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Gini Dietrich

Deleting Your Spokeo Profile

By: Gini Dietrich | January 3, 2011 | 
219

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.

127 comments
IPStevieB
IPStevieB

I went through this process, and I discovered that I have many profiles dating back to the late 80's.   When I tried to remove the 5th consecutive profile, I received this nifty little note from them.  That is beyond belief.

CraigMcDaniel
CraigMcDaniel

I used this process when you originally posted this item and checked again today. Everything was back up. I repeated the removal request and got confirmation that the listing had been removed but less than a minute later it was back.

aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa
aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

Information is still not totally removed.

Use Google and you can still view personal information.

Even if some of it is omitted with the use of asterisks, personal information is still easily viewed from a page referred by a Google search.

stevo12342vdf
stevo12342vdf

They also auto-renew your account and don't issue a refund if you cancel.

JennaM.Pitman
JennaM.Pitman

I deleted a bunch of spokeo accounts a couple years ago for my family and myself. They were back now.

HeadStrong
HeadStrong

As a recruiter we use these tools to locate difficult candidates. Some posts here mention this is no different than opening the phone book, whitepages.com or even netdetective.com. The only difference is that it shows a person's "demographics" with regards to price of home and income. When i reviewed my spokeo profile it was just that. Nothing "exact" as this article claims. In fact my profile mentioned that I "Like the outdoors" and "I like to go for bicycle rides". FALSE! You will have a better chance of identity theft by opening a credit card or purchasing a vehicle. Those companies ACTUALLY SELL your info. Purchasing property/home is public knowledge viewable via county records. To safeguard your personal info I suggest you shred any solicitation via post mail and have your utility bills coverted to ebills. In order to obtain someones identity, one will need more than Spokeo to be successful.

Shonali
Shonali

One more thing to try: if you/spouse use a middle initial, try putting that in as well. That way you can make sure you delete all listings associated with your name.

Shonali
Shonali

I saw this post earlier, Gini, and just went to the site. it is TRULY frightening. Thank you so much for working through this and sharing.

Katie Gutwein
Katie Gutwein

Thanks for sharing, Gini! A friend of mine had posted info re: Spokeo, last week. I deleted my account then, but after seeing your post, I thought, "Hmmm, I should check to see if my *full* name has a listing." Sure enough, there it was....picture of my house and all! AH!

So, an extra tidbit of advice to everyone would be: Make sure you check your nickname *and* your full name!

-Katie (aka Kathryn) :)

AliciaKrick
AliciaKrick

Does this delete the information that Spokeo has for $2.95 per month or just the free stuff?

asfgasdg
asfgasdg

Uh, Im pretty sure not even Google takes instant pictures of your home when you take a gander online. Quit being ridiculous. Maybe if you had changed your yard in the last few years it would look different. Get off the computer and do some landscaping.

RandomShelly
RandomShelly

you know, I almost didn't read through this article, because after reading the title, I thought - I never signed up for one of those accounts... glad I did read, and I have deleted now!! THANKS :)

3HatsComm
3HatsComm

Wow Gini, had no IDEA this was out there. Thanks for the tips, deleting this now.

rhcherokeej
rhcherokeej

As for them adding your e-mail address, if you give it to try and delete information, yes...they will add it if they don't already have it. Anytime you put your e-mail address into a database, it becomes public information.

microfud
microfud

Any of you think to consider that you had to give up your e-mail address in exchange for deleting the page? What makes you think that data won't be added to their database and provided to one of their partner sites. By "deleting" your page you may just be enhancing their dataset.

rhcherokeej
rhcherokeej

If you google 'people search' you will see at least a dozen, if not more, of these sites. All you have to do is pay a small fee and they will give any information they have on you. I had never before heard of Spokeo untill now but I have seen these same kinds of sites for many years on the internet. I'm afraid that one would have to go to many more of these sites to try and get each of them to delete your information and I'm not sure if they all would even do it. This is really no different then paying a private detective to find information on someone...only a lot less expensive and much more available on the internet. That is how most of them do it now. Sad to say, it has been around for a long time and I don't see it going away anytime soon.

LegallyErin
LegallyErin

I was able to delete four listings in my name. Thanks, Gini.

Shonali
Shonali

@ginidietrich Yup; it didn't have my maiden name (probably a good thing). I think we need to make sure our spouses/significant others delete theirs as well.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

@Shonali Make sure you look at your other names (if you're using your husband's last name). I forgot about my maiden name and sure enough! There is was.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

@Katie Gutwein Katie - that's a great point. I just went and looked for my maiden name and it was there. Thank you!

hackmanj
hackmanj

@AliciaKrick it appears that they delete everything from their site by this (part of their extended privacy information on the site):

"This process is only intended to remove information available through Spokeo.com and cannot remove the information from the third-party public sources, such as phone books."

So if I am reading that properly they are saying that they remove the information available from their site. Of course it would not delete the other information that is out there. Of course they are advocating a reputation service on their privacy/opt out page so they will want you to be concerned about the information being elsewhere.

Hope this helps!

Joe

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

@asfgasdg Yeah, I'm pretty sure the foot and a half of snow that showed in the photo when I looked has been there all year. Thanks for the comment.

3HatsComm
3HatsComm

@ginidietrich Please do, I've already shared this with someone, this is just some scary stuff.

hackmanj
hackmanj

@microfud @rhcherokeej Interesting point, an easy work around is to use a alias that you can easily delete later or a "junk" email account that you rarely use. Nice thinking!

microfud
microfud

@rhcherokeej makes sense to me. That's why I didn't delete the page. Nothing prevents this company from turning around and selling the e-mail address to some other company. Seems like this web page is just the honey used to attract the flies (us users and our data).

Trackbacks

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