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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