How to Opt Out of Spokeo
By Jennifer Mackinday
Founded in 2005 by a Stanford University student, Spokeo is a specialized online search engine that uses web crawlers to farm data from online and offline sources (such as phone books, U.S. Census data and social networking websites). Although the search engine's results are composed of publicly accessible information, it's possible to request that personal data be removed from the website.
Visit the Spokeo website (see Resources), type your name and click "Search." This will launch a new browser page with a URL specific to the search results.
Highlight the URL of your search results in the browser address bar. Right-click the URL and select "Copy."
Type in the URL "http://spokeo.com/privacy" in the web browser address bar and click "Enter." This opens a form to ask Spokeo remove your data page from the Spokeo website.
Right-click in the box labeled "URL" and select "Paste." This will enter the URL of your data information page. Type your email address and the anti-spam code word listed in the box to complete the form. This information is required in order to remove your personal data. Click the "Remove Listing" button at the right of the form.
Check your email for the confirmation sent by Spokeo. This email is sent within a few minutes. If you don't see the email in your in-box, check your Spam box for the message. Open the email and click once on the URL listed underneath the message "To complete removal process, please click this URL." You may have to copy and paste the URL into your web browser if clicking the link does not open the page. A confirmation page will open in your web browser.
- Repeat the removal process for each name, email address and phone number you wish removed from the Spokeo directory.
- Check the website regularly for your personal information, as new data sources continue to be added to the Spokeo search engine.
Jennifer Mackinday began writing professionally in 1996. Her work has been featured in the "Workplace Safety" magazine, "The Herald Times" and on various websites. Mackinday's first book, "Friends for Life: Strangers Brought Together by the War in Iraq," was published in May 2009 and earned honorable mention in the 2014 Eric Hoffer Book Award for Legacy Nonfiction. She holds an Associate of Arts in general studies from Indiana University and is currently a fellow with the Elizabeth Dole Foundation.