Monday, May 3, 2010

We Interrupt Our Regularly Scheduled Blog For An Important PSA

A friend of mine, who is a coroner's investigator, and who has been in law enforcement for fifteen years or so tipped me off to this website, http://www.spokeo.com/.
Spokeo compiles all public information and makes it available via the internet.  Their slogan: "Not your grandma's phone book."  They're right; it's not your grandma's phone book - this is super scary.  Since they compile information from public sources, they have a scary amount of information out there.  You can search by name, email address, phone number, etc.  If you don't want your name out there on Spokeo, you can have it removed, which I encourage all of you to do.

To remove your information:
  • Search your name on Spokeo
  • If there are multiple people with your name, choose the correct one.  When the file opens, your personal URL will appear in the URL box at the very top of the screen.
  • Click on your URL to highlight it and then copy it (either right-mouse-click copy or Ctrl+C)
  • On the bottom of the screen, look for the word "Privacy" in small grey letters.
  • Click on "Privacy", a new window will open up.
  • Scroll to the bottom of the new window and paste your URL (either right-mouse-click paste or Ctrl+V)
  • Fill in your email address (for them to send the confirmation email)
  • Complete the word verification
  • Don't worry when the screen pops back up with a different word verification - I kept thinking that it hadn't gone through and filled it out about a million times.  It worked the first time and then I had a million confirmation emails to delete :)
  • After you've completed the steps, you can close the privacy window.
  • I then checked my email, completed the confirmation email and performed the search again on Spokeo.  I had, indeed, been removed.
  • Note:  there may be muliple "yous" in the system.  I had two, a friend of mine had three.  Search by name, phone number, email to make sure you've removed all of the "yous" from the system.  Be sure to have your children do this as well.
I have to tell you, sites like this scare the hell out of me, especially after having been stalked.  I refuse to hide forever (heck, I've got three blogs, a FB and a MySpace account), but I will do whatever I can to limit the amount of personal information that is readily available.

Verified via Snopes: http://www.snopes.com/computer/internet/spokeo.asp

4 comments:

Linda Medrano said...

The amount of info out there is scary! I'm not on this one, but I'll keep checking. The part that I don't like is we do it to ourselves in a lot of cases. The Facebook thing, the twitters, etc. And I even use my own name! Damn!

Michelle Hoad said...

Holy Crapola! I deleted me, my husband and even one of my kids were on there. And the info was wrong, anyways. It says my house is worth over a million. I WISH!

Candance said...

Thank you for this! I had like three different listings and I deleted them all, starting with the one that said I'm in my 40's. I AM NOT in my forties. Yet. I have over five years. Bastards.

vinomom said...

It found me my street name and everything! At least to get the real info you have to pay - random curious people probably aren't going to do that. Stalkers sure might though!

I was also glad to see my blog didn't show up. None of them are registered under my name or personal email so at least thats semi-safe!