A Real Estate Discussion Blog


Privacy Warning For New Personal Data Aggregation Site - Please Read

A friend of mine recently told me that he was appalled to learn of a new website that aggregates data about people, a lot from social media sites, called Spokeo.com.  He said the first time he went there, he found a lot of information about himself, including his children's names! And if you pay the site's small monthly subscription fee, the amount of information you can access is creepy.

What you can do:

Type your name into the directory on Spokeo.com and copy the URL.  Then go to this Privacy Page and enter the information to request your information be removed from the directory.  The final step is that you'll get an email confirmation that you must click on to complete the process.  You may also want let other friends and family members know.

As a precaution there are two other Facebook privacy settings I recommend opting out of (this is for a personal page, not a fan page):

1) Click Account in the upper right hand corner, and then choose Privacy Settings.  Then choose Applications and Websites. I recommend opting out of the Instant Personalization Pilot Program and Blocked Applications.  I don't mind information being public that I put out there, but I don't like services coming and getting anything from me. 

2) Again go to Account then Privacy Settings,  but this time choose Search.  There is a box you can check or uncheck to "Create a public search listing so others can see a preview of your Facebook profile on search engines".  Allowing this how sites like Spokeo can get your main profile picture.  However, if someone does a search for you in Facebook, your profile pic will also be totally blocked.  Just wanted to make you aware of this setting, so you can decide what you want to allow.

If you haven't already, I would strongly recommend spending some time in the Privacy Options of Facebook.  There are a lot of choices you can make about how open you'd like to be.  Of course, the best rule is just not put anything out there that you wouldn't care if your mother saw.  But it is also good to make sure your privacy settings match the goals of how you are using Facebook. 




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Comment balloon 13 commentsSara Bonert • May 17 2010 01:20PM



There are several other sites that compile the same sort of information.  I was surprised to find at 123people.com my current and previous addresses were listed along with numerous photos and places of employment.  Thanks for keeping people informed about how our private information is no longer private!

Posted by Carrie Cowan Holder, Cowan & Company Realtors (RE/MAX Premier Realty) almost 10 years ago

Thanks for the heads up about this Sara. I wonder if there are other similar sites out there doing the same thing.

Posted by Steve Nagy (BMC Real Estate) almost 10 years ago

Thanks for the info ... I need to sit down with entire family and verify everyones settings.

Posted by Scott Lewis, REALTOR, e-Pro,CIA,IMSD,GRI & CNE (The Bald Man Group) almost 10 years ago

WOW - what great information.  I tested it on myself and I wasn't in their database, but 2 of my teenaged kids were.  I don't mind people finding me nearly as much as I was to protect the identity of my kids.

Posted by Melissa Hailey, Collin County Realtor-Lucas, Murphy, Plano, Parker (North Texas Top Team, REALTORS (Plano, Murphy, Wylie)) almost 10 years ago

Thanks, Sara.  It is starting to get a little bit creepy out there! 

Posted by Patricia Kennedy, Home in the Capital (RLAH Real Estate) almost 10 years ago

I first ran across this site yesterday, after doing a Google search on a new Internet-generated lead.  After reading your post, I decided to look myself up, and I learned some new things about myself.  I look a lot different than I thought I did, and I'm apparently a lot wealthier, too!  My real estate is worth even more than Zillow says!

Posted by David North, for a rewarding real estate experience (Coldwell Banker Bain) almost 10 years ago

Thanks! I went and removed my husband and I.

Most of the information was incorrect. 

We are out of there.

Posted by KAREN SANCHEZ, ...Marketing your home like no one else will. ( Hamilton Landon Real Estate) almost 10 years ago

Carrie - Wow, 123People.com had a lot of info too.  I found this info to request to be removed: http://www.123people.com/page/reputation#action2

Melissa - Yicks! Would make sense though, if your teenages put more out of the web than you do.

David - I looked up about 10 people, and every lived in a 'million dollar' plus home, including my parents in Iowa, which a million dollars will get you A LOT of house in their city!  :)

Posted by Sara Bonert, Real Estate Internet Marketing (Zillow) almost 10 years ago

I removed myself and my immediate family members.  I used an e-mail address that was created only for this purpose, and I will be interested to see what they do with the e-mail address.  They allow 2 removals per e-mail address, so I had to create more than one e-mail address.

Posted by David North, for a rewarding real estate experience (Coldwell Banker Bain) almost 10 years ago

David - Smart!  Please do report back here if you notice anything suspicious to that email address!

Posted by Sara Bonert, Real Estate Internet Marketing (Zillow) almost 10 years ago

Oh my gosh, this is the site I keep hearing everyone talking about.  I saw a group of grown women looking at this site and laughing like crazy.  I figured they were looking at some sort of dating site being "mean girls" and having fun at others expense.   This is awful.  i'm going there right now.  Thank you for the heads up.

Posted by Kim Boekholder Utah Real Estate, Broker, Results Real Estate (Results Real Estate 801.580.5624) almost 10 years ago

I appreciate this post. I will have to check the information on my family, but this is scary. I will also check 123people.com

Posted by David Okada, Service-Beyond Your Expectations (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) over 9 years ago

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