Privacy, as we know it, is dead. A website called Spokeo now provides everything about you in one convenient little form. And when I say everything, I mean EVERYTHING.
The site claims to be “not your grandma’s phonebook” and it provides photos, bios, email addresses, wealth, hobbies, and social networks about everyone who has a presence on the web (which is 99 percent of Americans).
I logged on there, put my name in, and it came back with: My exact address, my age, that I’m married, and how much we paid for our house. And that’s just on the first page.
If you dig down, you can find out how much my house is worth (apparently not as much as we paid for it), how many square feet it is, how many bathrooms it has, and a photo of my front yard as it looks right this second.
Digging further, it says we have lived in our house for five years and that there are two parents and one child. But it lists me as the child…and the parents as unknown. That’s funny! I guess Mr. D doesn’t live here?
And if I’m a stalker, I can pay $2.95 a month and have access to all of the information I want on any person, including income, debt, and a comparison to the neighbors (talk about keeping up with the Jones’!).
It’s scary, scary stuff and, even though I’m a big believer in transparency, I’m also a believer in safety through some semblance of privacy. I mean, I was stalked right after I graduated from college and the guy knew where I lived, where I worked, what I wore each day, where I went to lunch. It was really scary…and he had to work pretty hard to figure all of that out. Now he’d just have to go to Spokeo and all of the work is done for him.
The good news is you can get yourself off of there.
- Go to Spokeo and type in your name.
- Copy the URL when it brings up your information.
- Go to the bottom of the page and click on “privacy”
- Paste the URL in the box provided
- Include your email address (it gives you further instructions via email)
- Enter the code
- Go to your email and click on the link they provide to you
- Confirm the directory listing has been deleted
- Go back to Spokeo and put in your name to be sure it was deleted and they can’t find you
Hope this helps!