Don’t you hate how companies sell your data without your permission? As a marketing professional, I have often dealt with confidential information. So I’m very sensitive to the issue. Many companies make enormous effort to safeguard data. Others are ignorant of the issues or plain careless. (Wow, could I tell some stories.) Government is notorious for selling your motor vehicles data and making other information public. You can thank them for all the crap phone phone calls and unrelated junk mail you get. It’s unfortunate that so much of your private information is available to literally anyone with a credit card.
“Not Your Grandma’s White Pages.”
Spokeo.com is one of a number of companies that make money off of your personal information. They reveal a significant amount of information about you and connections to family members.
This video explains the privacy concerns. Spokeo has successfully defended it’s position.
If you haven’t done so already, visit the Spokeo.com website and see what’s listed about you and your family members.
According to Spokeo:
Spokeo aggregates publicly available information from third party sources. Therefore, removing a listing from our directory will not remove your information from its original source and therefore your information might still appear on other directory sites. You may have multiple listings on Spokeo, each of which is identified by a unique URL and must be removed individually.
Good news is you can request removal. But it will take a little bit of effort. I recommend that you do it now.
How To Remove Yourself From Spokeo
Spokeo claims to have one of the easiest methods to unlist yourself. Here are the steps to delist your records:
- Visit Spokeo.com and search on a name.
- Copy the URL of that listing page you want to delete.
- Go to http://www.spokeo.com/optout. At the bottom paste the URL, a working email address and enter a CAPTCHA code.
- Check your email inbox for an email from Spokeo. In the email is a link you need to click to complete the delisting request.
The page is immediately removed. (Awesome!) It’s not that hard to do for a few listings. But if you got many to do…
Got Lot’s Of Family To Delete?
You can only submit up to 5 requests in a day.
In order to prevent abuse, we must limit the frequency of privacy requests. Please try again tomorrow. Government officials please use your @.gov email address for priority processing.
It seems to be based on the IP address you connect to the Internet from. The work around is by using an IP anonymizer. They can be behave oddly. The first I tried wouldn’t let me submit the form. This one worked for me.
Or do some from your home computer. Then do the rest using a smartphone’s cellular connection.
Do what you can to safeguard your info and share only what is necessary.
While we’re on the issue of privacy, follow these steps to Stop Unwanted Telemarketing Calls.
Hope you find this helpful.
UPDATE 10/14/2015: It’s been over 4-1/2 years since I wrote this post and I discovered my info on Spokeo again. Steps above to opt-out are still accurate. Good luck.