Warning…this Post is a Bit Frightening

September 15, 2012, In: blogging & technology
0

Do you ever Google yourself? If not, you should. Go ahead…open up Google and type in your name.

I’ll wait…………..

 

Did you find anything interesting?

For the most part, when I Google myself I find the usual suspects – my Twitter account, LinkedIn profile, this website, and a few other Deannas that make the search interesting.

For instance, my maiden name alter ego is a female MMA fighter. You know, the ones in the octagonal cage. Yep. Want to know what’s funnier? One of her recent fights was against my cousin’s alter ego. I. kid. you. not. Couldn’t have made that up if I tried. Anyway, I digress.

The title of this post said it would be frightening. Well, are you ready for it? Last week when I Googled myself (yes, I do it every other month or so), I found a new entry from a site called Spokeo.

But what is Spokeo, you ask? According to their website, “Spokeo is a people search engine that aggregates white-pages listings and public records.” Now, we all know that today’s social media age has made information more accessible, but I was under the impression that it would be somewhat difficult to put it all together.

Oh, how wrong I was. The Spokeo listing had all kinds of contact information for me. In fact, it had my current address with a map! WHAT?!? Plus, after digging around a bit, I found 10 listings for myself from previous addresses across the US. Talk about scary!

Spokeo gives easy access to your personal data on the web

A listing of my personal data on Spokeo. This is an old address of mine in Chicago. Yikes!

But, it’s not all doom and gloom here today. If you find your information on Spokeo, you can have it removed. Here’s how…

How to Remove Yourself from Spokeo? 

  1. Go to Spokeo and search for yourself. Don’t forget to search for your maiden and married names.
  2. Make sure to use the different search options to find any variations of yourself that may show up.
  3. Copy the URLs to a Word document or text file. You will need the entire URL to remove the listing.
  4. Go to the Spokeo Privacy page. Toward the bottom of the page you can enter the URL, your email address and a captcha code to request the listing be removed.
  5. Check your email and click the link to confirm removal of your listing.
  6. According to Spokeo, the listing will be removed within 1 Business Day. I have successfully removed 2 of the 10 listings (my current address and my parents address) and the results were practically instantaneous. I’ll work through the other 8, but since I (or my loved ones) no longer live there, it’s not as important.
Here are more screenshots of the process.
Removing your listing from Spokeo

Here’s the Spokeo Privacy Page. Enter your URL and email address to remove your listing.

Email to confirm removal from Spokeo

Email confirmation for listing removal from Spokeo

And here’s confirmation that I was successful in removing my listing.

Confirmation of removal from Spokeo

Yea! You cannot find me on Spokeo anymore.

Whew! Crisis averted.

Have you ever come across anything scary regarding your personal information on the Internet? If so, what did you do?

    • Megan
    • October 16, 2012
    Reply

    I can’t believe that I was able to find myself and my husband so easily. I know that a lot of info is public but I do try whenever I can preserve my privacy. Thank you for the heads up! I will be sharing with my family and friends as well.

    • Clare
    • September 24, 2012
    Reply

    Thanks for posting this, Deanna. So awful!

    • Suzanne @ The Wine{a}be
    • September 22, 2012
    Reply

    Ok, that is just wrong!!! I know all that is public info…but seriously…who wants their whole life available that easily?!?!!?!? Thanks for the heads up!!!

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