• Report: #594437

Complaint Review: Spokeo com

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  • Submitted: Sun, April 18, 2010
  • Updated: Sun, April 18, 2010

  • Reported By: Lara K — United States of America
Spokeo com
Internet United States of America

Spokeo com spokeo.com, Spokeo Search results are false and even libelous, contain illegally-acquired information, Internet

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Things you need to know about Spokeo.com:

First, it is not a "search engine," a title it has attempted to hide behind in order to justify its harvesting of people's data.  Search engines provide direct links to the sources of the information they've aggregated, without attempting to forge connections between pieces of data and definitely without attempting to sell access to those links!

Second, the information is false and misleading.  Spokeo's system is automated (in a recent email to a complainant, co-founder Harrison Tang asserted this and claimed that there were only eight people on the company payroll) and connections between the pieces of information are spurious and haphazard.  In my own listing, I discovered that my date of birth, income, house value, and several other key pieces of information were wildly inaccurate.  The result is that the "research" someone buys from Spokeo will in all likelihood contain outrageous misrepresentations about the person in question, which have the potential to negatively impact their well-being.  (Example: if Spokeo links someone's personal email to a similarly-named account on a social networking site, which contains objectionable material, they could be passed over for hiring or promotion on that basis.)  Users of the site's search need to understand that there is no fact-checking being performed at Spokeo prior to the publication of this data!  You are not getting any good value.

Third, the information is in many cases unlawful.  In most states, it is against the law to use a person's name and likeness as part of a marketing campaign without their consent (this is why release forms exist, duh!) and yet that is exactly what Spokeo is doing; just to find out where they harvested an individual's image, you have to pay them, and the individual in question hasn't agreed to that and isn't receiving any kind of compensation.  Spokeo has also made no effort to exclude unlisted phone numbers from their search results (illegal), information about law enforcement officials (illegal), and information about minors (very, very illegal).  Many of the listed phone numbers in Spokeo's database are on the Do Not Call registry, so if you buy numbers from them, they could cost you much more than you think, because the fine for a commercial business calling a DNC-listed number is $11,000 per number!

To sum up: the information being sold on Spokeo's sites includes data that is supposed to be protected from public searches and which could result in their clients facing prosecution if used.  And even if that weren't the case, it's not actually reliable for anything because all of the connections are random and automated and none of them have been verified by any kind of fact-checking system.  You won't get what you paid for, and you may end up paying a LOT more than you ever expected.  Stay away from this company.

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 04/18/2010 05:17 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Spokeo-com/internet/Spokeo-com-spokeocom-Spokeo-Search-results-are-false-and-even-libelous-contain-illegall-594437. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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