Have you ever heard of Spokeo? If you haven’t, it’s time to learn about the new wave of “People Search” websites that allow users to find out nearly anything they’d like about someone, using only the internet.
Sites like Spokeo consolidate various small bits of personal information that are available online about an individual, compiling them into easy to view profiles. To put it simply, Spokeo makes your personal information available to anyone who’s looking for it.
Spokeo Makes Personal Information Publicly Available
Sites like Spokeo combine all personal information into a searchable database of “listings.” These listings are more complete for some individuals than others, but typically include your name, maiden name, address, occupation, and phone number. The listing may also include the names of others that live at your address, the ages of each member of your family, how much your home cost, your household’s median yearly income, and more.
This information is on the Spokeo site, for free, for anyone who does a search. It’s absolutely crucial that you take the time to remove your personal information from Spokeo, as well as from other sites like it.
Prevent Identity Theft
Often, an identity thief doesn’t need more than small bits of personal information to create a new identity. Someone who’s attempting to steal an identity can gain the basic information they’d need about you from a site like Spokeo. Combine this with a stolen piece of mail, driver’s license, or credit card, and it’s far easier than you’d think to become an entirely different person.
Sites of this nature make it easier to commit crimes of fraud and identity theft, providing criminals with everything they need to choose their targets based on age, income, and personal living situations. The internet makes identity theft easier than ever, so take steps to keep your personal information out of the wrong hands.
Keep Your Children and Loved Ones Safe
Predators often work to learn basic information about potential victims, such as their names, addresses, ages, and where they go to school. This makes it easier to approach children and seem friendly, as if they’re already a trusted adult. The predator then works their way into the child’s confidence and begins the process of “grooming” them for abuse.
In the wrong hands, a website like Spokeo can be a treasure trove of information — child predators can learn names, ages, addresses, and other personally identifiable information. If someone wants to learn more about your family, or your child, it’s likely available in your Spokeo listing.
To ensure that your privacy (and your child’s privacy) is safe, it’s important that you take the time to remove your personal information from the Spokeo website. If you’re unsure how to do this, instructions are available online or on the Spokeo website itself.
Take the time today to control what information about you and your family is available online – it’s an investment in your future safety that you can’t afford NOT to make.
Contributor: Sandi Lilly is a freelance writer with five years of on and offline experience. She has been published in B2B Magazine, the Main ARTery Magazine, and has written multiple articles for Livestrong.com and Chron.com. She works from her home in West Virginia while homeschooling her two children.