Thanks to a heads up from my friend Dana, I learned of a pretty creepy new website which allows users to search for a name and find your home address.
The website, Spokeo.com, gathers information from "hundreds of online and offline sources, including but not limited to: phone directories, social networks, marketing surveys, mailing lists, government censuses, real estate listings, and business websites."
The tagline reads, "Not your grandma's phonebook."
Well, yeah, and grandma's not a stalking serial killer.
When one navigates to the homepage of Spokeo, anyone can enter your first and last name and view dozens of results, depending on how common the name is. It may include your address, pictures, phone number(s), household income, profession, household members, and more.
And, if the user pays money, they can view a FULL report, which can include "e-mail address, exact age, estimated income, credit score, social profile, photos, videos, hobbies, lifestyle, and more!"
The kicker? My name isn't all that common, and I had four correct address listings. I had two listings for my parent's address in North Carolina and one from the address in New Jersey where I grew up, each under my full name, Alyssa, and my nickname, Aly. It said I was in my early 20's, it included my parents, and my dad's annual income level.
Fortunately, Dana provided me with the tips to remove my listing. Honestly, if someone doesn't know your address and can't ask you, there's probably a really good reason.
So here's the debate: I'm one for new technology, new gadgets, and new concepts (I am an electronic media specialist), but this one really creeped me out. Yes, I think it's great that we can search for almost anything online "with just a click of a button, but this one goes too far. What happened to protection from identity theft and serial killers?
Okay, maybe I've been watching a little too many Criminal Minds reruns. But still.
I do strongly suggest everyone to search yourself and remove your listing(s). It takes two seconds, so hop to it.
To remove your spokeo.com listing:
1. In spokeo.com's search bar, type your first and last name (do another search with any nicknames, too).
Coming soon... my new eating challenge. ;)
P.S. Who has noticed my brand new page, "The Blogroll" in the upper right corner? Here, I've linked a few of my favorite followers and followees who also have blogs. Check these chickies out!
P.P.S. Meghan at Sunshine 'n Spice is having a nice little giveaway of "Perfect Bars." Go enter!