This post was last updated on October 1st, 2020 at 06:16 pm
Don’t let your private info fall into the wrong hands. Spokeo is one of the more common data brokers on the web that is buying and selling your information online – this is putting your privacy at risk. Safeguard your privacy with our Protect Private Info feature that opts you out of Spokeo and 25+ data brokers just like it.
We hear from tons of people who have questions on how to safely and quickly secure a Spokeo opt out.
When it comes to the information available about individuals online, everyone has different comfort levels with what’s out there. Despite this, the negatives tend to outweigh the positives in these situations. This is why knowing how to opt out of Spokeo is so important.
Although Spokeo publishes aggregate data that is publicly available about people online, they know that many will find it somewhat disturbing to have this all in one place. Because of that, the site allows individuals to request data removal (aka an opt out) from the site.
The Spokeo opt out process
If you prefer to manually remove information from Spokeo, then follow the steps outlined below.
Follow the steps below to go through the Spokeo opt out process without any issues:
1. Go to Spokeo.com.
2. Enter your full name into the search bar and click “Search Now.”
3. Sit tight while the system gathers results for your name.
4. Browse the list of search results. Once you identify the record with your name, click “See results.”
5. Copy the listing URL to your clipboard.
6. Click here to go directly to the Spokeo opt out page.
7. Check your email. Click the link in the body of the confirmation email.
8. This completes the Spokeo opt out process. It can take 2-3 days for the information to be removed from the website.
What to do next:
After going through the Spokeo opt out process, you still have more work to do.
Remove your info from other data brokers
While it’s great that this listing will no longer appear on Spokeo, most of it is still publicly available elsewhere, probably not all in the same place. There are hundreds of other popular sites just like this that exist right now. This means that they likely have some piece of information on you as well, and it’s up to you to take action.
To make things easy, our privacy protection software highlights the most popular companies that are similar to Spokeo. Not only that, but it shows you the specific opt out process for each of the sites so you can quickly protect yourself without having to dig through each site (some of them can be a huge pain to figure out).
You can also use it to scan your results and help you easily start searching your name (on Google or another search engine) for more private details you don’t want to be found. Once you’ve gathered a list of potential culprits, follow their respective rules for removal.
Keep an eye on Spokeo to ensure your info doesn’t repopulate
Why? Your information could still appear on Spokeo in the future. While Spokeo will not simply re-post what you’ve removed, they periodically pull information, so if there is new information associated with your name, there is a good chance that this will appear on their site down the road.
The reason for this is that their software is great at finding data, but not at differentiating between different people. This means that if it discovers a new detail about you that wasn’t on your old account before you went through the Spokeo opt out steps, it could very well add it to their database thinking it’s a completely new person.
It can be extremely frustrating when you went through the removal process only to find another listing a couple months down the line, but it’s unfortunately quite common. This is why we strongly recommend that you add in a more sustainable strategy to go along with the Spokeo opt out process.
Take full control of your online presence
While going through the Spokeo opt out steps (and ones on comparable databases) is a great way to keep private information – well – private, it’s not guaranteed to last forever (or at all – depending on the site removal policies).
Luckily, there is an alternative solution to play defense and keep people from seeing it when they search your name online. This method takes into account the behavior that most people exhibit when looking up someone else online, and uses it to your advantage.
While sites like Spokeo are very popular, most of the people who visit them actually come from search engines (primarily Google). This means that instead of only spending time repeatedly opting out of these sites, you can start one step further in the chain of action to have a more lasting affect.
By preventing other people from easily finding sites like Spokeo when they search your name online, you can keep them from discovering the details you want to keep private even when a new listing appears on the site.
So how is this done?
The technique that we’re referring to is called “suppression” and it’s extremely effective in situations like this. The reason for that is 99% of the people that use a search engine never make it to the second page. If you can bump sites like Spokeo into that area then you’re going to drastically reduce the number of eyes on your listing.
With so many other similar companies in existence, it would become very time-consuming to monitor and opt out of each and every one of them indefinitely (that really sounds like a nightmare). If you control your search results this gives you the luxury of not being stuck on this hamster wheel.
So, what is Spokeo anyway?
Spokeo is an online database that aggregates information about people from multiple sources elsewhere on the web so users can easily find this sort of data in one place. It’s not the first site to do this actually. There are hundreds of them out there that all pull from very similar sources of data.
You have some that are general people searching sites like Whitepages, and you have others that specialize in certain types of information like OkCaller. These are just a couple of the more popular ones, there are dozens of new sites just like Spokeo being created each day!
How does it get your information?
This is one of the areas about Spokeo that many people don’t understand. Because of this, they become nervous and sometimes assume that the site is getting access to their information in ways that are not ethical or legal.
Before we continue, let’s address this misconception directly. Spokeo isn’t breaking the law by finding or sharing your information. You might not like that they do this (you’re definitely not alone), but they are within their legal right to do so.
The same goes for any other similar websites as well, and as long as they are allowed to do this they will continue to do so. This is why going through the Spokeo opt out process is absolutely crucial if you want to prevent others from accessing any sensitive details.
So how does Spokeo get your info?
The site uses various forms of web scraping software to find and aggregate all of the information you find on the site. They pull from public records, other people search websites, anywhere they can find more information about you to add to their database.
Some are surprised by this, but there is plenty of information about you that can legally be found by accessing public records. This is typically the starting point for a site like Spokeo and then they will try other sources to help build up their site with more and more info about you.
No personal information on Spokeo is original research, so if you find it on the site that means it is also somewhere else. This means it’s important to secure a Spokeo opt out, but you need to be aware of other sites as well as your general privacy protection online.
However, there is an upside. Even though they are legally allowed to publish what they have on their site, they are also legally obligated to fulfill any request for removal.
Because of this, when you go through the Spokeo opt out steps they HAVE to remove your information from the site. We will get into the actual steps in a moment but it’s definitely worth noting that you actually have the legal upper hand in this situation.
Why is it an issue?
While search results from Spokeo may feel troublesome for some more than others, there’s no denying that your search results matter. No matter what your profession, You are being looked up online by others. From business partners to potential customers to dates and coworkers – someone is googling your name!
This means if your name, phone number, or address is floating around online there’s a good chance it will be found.
With sites like Spokeo in the mix, it only gets easier for someone to come across this information. This is one of the most common reasons why people want to go through the Spokeo opt out procedure.
The vast majority don’t want their address, phone number, or names of family members available for anyone to find. It’s an uncomfortable notion and how easy it can be done makes it borderline disturbing.
While some might argue that it’s simply aggregating information that anyone could find anyway, it’s not that simple. The barrier of entry argument is one that we often cite in this situation.
It takes far more effort and understanding of the system to access public records and whoever does this has to be very motivated to do so. When you can simply look up someone online and find all of this in five seconds, it significantly widens the range of people who might see it.
Not only this, but this information can be scraped in bulk from malicious spam websites and used for any number of things. Scams, identify theft, credit card theft, it’s all on the table. Being able to access a significant amount of this information with less friction makes it easier for criminals to make these attempts.
In addition to the security concerns, there’s another reason to take Spokeo listings seriously. By diluting your online footprint with information that doesn’t benefit a professional searcher you can hurt your online reputation significantly.
The data supports how important your online reputation is – especially when it comes to your professional life. Nearly half (42%) of the online U.S. adults that looked somebody up in a search engine, did so before deciding to do business with them (2012 BrandYourself/Harris Interactive study). This makes understanding how to opt out of Spokeo even more important.
This can have a staggering impact on your career – for better or for worse. So instead of greeting a potential colleague, employee or employer with your birthday and home phone number, make sure that they see relevant information about you. This makes the Spokeo opt out process very important for many people.
Spokeo & The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA )
Implemented this year, the California Consumer Privacy Act aims to protect the online privacy of California residents and is putting data brokers like Spokeo on alert. The law dictates that California residents have the right to not only have access to what information is being retained about them, but also the right to have it removed from databases and prevented from being sold.
Many data brokers are addressing the law specifically on their website and Spokeo is no different. There is a dedicated space on the Spokeo website for CA residents to begin the removal request process.
The wrap up
When dealing with exposed information on sites like Spokeo, simply aiming for removal isn’t enough. You need to create a presence to replace and overwhelm the information that you can’t control and don’t want others to see.
If you want to use our tools and services to help guarantee the Spokeo opt out procedure goes smoothly, visit the pages below:
Our reputation management software: Walks you through the process of monitoring and improving your online presence yourself with a number of features to help you understand how you look now and what steps you should take to improve. (Our standard tool is free, and the premium version costs $99 per year for added features and access).
Online reputation management services: Put you together with a team of BrandYourself-certified Reputation Specialists who handle the work for you. This includes extracting your personal brand (what you want people to know about you), building high-quality websites and profiles, and consistently publishing well-branded content on your behalf.