an information aggregator.  This means that our machines do not have the human intelligence to decide which information is right, and which is wrong.  Spokeo does not claim or warrant the accuracy of the information gathered.

Our site is changing everyday, and we are making our best efforts to accommodate everyone’s request.  Please be patient as we go through tens of thousands of requests one-by-one.

 

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19 Responses to The Truths vs. Myths about Spokeo

  1. Paticia K. Durham says: Mar 31st, 2010

    Most of what I can see in regards to the information when doing a search of my name is half and half with a photo that is not me. Unsure of where that came from and the middle initial that comes up (C) with the state and the address is a different person. Address is correct but the rest is wrong. I will be opting out of your database. I was appreciative of knowing about reputation defender. Thanks

  2. all of the above says: Apr 30th, 2010

    I have also seen it suggested that in order to opt out of Spokeo you are required to provide your email address, which if they don’t already have it, is handing them additional private information that you might not want to share. True?

  3. Katie says: Apr 30th, 2010

    Spokeo understands your concern to remain unlisted and provides a quick and easy way to opt out of any public search results. To prevent any abuse to the feature however, Spokeo asks that you provide your email address to send a customized link to. Clicking this link will authenticate and complete the removal process. Your email address will not be used to gather further information for searches in any way.

  4. Jennifer says: Apr 30th, 2010

    I tried to “opt-out”… gave you my email and typed the code but you have not sent a link.
    What now???

  5. SBR says: May 3rd, 2010

    I was frustrated that I was unable to read all of my personal information without buying the membership. I might buy IF the small amount I could read is corrected. It has me listed as a Married Male which is Wrong. I Am An Unmarried Female. I do, however; own my home.
    I can’t imagine from where the information was collected. I fear if mine is incorrect, the people I might be interested in is also wrong.

  6. Kevin says: May 4th, 2010

    How is it possible that you provide personal information protected by the privacy act on your website for a fee. The last 4 digits of a person’s social security number is protected. There is no information listed for my self or my family members on other sites that would provide this information. Now come to find out that there is a man in New Mexico that is posing as a federal agent demanding money from a listing that you have on you site. I am dumbfounded how this is even possible and feel that having to even go to a remote site and provide my e-mail address to have my information removed is a crock. This will be reported to the attorney general’s office that you are providing information protected by the privacy act for a fee. Do not respond to this with the e-mail address provided.

  7. Keno says: May 7th, 2010

    You guys need to make your “Opt Out” page a LOT more user friendly. The space allowed now to enter a URL is at the bottom of the page, barely visible.

    The bulk of the space on that page is an ad for someone who will help us opt out of your site for a fee. I think that’s a company owned by you guys and is the principle source of your income.

    It’s like having to pay the fox to get out of the henhouse.

    Fix this! You’re pirates and thieves.

  8. Katie says: May 7th, 2010

    Hi Keno,

    You do not need to pay to opt out your listing. Reputation Defender is a separate company from us, and the advertisement is not a necessary step in the removal process. The ad is there for people who are interested in taking further precautions for their privacy. Many similar companies and websites do charge people to remove their listings, but Spokeo’s is free. We will continue to improve our opt out process.

  9. Katie says: May 7th, 2010

    SBR,

    Please keep in mind that Spokeo clearly states that results and data accuracy are not guaranteed due to the nature of our searches. All information found should only be used as a reference. If an editing feature becomes available, we will let everyone know. But as of now, we do not have a way to verify that the actual person would be editing their information, as opposed to somebody else. If desired, you can remove your listing at: http://www.spokeo.com/privacy. Also, if you are interested in purchasing a membership, you can email our customer support at: support@spokeo.com, with any questions you may have.

  10. Katie says: May 7th, 2010

    Hi Jennifer,

    If you continue to have problems, please email our Privacy Team at: privacy@spokeo.com, so that they can help assist you. Thanks!

  11. Katie says: May 7th, 2010

    Dear Kevin,

    Spokeo does not display any social security information, drivers licenses, or credit score/credit information. Most of the people publishing stories about Spokeo do not contact us first, and publish inaccurate information about our services. We only display publicly accessible information. Also, our privacy page is free. Our user’s privacy is very important to us, and we will continue on improving the process to make it easier for everyone. Feel free to read our privacy policy for more information: http://blog.spokeo.com/spokeo-privacy/spokeo-privacy-policy/.

  12. Joe says: May 30th, 2010

    I don’t have a URL with a profile of myself, just an e-mail address. I am apalled at the notion that anyone’s information is so readily available to anyone, especially someone who wants to use the information in the wrong way or without permission.

    I tried your opt our form, but it won’t work becasue I have don’t have a Facebook, MySpace, website or other social networking site and therefore a URL.

    How can I get off the list?

  13. Katie says: May 31st, 2010

    Hi Joe,

    The URL needed for the privacy opt out page is the URL of the Spokeo page with your search results. Perform a search on your email address, and then copy the URL of that page to use for our privacy page. Please email our Privacy Team at privacy@spokeo.com if you continue to encounter difficulties. Thanks.

  14. Joyce M. Shelby says: May 31st, 2012

    I would like to close my account as soon as possible. I see no need in keeping this account, since it really doesn’t give me the information I need. Thanks anyway. Joyce M. Shelby.

  15. Katie says: May 31st, 2012

    Hi Joyce, Your request was sent to Customer Support and has been taken care of. If you have any additional questions or concerns, please contact our customer support at 1-800-699-4264 or by emailing support@spokeo.com. Thank you.

  16. jane says: Jun 6th, 2012

    i have tried to delete my page off of spokeo. i lost my email account, forgot the password so there is no way i can get into it. i have friends i have met online and they know my email address. i am very worried that they will find my address. what can i do about this. what if they steal my identity.

  17. Katie says: Jun 7th, 2012

    Hi Jane, Spokeo specializes in aggregating and organizing vast quantities of people-related information from a large variety of public sources. Spokeo respects your privacy, and you can easily opt out of Spokeo’s public search if desired on our privacy page: http://www.spokeo.com/privacy. Spokeo does not present any passwords or private information, only public information. Please do not hesitate to contact our customer support at support@spokeo.com or by calling 1-800-699-4264 if you have any additional questions or concerns. Thank you.

  18. M Alexander says: Aug 21st, 2012

    You have a street address for me that was only given to:

    1) A bank, to open an account (they required a street address, but my mailing address was used on everything relating to that checking account, including the checks);

    2) To apply for public assistance. Last I checked, those records are NOT public.

    So explain again how Spokeo only uses publicly accessible information. I’ll wait.

  19. Katie says: Aug 22nd, 2012

    Hi Mara, Spokeo aggregates people-related information from over 50 sources including phone books, social networks, marketing lists, business sites, and other public sources. Spokeo does not guarantee data accuracy, and its data should only be used as a reference. You can opt out your listing at http://www.spokeo.com/privacy. Do not hesitate to contact our Customer Service team at support@spokeo.com for more information.

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