Gini Dietrich

Deleting Your Spokeo Profile

By: Gini Dietrich | January 3, 2011 | 
222

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.

  1. Go to Spokeo and type in your name.
  2. Copy the URL when it brings up your information.
  3. Go to the bottom of the page and click on “privacy”
  4. Paste the URL in the box provided
  5. Include your email address (it gives you further instructions via email)
  6. Enter the code
  7. Go to your email and click on the link they provide to you
  8. Confirm the directory listing has been deleted
  9. Go back to Spokeo and put in your name to be sure it was deleted and they can’t find you

Hope this helps!

About Gini Dietrich


Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro.

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222 Comments on "Deleting Your Spokeo Profile"

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rwohlner
rwohlner
5 years 6 months ago

Thanks Gini, just did this great tip. Happy New Year to you and Kelly.

rwohlner
rwohlner
5 years 6 months ago

Thanks Gini, just did this great tip. Happy New Year to you and Kelly.

NancyMyrland
NancyMyrland
5 years 6 months ago

I will share this Gini. I was happy to know I must have made John’s any my profiles private at some point as we came up missing…very good news! Thanks for the reminder!

NancyMyrland
NancyMyrland
5 years 6 months ago

I will share this Gini. I was happy to know I must have made John’s any my profiles private at some point as we came up missing…very good news! Thanks for the reminder!

patrickreyes
patrickreyes
5 years 6 months ago

Thanks Gini! Done!

patrickreyes
patrickreyes
5 years 6 months ago

Thanks Gini! Done!

timjahn
timjahn
5 years 6 months ago

While I agree that this is quite scary, Spokeo is aggregating publicly available information (or at least they claim to: http://www.spokeo.com/privacy). I wonder if the bigger discussion is why we provide so much information to everybody.

timjahn
timjahn
5 years 6 months ago

While I agree that this is quite scary, Spokeo is aggregating publicly available information (or at least they claim to: http://www.spokeo.com/privacy). I wonder if the bigger discussion is why we provide so much information to everybody.

NancyMyrland
NancyMyrland
5 years 6 months ago

John’s and (not any) 😉

NancyMyrland
NancyMyrland
5 years 6 months ago

John’s and (not any) 😉

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
5 years 6 months ago

@timjahn Yeah, you have to go into the individual accounts and delete it. And I can tell you I do not make my address, how much I paid for my home, or what it’s worth public. It’s one thing if it only aggregates the information YOU put online. It’s another to put your personal records out there for everyone to see…and that’s what this does.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
5 years 6 months ago

@timjahn Yeah, you have to go into the individual accounts and delete it. And I can tell you I do not make my address, how much I paid for my home, or what it’s worth public. It’s one thing if it only aggregates the information YOU put online. It’s another to put your personal records out there for everyone to see…and that’s what this does.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
5 years 6 months ago

@NancyMyrland It’s kind of a relief when you put your name in and it says, “no information available.”

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
5 years 6 months ago

@NancyMyrland It’s kind of a relief when you put your name in and it says, “no information available.”

timjahn
timjahn
5 years 6 months ago

@ginidietrich Your personal PRIVATE records or PUBLIC records? If the information is publicly available, I’m not sure how they’re in the wrong.

Your address is publicly listed in the White Pages generally, right? How much you paid for your home is generally public in real estate data, right? (I could be wrong, trying to figure this out.)

timjahn
timjahn
5 years 6 months ago

@ginidietrich Your personal PRIVATE records or PUBLIC records? If the information is publicly available, I’m not sure how they’re in the wrong.

Your address is publicly listed in the White Pages generally, right? How much you paid for your home is generally public in real estate data, right? (I could be wrong, trying to figure this out.)

DallasK
DallasK
5 years 6 months ago
@ginidietrich @timjahn In Maryland, if you know the address of the person you want to stal…er…know about. The State of Maryland provides a simple form where you just put in the address of the location you want to stal..er…know about and it spits out the entire sales history of the property, the current and past owners, the type of house, square feet, and the assessed tax value of the house. You can also go to sites like Zillow and see sales values of houses. My point is that spokeo seems to just be aggregating data that is already out there… Read more »
DallasK
DallasK
5 years 6 months ago
@ginidietrich @timjahn In Maryland, if you know the address of the person you want to stal…er…know about. The State of Maryland provides a simple form where you just put in the address of the location you want to stal..er…know about and it spits out the entire sales history of the property, the current and past owners, the type of house, square feet, and the assessed tax value of the house. You can also go to sites like Zillow and see sales values of houses. My point is that spokeo seems to just be aggregating data that is already out there… Read more »
timjahn
timjahn
5 years 6 months ago

@DallasK @ginidietrich That’s what I’m saying.

Yes, this practice is scary. But Spokeo isn’t the culprit here. The culprit is ourselves and the laws in place that make so much information public. Many clueless people will gladly give the checkout lady at the grocery store their phone number, zip code, and maybe a kidney if she asks nicely.

And every other place you visit wants your social security number. I wonder what percentage of people give that out to people who clearly don’t need it without questioning why.

timjahn
timjahn
5 years 6 months ago

@DallasK @ginidietrich That’s what I’m saying.

Yes, this practice is scary. But Spokeo isn’t the culprit here. The culprit is ourselves and the laws in place that make so much information public. Many clueless people will gladly give the checkout lady at the grocery store their phone number, zip code, and maybe a kidney if she asks nicely.

And every other place you visit wants your social security number. I wonder what percentage of people give that out to people who clearly don’t need it without questioning why.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
5 years 6 months ago

@timjahn No, you’re correct. My point is that I don’t want the entire world knowing that stuff. It’s not something *I* put on the web. There are some things that should remain private and I think my address and phone number and how much I paid for my house are among those things.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
5 years 6 months ago

@timjahn No, you’re correct. My point is that I don’t want the entire world knowing that stuff. It’s not something *I* put on the web. There are some things that should remain private and I think my address and phone number and how much I paid for my house are among those things.

timjahn
timjahn
5 years 6 months ago

@ginidietrich That’s the point though. That information is NOT private. If it was, this blog post wouldn’t exist because Spokeo wouldn’t have the information.

timjahn
timjahn
5 years 6 months ago

@ginidietrich That’s the point though. That information is NOT private. If it was, this blog post wouldn’t exist because Spokeo wouldn’t have the information.

DallasK
DallasK
5 years 6 months ago

@ginidietrich @timjahn But Gini, the amount of money you spent on your house is already public record. Anyone can go online and likely search for the address and see.

DallasK
DallasK
5 years 6 months ago

@ginidietrich @timjahn But Gini, the amount of money you spent on your house is already public record. Anyone can go online and likely search for the address and see.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
5 years 6 months ago

@DallasK @timjahn And that is MY point. I don’t want it public, which is why I’m deleting it everywhere I can find it.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
5 years 6 months ago

@DallasK @timjahn And that is MY point. I don’t want it public, which is why I’m deleting it everywhere I can find it.

Doug_Davidoff
Doug_Davidoff
5 years 6 months ago

@ginidietrich @DallasK @timjahn Spokeo is clearly not doing anything illegal, or even unethical (I used to get information like this when I was a stockbroker in the 90s – I just had to pay a handsome fee to have access to it). It doesn’t make it any less scary.

I think the bigger problem here is that you have to opt-out of these types of sites – and I didn’t even know Spokeo existed until I saw this blog. Gini – I know it’s too late for your trends, but this will be a growing one.

Doug_Davidoff
Doug_Davidoff
5 years 6 months ago

@ginidietrich @DallasK @timjahn Spokeo is clearly not doing anything illegal, or even unethical (I used to get information like this when I was a stockbroker in the 90s – I just had to pay a handsome fee to have access to it). It doesn’t make it any less scary.

I think the bigger problem here is that you have to opt-out of these types of sites – and I didn’t even know Spokeo existed until I saw this blog. Gini – I know it’s too late for your trends, but this will be a growing one.

DallasK
DallasK
5 years 6 months ago

@ginidietrich @timjahn Well, your state government is the one posting it…good luck getting them to remove it.

DallasK
DallasK
5 years 6 months ago

@ginidietrich @timjahn Well, your state government is the one posting it…good luck getting them to remove it.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
5 years 6 months ago

@Doug_Davidoff @DallasK @timjahn Doug, I agree. I’m not saying it’s illegal. I’m just saying I don’t like it. So I’m giving everyone an option to opt-out (as you say), as quickly as I’m finding they are available.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
5 years 6 months ago

@Doug_Davidoff @DallasK @timjahn Doug, I agree. I’m not saying it’s illegal. I’m just saying I don’t like it. So I’m giving everyone an option to opt-out (as you say), as quickly as I’m finding they are available.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
5 years 6 months ago

@Doug_Davidoff And…it was the ninth trend in creative destruction. This idea that everyone will leave the more popular social networks for more privacy. I agree with you!

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
5 years 6 months ago

@Doug_Davidoff And…it was the ninth trend in creative destruction. This idea that everyone will leave the more popular social networks for more privacy. I agree with you!

FollowtheLawyer
FollowtheLawyer
5 years 6 months ago

@ginidietrich @Doug_Davidoff 🙂

FollowtheLawyer
FollowtheLawyer
5 years 6 months ago

@ginidietrich @Doug_Davidoff 🙂

hackmanj
5 years 6 months ago

All the information in this may be publicly available but I still think this is a great thing to put on your personal “Todo” list. In fact I would venture to say that there is a market for a service that will go and do this (and other similar things) for people. Thanks for sharing Gini, great useful post!

hackmanj
5 years 6 months ago

All the information in this may be publicly available but I still think this is a great thing to put on your personal “Todo” list. In fact I would venture to say that there is a market for a service that will go and do this (and other similar things) for people. Thanks for sharing Gini, great useful post!

ErinBrumleve
ErinBrumleve
5 years 6 months ago
Well in my case anyway, the Spokeo info was inaccurate, which will hopefully throw off any would-be stalkers. Some of the inacurracies include: no profile with my married name, my maiden name profile fuses several pieces of info from diffrent locations, for example listing my former St. Louis address as one I have in Denver. My husband’s profile is a little more accurate – but he is also listed as a child of two parents (unknown) in our household. I’m listed as a single female in our house – which freaked me out a bit with the whole stalker thing.… Read more »
ErinBrumleve
ErinBrumleve
5 years 6 months ago
Well in my case anyway, the Spokeo info was inaccurate, which will hopefully throw off any would-be stalkers. Some of the inacurracies include: no profile with my married name, my maiden name profile fuses several pieces of info from diffrent locations, for example listing my former St. Louis address as one I have in Denver. My husband’s profile is a little more accurate – but he is also listed as a child of two parents (unknown) in our household. I’m listed as a single female in our house – which freaked me out a bit with the whole stalker thing.… Read more »
Doug_Davidoff
Doug_Davidoff
5 years 6 months ago

@ErinBrumleve Erin, the danger with things like this is that inaccuracy doesn’t really matter. Salespeople, employers, employees, and other resources will use tools like these and will treat the info in there as if it were true.

When I was in sales, working directly with consumers I would have killed for a tool like this – and I’m certain that a part of Spokeo’s (or any other competitor) monetization strategy is to provide this to employers and salespeople.

Doug_Davidoff
Doug_Davidoff
5 years 6 months ago

@ErinBrumleve Erin, the danger with things like this is that inaccuracy doesn’t really matter. Salespeople, employers, employees, and other resources will use tools like these and will treat the info in there as if it were true.

When I was in sales, working directly with consumers I would have killed for a tool like this – and I’m certain that a part of Spokeo’s (or any other competitor) monetization strategy is to provide this to employers and salespeople.

meganbeausang
meganbeausang
5 years 6 months ago

Thanks Gini. Apparently, I too live with my parents and have been living here for 16 years. Have you ever seen this website? http://www.blockshopper.com/ You can see what people have paid for homes.

meganbeausang
meganbeausang
5 years 6 months ago

Thanks Gini. Apparently, I too live with my parents and have been living here for 16 years. Have you ever seen this website? http://www.blockshopper.com/ You can see what people have paid for homes.

ErinBrumleve
ErinBrumleve
5 years 6 months ago

@Doug_Davidoff Thanks David, for allowing me to clarify. The fact that I’m listed as a single female is inaccurate, but still dangerous as it could potentially invite unwanted company to our home. And I imagine you are right about the monetization stragety, though such is not an area of my expertise.

ErinBrumleve
ErinBrumleve
5 years 6 months ago

@Doug_Davidoff Thanks David, for allowing me to clarify. The fact that I’m listed as a single female is inaccurate, but still dangerous as it could potentially invite unwanted company to our home. And I imagine you are right about the monetization stragety, though such is not an area of my expertise.

FollowtheLawyer
FollowtheLawyer
5 years 6 months ago
Even though it presents as a marketing database-esque service, it seems too slow and kludgy for that purpose. I can’t help but wonder whether Spokeo is primarily a privacy FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt) demonstration project to sell scrubbing services through its “partner” Reputation Defender. The “Remove a Listing ” page reads like a “We’ve Been Expecting You” message. The clear implication is that if Spokeo can do this, anyone can, and if that bothers you then you can pay Reputation Defender to help you keep your online privacy curtains closed. From the Spokeo “Remove a Listing” page: “Spokeo aggregates publicly… Read more »
FollowtheLawyer
FollowtheLawyer
5 years 6 months ago
Even though it presents as a marketing database-esque service, it seems too slow and kludgy for that purpose. I can’t help but wonder whether Spokeo is primarily a privacy FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt) demonstration project to sell scrubbing services through its “partner” Reputation Defender. The “Remove a Listing ” page reads like a “We’ve Been Expecting You” message. The clear implication is that if Spokeo can do this, anyone can, and if that bothers you then you can pay Reputation Defender to help you keep your online privacy curtains closed. From the Spokeo “Remove a Listing” page: “Spokeo aggregates publicly… Read more »
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