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Feb 23

What You Can and Can’t Do with Spokeo: Separating Fact From Fiction

by Patrick • February 23, 2012

Hype and Myths, Spokeo in the News

Spokeo Hedgehog

If you’ve been paying attention to this blog in recent months, you’ll know that we’ve been adding cool new features to our site at a dizzying rate. (Have you tried out our Famous People search feature yet? No? Get searching!) While we pride ourselves on providing the public with a powerful tool to reconnect with old friends and classmates, find lost family members, expose fraudsters and more, with power comes responsibility. Spokeo takes federal and state privacy guidelines very seriously, and we work closely with regulators to ensure that our product continues to not only be useful, but safe.

So while there are tons of awesome things you can do with Spokeo’s people search engine, there are certain things that you should not do. As the disclaimer (found in each individual profile) reads, “Spokeo does not possess or have access to secure or private financial information. Spokeo is not a credit reporting agency and does not offer consumer reports. None of the information offered by Spokeo is to be considered for purposes of determining any entity or person’s eligibility for credit, insurance, employment, or for any other purposes covered under the FCRA.” In other words, you cannot use Spokeo for the purposes of tenant screening, credit checks, or employee background checks. Contrary to what the New York Times has reported, Spokeo does not market to HR recruiters.

We here at Spokeo are dedicated to providing a service that provides a benefit to society, and so we feel it’s important to make this information very clear, especially so when we’re newsworthy enough appear in the pages of major publications like the New York Times and Time magazine. Feel free to contact us anytime if you have any questions – we’d love to hear from you!

(For a more in-depth and more boring version of this blog post, please feel free to take a look at our Terms of Use.)

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4 Responses to What You Can and Can’t Do with Spokeo: Separating Fact From Fiction

  1. Lisa Charland says: Jul 9th, 2012

    Does your site put victims of domestic violence at risk? If I am a victim of domestic violence trying to evade my abuser, how do I remove my name and location from this site or prevent it from getting on this site? Thank you.

  2. Katie says: Jul 9th, 2012

    Hi Lisa, Spokeo data consists of publicly available online and offline information. If anyone is worried about his or her safety, he or she can easily remove the information from our site. You just need to visit the privacy page on our website. If you have any trouble removing it, you can call our customer service line at 1-877-913-3088. Please note that opting out of our site does not remove your information from the original source or off of other people search engines. Here are some helpful resources from the National Network to End Domestic Violence regarding internet privacy and safety: http://nnedv.org/resources/safetynetdocs/419-privacy-considerations-when-posting-content-online.html and http://nnedv.org/resources/safetynetdocs/972-the-new-age-of-stalking-technological-implications-for-stalking.html.

  3. k.s. says: May 3rd, 2013

    that is really helpful, thanks for posting the woman’s name!
    i tried to contact you two weeks ago with the same question and received NO ANSWER.
    you have my email, pictures my kids posted on fb even though use have privacy settings, our amazon account(!) our address, phone numbers…. i didn’t even know about this site so this info has been public without my permission. this is disgusting that you would be allowed to do this, threatening peoples’ lives who have tried to keep their information private (people who work with criminals, mentally disturbed or recovering from abusive domestic situations), and not even inform them it was happening and they were vulnerable. We have used the privacy settings on every other site but you just ran right over it. do you also give our passwords away so they can read our emails and bank accounts?

  4. Vanessa says: May 14th, 2013

    Hello KS, we respect your privacy interests. Spokeo organizes publicly available information from phone books, social networks, marketing surveys, real estate listings, and other public sources. This third-party data is then indexed through methods similar to those used by Google or Bing to create a listing. For additional information please read our full privacy policy: http://www.spokeo.com/privacy/terms. You may opt our your listing from our privacy page: http://www.spokeo.com/optout, or you can contact customer support at support@spokeo.com and provide your listing so they can opt it out for you. Thank you.

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