Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Creepy "New White Pages"

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).
2. Click on the accurate result and copy that URL.
3. Click on the "privacy" link at the bottom of the page.
4. Paste that URL and enter your e-mail address.
5. From there, you'll receive an e-mail in a minute providing a removal link. Click that, and you're gone from Spokeo.

Ta-da! You're welcome! 

What do you think? Is this a cool new way to get your friend's addresses, or is this a total security risk and an invasion of privacy?


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!

13 comments:

Maleah said... [Reply]

That's super creepy. I saw this and read it to some of my coworkers. Super creepy

Jennifer said... [Reply]

Thats so flipping creepy! Ugh! Thanks for the heads up!!!

xoXOxo
Jenn @ Peas & Crayons

Joanna said... [Reply]

Hi Alyssa! Thank you for visiting my blog!! Once I got to your blog I swooned at your flowers at the top!! LOVE your blog so far and you definitely gain a new reader :)

It's so funny, EVERYONE in my life has been warning me about Spokeo! My hubby thinks that it's a hoax though and a way for the site to get into your computer even more. I'm scared but I'm even more scared of all the information that it has on me. My friend's hubby is an IT computer person so I'll ask him! Thanks for the heads up too though, I hate how these sites are up... people are weird!

Alyssa said... [Reply]

@Joanna

WOW, let me know what you find out! and thanks so much. ;)

cyclicalunemployment said... [Reply]

whoah thanks for this tip! that really is creepy!!!!
Katherine

Emma (Sweet Tooth Runner) said... [Reply]

Oh man that is SO creepy! Urgh! I'm gonna tell my family too, so thanks for the heads-up!

And thanks for the blogroll add lovely! :D

Rachel @ The Avid Appetite said... [Reply]

Ah I've seen this before too and it is SO creepy! Thanks for adding me to your blogroll, you are so sweet :) Happy we found each other's sites!!

Cat@BudgetBlonde said... [Reply]

Hi girlie!! I'm so glad you stumbled onto my page and are loving the thrifty winter outfit!!! Your blog is so adorable - love the header. As for the Spokeo website, they don't have me on there, but I will DEFINITELY keep checking back! Can't believe they provide credit score and income level! Ridiculous!!! Anyway I also noticed your blogroll --- you are too sweet! I really appreciate it!!! Can't wait to go through more of your posts!!
xoxo,
Cat @ BudgetBlonde

LifeasKristina said... [Reply]

Ughhhh creepers!!!! Glad you got that one solved and for giving us a heads up just incase-yikes!

Brittany @ A Healthy Slice of Life said... [Reply]

Thanks SO much for that info-CREEPY. Hubbs is especially creeped out and I'm so glad you informed us of this- thanks!!

Mindy@FindingSilverLinings said... [Reply]

I saw that website too when I was searching for addresses to send out our wedding ivitations & that site popped up. Crazy! Love your site! I'll be following along.
xo
Mindy

Allison @ Happy Tales said... [Reply]

Ahhh I had no idea about that website! Thank you SO much for spreading the word! Removing myself from it RIGHT NOW!

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