General Question

DarlingRhadamanthus's avatar

Spokeo.Com: Stealing our identities/financial info without permission. What to do?

Asked by DarlingRhadamanthus (11266points) January 29th, 2011

I got an email from a friend who said for me to go to Spokeo.com to check to see if I was listed. I am not even on Facebook or any other “social media” network….and I was listed anyway. My address, how much money I made, my address, what the house I lived in was worth, my age, my family, that I had one child…incredibly invasive stuff! Our information is being sold for a few dollars to anyone…including financial information.

I know some of you don’t care….but I do. I feel that this is obtrusive and it feels like a violation. I don’t have anything to hide, but I guard my privacy, especially in this age. As I said, I don’t Tweet or Facebook or do anything like that….for the same reason.

Can someone please tell me how to get rid of my information…apparently, there IS a way to delete my profile?

Thank you.

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21 Answers

jca's avatar

you can follow the directions on the site and it will remove your info. i did it a few weeks ago. i was shocked when i saw the site and the info on it. i think everyone should go there and look themselves up.

YARNLADY's avatar

Don’t go back to the site for any purpose, including deleting. You will just let them know you are there. Stop going there, and never let it on your computer again.

DarlingRhadamanthus's avatar

@YARNLADY….What do you mean, don’t go back on the site? You have to go there to delete the profile. Can you explain what you mean?

I just deleted it. (I hope I did…it said I did.)

I hope anyone else reading this….can continue this thread…with more information. I am bristling at the gall of this….really.

DarlingRhadamanthus's avatar

Well… I just realized (as I saw a past question) that I did join Facebook…I had forgotten that. I joined simply to get my name on the list so that someone else wouldn’t use my name. Sheesh. This is so ridiculous. I suppose that just with my basic address on Facebook (I kept everything private——ignoring friends and not adding anything to my page) they still got information on me.

This is totally Orwellian.

mrentropy's avatar

Spokeo has been under fire for what they do, which is why you can delete your information from their site.

The funny thing is, everything they get is publicly available; they just pull the data together.

mrentropy's avatar

@DarlingRhadamanthus It’s not just Facebook, and it can’t get to information you have hidden on Facebook. If you know where to look you can find out all the same information that Spokeo gets.

Just the other day I was looking up a friend of mine and found out the last three places he lived and how much he paid for the houses and who lived there before he did. Without Spokeo.

jca's avatar

@DarlingRhadamanthus : I don’t think it’s from FB. FB does not have my home address. Spokeo has my previous addresses, which were prior to my joining FB. Like @mrentropy said, it’s all info that’s out there in different places, they just pull it together into one scary place.

JustJessica's avatar

I just went and searched my name, and all of their info is dated. Nothing recent at all. And considerably inaccurate!!!

jaytkay's avatar

They are not stealing anything. At some point, you made all the information public.

JustJessica's avatar

It was just like looking up and old, listed number in the phone book 10 years ago.

DarlingRhadamanthus's avatar

Thanks everyone…@jca, @mrentropy, @YARNLADY….thanks for your input. I appreciate it.

@jaytkay…I made the information public???? Excuse me….one has to fill out forms…..To pay your taxes, to sign up with social security, to get a job?? I did not give out the information for some nut-case to stalk me or find a way to steal my identity. That wasn’t part of the deal. When did we lose the plot as a nation? When did it just not matter anymore if someone is peering through your window? Is your argument then: “Oh, well, you have a window after all?” Unbelievable! That’s exactly what they want us to be…totally desensitized. And it apparently is working.

@JustJessica…My information was still recent. A lot of people who actually live in the same house (a lot of our parents, for example) for years are sitting ducks.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@DarlingRhadamanthus I think @YARNLADY‘s advice might be based on the suspicion that Spokeo is actually a scam to gather e-mail addresses and sell privacy services (thus going to their site plays right into their hands), whereas @jaytkay was noting that Spokeo is just an aggregator that collects information that’s already published elsewhere on the web (though not necessarily on purpose). That might not be comforting, but both points are worth mentioning.

Megan64's avatar

Just went through and deleted myself off of the site, and then looked at all the links they had to me and made those private too. Thanks for the heads up.

jaytkay's avatar

@DarlingRhadamanthus Nobody is making your tax, social security and job application records public.

Nullo's avatar

You can remove your info. Alternately, you can declare war on them. I like the ‘war’ option here.

In the future, be sure to only make junk data public.

I, for instance, turn up on Facebook residing in Myanmar. I wanted it to be Hong Kong Luna, or else Tycho Under, but they went and put a real-cities-only restriction.

DarlingRhadamanthus's avatar

@jaytkay…I realize that. That’s not my point. You have to report the value of your house, where you live, your dependents…..to the government or other agencies. That should NOT be public for any old sod to look up. Why would I want my chiropodist, or the guy down the street to know how much I earn? Isn’t that between me, my boss and the IRS? And maybe my accountant? Do I want my children to be listed? And their ages? And names? So they can be targeted by the neighborhood sex offender? (They have a little family tree on there with the names and ages of children in each household.) That is creepy.

By the way, that was a rhetorical question. No answer is needed. Thanks.

Obviously @jaytkay you don’t have an issue with loss of privacy. That’s fine.

I do.

jaytkay's avatar

Property records have been public for centuries. If you want your name off them, you can set up a land trust.
http://legalwiz.com/landtrusts/

jca's avatar

On Spokeo, my info was current, and it also had past addresses and phone numbers. I deleted it. don’t remember seeing if it had age of my child. that i would not like. The other thing that was annoying was that my current phone number is unlisted, yet it was still there.

You know what is another info gathering method? when you purchase a product and they have the little warranty card in the box. they give you the impression (wrong impression BTW) that if you don’t fill out the card, your warranty is not valid. card will have questions like “household income” “number of people in your household” etc. Don’t fill those cards out!! Warranty is still valid without filling those out. Those are just a way for the company to gather info about the types of customers it has, for marketing purposes.

Silence04's avatar

FYI, you have been profiled way more than the info on that website!!! Retailers alone, know everything About you just based in items you purchase in their stores, same with credit card companies.. They sell that data to others just the same. There is an entire gov’t agency that just compiles information about every single American with a tax id number.

Silence04's avatar

Deleting your information on that site won’t change anything because that info can just as easily be compiled from your public records…

jaytkay's avatar

Deleting your information on that site won’t change anything because that info can just as easily be compiled from your public records…

But as @jca wrote, “they just pull it together into one scary place”.

I sometimes have to hunt down people for work and the aggregating sites sometimes speed up the process immensely.

On the other hand, they also deliver a ton of out-dated info. So you kind of have your own CIA-style disinformation campaign in place.

P.S. I only us my powers for good, people are actually glad when I find them

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