|Spokeo’s adorable and cunning mascot.|
Is it just me, or does Spokeo.com remind you of your friendly neighborhood stalker? Yesterday, I was researching a business owner in a civil case, and he popped right up on Spokeo, with all kinds of rather personal information breezily displayed, including his home address, a photo of his residence, its value, and his alleged hobbies. I immediately wigged out and checked to see if a picture of my house is on Spokeo. No. Not yet.
Then I checked to see if one of my supervising attorneys, a fellow social media enthusiast, was listed on Spokeo, and she isn’t. She said she blocked it. I thought it was no big deal, but then after 24 hours of experiencing repeated cold chills (PTSMD or Post Traumatic Social Media Disorder) about the freaky Spokeo profile, I decided to take action. Sure, a little digital digging can land you a photo of any mortgage holder’s digs via Google Earth, but to have all that personal information publicly delivered in one handy-dandy dossier any stalker would envy is a little on the overkill side.
Several sites list instructions for removing your Spokeo listing, but I used the simple instructions shared by Refractor:
1) Visit http://spokeo.com
2) Search for your name
3) Click on your listing in the table or the map
4) Copy the page URL once the info box appears
5) Scroll to the bottom of the page and click “privacy”
6) Paste the URL in the appropriate box, enter your email and the code, and click enter
7) Check your email to click or copy/past the confirmation link (They require this so that you don’t remove other people’s listings)
Of note, my listing wasn’t under my nickname that I use professionally, but under my full name that my mother put on my birth certificate, and no one but her ever used. There wasn’t a picture of my house, but its value was flatteringly over-inflated. Since I wasn’t willing to pay for access, I’ll just have to wonder forever what Spokeo thinks my hobbies are.
Also, you’ll need a magnifying glass to see Spokeo’s teeny-tiny privacy option at the bottom of your computer screen:
But just to throw another Spokeo profiler off, I like cats with nervous stomachs, reading books about the history of the internal combustion engine, and collecting used Reeboks high tops.
Also, to present Spokeo’s side of the story, I’m another victim of fear-mongering (not true, I got spooked entirely on my own), and its aggregation of our publicly-accessible information is nothing to be afraid of.
Still, I want any potential stalkers to have to dig a little.