Spokeo is a Web site that collects the names and personal information of people and presents it in a searchable format. While only basic information about a person is available for free, users can pay to see more.
= Spokeo Data Sources =
Information displayed by Spokeo is gathered from public sources that include phone listings, real estate listings, government information, as well as information from social networking. Right now the site lists in the neighborhood of fifty places where they get data. This type of Web site is not new: they have been around for years and have fed the insatiable appetite for private information about other people. Of course, the response Spokeo.com has to privacy questions is that all the information they list can be found elsewhere, only in different places.
= Spokeo.com Searches =
On the main page, you can type in any name and get information about that person. You can also do reverse lookups of email addresses that can reveal the real identity of the person behind them. You can also enter your email address and password (eek!) and the site will scan your emails and contacts looking for personal information. Spokeo also has a reverse phone number look up service that returns the names associated with different phone numbers.
= The Spokeo Scam =
Many people report that they have paid for Spokeo.com’s premium services and have either (1) not received any additional information for their money or (2) have been charged more than what the site claims its services costs. Of course, fees paid to Spokeo.com are not refundable.
= Privacy Scam =
Although Spokeo.com states that you can have your information removed from its database, many users complain that the site will not respond to such requests. Furthermore, the form used to request removal gives the site an email address that it gladly associates with your name and makes it part of the information it sells. Users who have made the questionable decision to allow the site to access their email accounts have reported that the site not only adds all their contacts to the Spokeo.com database, but that it sends emails to all their contacts.
The accuracy of the free and premium information presented on Spokeo.com is also questionable, leaving many with the feeling of being ripped off after paying for data that turns out to be incorrect.
Finally, those paying for additional services report that they are charged more than the stated fees and bill for more services than are actually accessed by the Spokeo.com user.
= Is Spokeo.com a Scam? =
A scam is in the eye of the beholder, so you may or may not think that Spokeo.com is a scam. Caution is probably warranted if you elect to use its services.