Spokeo.com | Scam or search engine?

Wednesday, April 7th, 2010 By

Social Networks

How would you feel about one search engine combining all of your social networks? Image from Flickr.

Spokeo.com claims to do something very simple: aggregate all the publicly available information about a person and sell it to anyone who is willing to pay with payday loans or otherwise. Many are asking if it’s a Spokeo.com scam, or if Spokeo really does offer a legitimate service. The answer is … sort of. “Spokeo.com is a scam” isn’t entirely true, but the functionality of Spokeo isn’t necessarily entirely legitimate.

What Spokeo.com offers

Spokeo.com itself is a search engine that aggregates social networking information. Any information considered public on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Ning, Netflix, Flickr, Last.fm or any other network is aggregated using the Spokeo.com search. The aggregator matches the information it gathers with an e-mail address. Spokeo.com then sells the information it aggregates to anybody who gets payday loans no faxing or any other financing to pay for the information.

Spokeo.com scam?

There have been many allegations that Spokeo.com Scam might be a better name for the company. Spokeo.com itself states in its privacy policy that it only gathers publicly available information. Independent tests by snopes.com and news services have found that the opt-out process on Spokeo.com is spotty. Spokeo.com scam whistle-blowers also claim that Spokeo.com scam billing processes are of concern.

The response of Spokeo.com to scam allegations is that company heads are “just launching a new version of Spokeo and are reviewing policies and algorithms.”

Keeping social networking information safe from Spokeo

The spookiest thing about Spokeo.com, scam or not, is that it aggregates information on the internet you may or may not want shared. More important than which web sites like Spokeo.com might be aggregating your information is what you choose to share. If available, set your privacy settings to a level you are comfortable with.

Spokeo.com is an aggregator – so be sure to remove information you do not want public from the original web site where the information was available. Beyond protecting yourself from the potential Spokeo.com scam, it is just good practice in protecting yourself online.

Sources

Snopes.com
Pandia Search Engine News
Spokio.com blog

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This post has 16 comments

  1. nikki says:

    these kind of sites will get someone hurt or killed i understand if it is for employment purposes or collection purposes but for the general public i believe it should be against the friggin law for sites to do this.. so lets just say someone is trying to get out of an abusive situation and then person they are trying to get away from tracks them down by finding the information on this site?? not smart is it? could really hurt someone.. think people think!

  2. sorry4lucklairs says:

    you mat have about 5% of your information close to being right but your app SUXs

  3. Fakes R Us says:

    SPOKEO is nothing but a fake information site that the facts can be add by any one about " ANYONE "

  4. harry says:

    how do i find out the name :
    Joshua S. Delatorre
    from your search engine?
    please help!
    Tks!

    • harry says:

      i don't need to appear publicly,
      just need to know how to find out or which application from your search engine for the name i gave to you?

  5. Rod Roberts says:

    Their information clearly is substantially out-of-date or completely incorrect for a lot of people. They showed me as living at my ex-wife's address, w/ her land-line as my primary phone number, then concocted a name for my "room mate" out of parts of my first daughter's name, and identifying that "roommate" as another male, close to MY age. What worries me now is that I may start receiving even more spam @ my email address because I needed to give it to them in order to have my listing removed. Fortunately, I was able to do that W/OUT disclosing any passwords or other personally identifying info. And my email service provider has a pretty effective spam filter which keeps most of the junk out of my inbox. Plus, as with a lot of people, I have multiple email addresses … such as the one I'm showing in order to post this comment. Protecting your own privacy isn't really all that hard; it simply requires a willingness to take a few common sense steps to do it.

  6. Jackie says:

    oooohh They are real good!!! got me llsted as a married FEMALE. and then my wifes name. She sure was supprised to find out I am a FEMALE……name ph# address… all in the phone book nothing else was correct

  7. Margarette says:

    This is definately a scam… What what they do with YOUR information. You can find the same results on Google with a little research for free. Don't buy into this rip off site. NOT RECOMMENDED

  8. gESS Hoo;) says:

    BTW … does George Clooney know he's on this site?

  9. gESS Hoo;) says:

    Spokeo DOT com will "aggregate all the publicly available information about a person and sell it to anyone who is willing to pay with payday loans or otherwise … " … i think "AGGRAVATE" is a better word, too funny, these folks are desparate for a buck, good luck ;)) … the pathetic is that they thrive on comments similar to my own and other folk's remarks, but the enlightening factor is the majority will be removing their listing, and again, very humorous, good techie vs. lame techie, no big deal. People, it's very easy to remove your listing, and though you can't win against the fool geek to completely remain private, it's best to turn the other cheek and live life to the better advantage, do what you can to eliminate the mass pessimist beyond the Internet, life in its natural form truly does exist, take heed to the advice, xx

  10. Cody says:

    I checked out the info that they offered on the site that was supposed to be mine. They had very few correct pieces of info, the rest they pulled out of their *ss, because it was nowhere close to being right. Hell, they posted someone's picture as me and I have no clue who it is. Scam, I would say so. There is no yelling what kind of a hodgepodge of junk they are throwing together on people and trying to peddle it as valid information. My advice, steer clear.

  11. Rick Cain says:

    Its a scam. It asks you for your email password to conduct a "contacts search". No legitimate site would ever ask you outright to supply an email password. Thats basically handing over your family jewels for them to stomp on.

    Stay away from it.

    • Steven Tarlow says:

      Yeah, I came across Spokeo a while back and would have used it if not for the E-mail password requirement. That's ridiculous.

      There are all kinds of background check and reverse directory-type Web sites that lead you through the process of entering in data about who you seek. In the end, they always give you a teasing bit of info, then try to get you to pay for more, usually on a subscription model. 99.9% of that is bogus, I'm sure.

  12. Franrose says:

    I'm sorry, but it doesn't sound too legit to me. I certainly don't like the idea of this company making money off of things I personally make available to the public. It's made public for a reason, specifically for sharing purposes. What gives someone the right to take that information and sell it? If anything, it should be the actual owner making the money. You know, not too long ago there were rumors that Facebook was going to be doing the exact same thing. I seriously almost shut my account down because of it. I mean, what the heck is going on in the minds of people these days? Are they seriously running out of ideas on ways to make money?

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