Learn how to complete the Spokeo opt out process with our step-by-step guide below.
Like so many other people finder search engines, Spokeo allows users to enter basic information (first and last name) in order to look up people and access information about the person. Spokeo was started from humble beginnings in 2006 and boasts to have over 20 million visitors on a monthly basis. People who use their search engine have access to over 12 billion records culled from over 1,000 data sources, and their information is updated periodically.
Spokeo, using a variety of search options, can provide information such as listing full names, email addresses, current address and previous addresses on file, usernames from social media accounts, telephone and mobile phone numbers, and more. Since the information on file is in the public records, they are, like most other sites operating similarly, not violating any local, state, or federal laws.
Spokeo offers basic search results free of charge. This includes the city and state, age, any known relatives, and known addresses (including past addresses) of the individual inserted into their search engine. To access any of Spokeo’s advanced search results will require a payment, the amount determined by the information requested.
If you were to search your own first and last name, you’re likely to find a page containing a lot of private information about yourself that perhaps you weren’t aware was so easily and readily accessed. You may decide that you would prefer this information not be associated with this site, or any other, in order to protect your online privacy. You can opt out by following a set of instructions for having this information removed, which is provided by the website. We will discuss this in detail later in the article.
What is A Data Broker?
A Data Broker is essentially a business that aggregates, or gathers information from a variety of sources for their data broker website. Once the information is processed they then license it to other organizations that offer it to law enforcement and other state agencies, as well as individuals, usually for a fee, depending on the extensiveness of the information requested.
Data brokers can also license another company’s data directly, or they may process another organization’s data in order to provide them with more enhanced results. Data is typically accessed via an application programming interface (API), and generally involves a subscription contract of some type. Data typically is then licensed for particular or limited uses. This allows them to profit from the information they provide as a service.
There are literally hundreds of other data brokers besides Spokeo, providing this service to multiple sources, so the information about virtually anyone is available all over the internet. Sites like LexisNexis, CheckPeople, Nuwber, and Radaris are some of the most popular people search sites. Availability of personal data is a questionable practice, as most people would prefer private details not be so easily accessed by strangers using a people search platform.
Who Uses Spokeo?
Who is using Spokeo? The short answer is that the site is used by everyone interested in information gathering. This includes law enforcement, employers, everyday people, as well as criminals that are probably attempting to gain access to private or confidential materials. This is a common tool used by identity thieves. Courts and government agencies, including local, state, and federal, are increasingly making public records available on various websites. This allows citizens access to public records as a way of monitoring the official actions taken by the government.
This means by using these search engines, you can then have access to a slew of information about a person, including:
- Motor vehicle records
- Property tax accessor files
- Registered voter files
- Professional/business licenses
- Tax liens and judgments
- Bankruptcy files
- Criminal arrest and conviction records, and warrants
- Civil court recordings and other court records
Spokeo does not grant access to certain personal info, such as a person’s private call logs, or text messages, email accounts, private profiles, or private blogs. This personal Info should not appear in any spokeo listing.
Is Spokeo Safe?
Spokeo has received many positive reviews and also has garnered a few awards, including Technology Company of the Year by the Asian Business Association. Like most people search sites, when used appropriately it can be a vital tool for finding people, such as long lost friends or relatives. Other legitimate uses include:
- Look up of unknown callers based on a phone number
- Research information about a person you are dating or planning to date
- Check information about a new business partner
- Gain knowledge about a new neighborhood you’re moving to, or
- To reconnect with lost family and friends
The search engine should not be used for the following purposes:
- Making credit checks
- Doing tenant background checks
- For screening employees
- Insurance screening, or
- Any purpose specified in the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)
In most states, this is illegal or frowned upon, as California would deem this as a violation of the California consumer privacy act aimed at protecting California residents.
Am I On Spokeo?
The short answer is yes. because you exist, your information, as stated above, is a matter of public record. They can gain access to your personal info from any number of sources, including government records, DMV reports, social media profiles, and the list goes on. They do not need your permission to put this information on their website, but they must, by law, remove all the info you request and should notify you once the process is complete.
How Does A Person Opt Out of Spokeo?
A lot of people would prefer their personal data not to be made available on any public site. But removing yourself from all websites that act as a person finder site is virtually impossible, not to mention it is also a time-consuming process.
Still, you have to start somewhere. Once you determine that you are on Spokeo, you should search to see just what personal information and other personal details they provide on you. They do have a fairly simple process to opt out of their website.
You can contact the webmaster and request the information be removed, or you can follow instructions on how to opt out on your own. Once you submit your Spokeo opt-out request, you should return to your profile page and see what information, if any, is still available. The removal process is fairly simple, and takes six simple steps to complete.
How to remove yourself from Spokeo
To remove your info from Spokeo, you have to find your listing and copy the URL first. Then go to the Spokeo opt-out page and paste the URL into the form. Next, navigate to Spokeo’s homepage:
- In the text box provided, enter your full name
- Spokeo will take a short amount of time to aggregate results
- Then find your name on their list
- This will bring you to your public info profile
- Go to the Remove Listing page, which you can find using the link provided
Once completed, refresh your computer and check to see if the information on you still exists.
Why Can’t I Remove My Information from Spokeo?
So you have completed the Spokeo opt-out, but you find the information is still on the Spokeo site. As stated on their website, “your privacy is important to us.” Please follow these instructions to once again remove your information from Spokeo:
- 1. Locate the listing and right-click on the exact report you wish to remove
- Get the report’s “URL” by selecting “copy link address” from the drop-down menu
- Click the link provided to be directed to their opt-out page
- Right-click on the box that says “enter URL here,” and hit paste
- Provide your email address (this is used for verification of the listing removal)
- Select “I’m not a robot” and select the requested photos or enter the verification code
- Check your inbox for the confirmation email and click on the link at the bottom
At this point, the process should be complete. If you’re still having difficulty with the Spokeo opt out, please contact their customer care privacy team for assistance with your Spokeo listing removal at email@example.com. Please include the “URLs” for all listings to be removed from public view.
Other websites that provide your personal data on their people search websites may provide a URL link, online form, or opt-out form to remove your private information. They should also have a verification link or confirmation link letting you know that your request was fulfilled. You can then return to the site and view details to determine if your own record has been expunged as promised. Simply go to the profile URL and see what information, if any, is still there on public display.
Enlist the Aid of an ORM
If you find the removal process a bit daunting, you may want to enlist the help of an Online Reputation Management firm (ORM) to help with the process of having your personal information taken down from websites like Spokeo. They have trained personnel that will do a thorough job of helping to ensure that any information you want to be removed is taken care of in a timely manner. They will charge a reasonable fee for their services, but it keeps you from taking valuable time out of your day dealing with these processes, which can be quite time-consuming.