Sean Corbett couldn t believe what he found on the controversial website Spokeo.com.
A picture of my house, my net worth, tax records, pictures I deemed private, said Corbett.
He was particularly bothered when two photographs of his little girls popped up. He had put them on a social network where only a handful of people could see them. But he found them, without much effort, on Spokeo.com.
Our privacy is being compromised, said Corbett.
Spokeo.com is a website that s alarming users nationwide. By just typing in a name, information that many users thought was private pops up immediately.
The website advertises itself as not your grandmother s phonebook, and they are right.
Spokeo.com is one search engine that gathers information from many public record sources and social networking sites. Craig Schiller is a computer expert at Portland State. He says the information could be scary if placed in the wrong hands.
Scam artists who want to call you up and say personal things, like I went to your high school and so forth. This is a dream, said Schiller.
Two class action lawsuits have been filed against Spokeo.com, claiming the site delivers inaccurate information. But recently a federal court threw out one of the lawsuits.
Spokeo.com has a way for the public to eliminate their listing. Just go to the bottom of the website and click on privacy to follow the directions.
We contacted Spokeo.com and they wrote, Spokeo only has public information. Spokeo does not possess Social Security numbers, drivers license numbers, bank accounts, or other private financial information, such as credit scores. We have no ability of knowing if a person who claims to be 18 or older actually is.That s why we advise concerned parents to use our site and other tools to monitor what is publicly available about their children.
Remember Sean? He logged on the privacy link to remove all of his information and pictures of his little girls. But his extended family s information was still there.
Critics say just because you delete this listing doesn t mean the information isn t out there, perhaps, for another website to offer to the public.
Sean Corbett has learned his lesson, using Facebook and Twitter pages. Just because it says it s private doesn t mean it s private. To remove Name & Phone Listings:
1. Locate the listing you want removed
2. Copy the URL. The URL can be found on the top of your browser and should look something like: http://www.spokeo.com/search?q=John+Doe#California:1219812367
3. Go to http://www.spokeo.com/privacy
4. Paste the URL from step 2
5. Provide your email address (required to verify that you are not a spammer or automated bot)
6. Check your Inbox for the confirmation email, and click on the provided link to complete removal process
7. The directory listing should be removed immediately If you are encountering difficulties, please ensure that you read all the instructions, making sure the URL, code and email address verification is correctly entered.
Please check your SPAM folder for a message titled Spokeo Directory Removal Confirmation if it does not appear in your inbox.