We hear from tons of people who have questions on how to safely and quickly secure a Spokeo opt out.
Don’t worry, understanding how to opt out of Spokeo isn’t that difficult.
However, you definitely want to be sure you do it right.
First we’ll go over how Spokeo got your information in the first place. It’s helpful to know so you can protect your online presence more effectively.
Then, we’ll cover the opt out procedure in full detail.
What is Spokeo?
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 sometime 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.
How to opt out of Spokeo
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.
Like we mentioned earlier, they legally have to accept this request. Fortunately since they are one of the larger sites in this industry, there is rarely an issue with this process. We have advised thousands of people on how to complete the Spokeo opt out steps correctly, and they all find success.
The full Spokeo opt out procedure
If you prefer to keep the kind of information mentioned above private, you’re in luck. While removing your private information from Spokeo does not mean that other sites will also follow suite, it’s a start.
Follow the steps below to go through the Spokeo opt out process without any issues:
- Create an email address that doesn’t include your name or any personal information. You will receive a confirmation at the end of the process and need to click the included link to verify your removal request. Consider creating a gmail, gmx or guerilla mail account to use in conjunction with the removal process. Remember, guerrilla mail accounts are temporary, so respond to the confirmation email immediately.
- Visit spokeo.com and search for your name. Make sure to search for variations of your name including nicknames, maiden names, professional names and even spouse names.
- Click on the results that relate to you. Initially Spokeo will filter search results for your name by state. Start the process by selecting the state where you currently live, and choose your street.
- Once you’ve clicked through this result and selected your current address, copy the URL of thepage that shows all of the information associated with this person/location.
- From here, scroll to the very bottom of the page and choose “Privacy”. Again, skip down to the bottom of the page and select the “Opt Out” form. This is where you can start the Spokeo opt out process.
- Once you’ve found the Opt Out form, paste your listing’s profile URL into the appropriate text box, then type your new email address (which you don’t normally use, and doesn’t share any information about you) in the other textbox. Don’t forget to check and fill out the CAPTCHA box. When you finish, click, “Remove this listing” at the bottom of the page.
- If everything worked, when you check your inbox, you should find a confirmation email from Spokeo – make sure to check your Spam folder if you don’t see it in your primary inbox.
- Open that email, click the link and confirm that you want to remove this listing.
- Repeat as needed for listings of other places you’ve lived. Keep in mind that you will be limited to 5 removals at a time.
The next step
After going through the Spokeo opt out process, you still have more work to do. 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.
As we said before, 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 free reputation management software has a new section that 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 found. Once you’ve gathered a list of potential culprits, follow their respective rules for removal.
In addition to dealing with these other sites, know that 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.
The most sustainable strategy
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.
How it works
At BrandYourself, we make it our business to monitor, improve and protect your online presence. Time and time again we’ve seen our clients develop impressive online reputations by simply following our 3-Step process below. Following this will make sure you stay protected after the Spokeo opt out process.
The first step is building a foundation of high-quality web properties. These are most commonly social media properties and websites.
The next step is optimizing these to rank for your name in search engines and establishing further relevancy so personal information in the future doesn’t have a chance to be viewed by unwanted eyes.
Lastly, there is some simple maintenance that you can do to make sure everything stays at cruising altitude. You can do this yourself, or utilize our tools and services to make things even easier.
The great thing is that our software can walk you though this process, so you don’t need to worry if this all seems overwhelming!
When it comes to dealing with private information and opting out of sites like Spokeo, we’ve found this strategy to work best by far. Through this 3-Step Process, the sites that you control gain authority and eventually overwhelm and suppress those search results that show your private information.
This gives you another strong layer of security for protecting your personal information. Better safe than sorry right?
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.