6 BILLION RECORDSResults for Marriage have been distilled from over 6 billion consumer records found online and offline.
Map data ©2021 Google
120+ SOCIAL NETWORKSPowerful social search locates profiles on social networks, dating sites, online shopping, web forums, music platforms, etc.View more
VITAL INFO & HISTORICAL RECORDSUncover details about birth, marriage, and divorce. Find census, military, and other historical records.*
PROPERTY, HOUSEHOLD INCOME, & MOREView property details and household demographic information related to income, investments, and interests.
EMPLOYMENT HISTORYDiscover work experience, company details, and more.
* Historical, vital, and court records and search results may require an additional purchase. Spokeo's database, while extensive, does not contain all U.S. warrant, arrest, court, or other related records. The presence or absence of records for any individual is not a guarantee of any kind. Results for this person or the person you are looking for are not guaranteed to appear in search results.
An Overview of the Spokeo People Search Engine
Spokeo, the People Search Engine, is a very useful search engine that aggregates information about people from different public records sources and then compiles all this information into a single report that is easy to use and understand. The Spokeo public records search engine is great for finding information on friends, family members, and others.
With the Spokeo people search engine, anyone can quickly locate information such as physical and email addresses, social media accounts, and a person’s marital status. It can be used for a variety of purposes, including tracking down long lost friends, reuniting with family members, or tracking down debtors. Spokeo is a real company and its services are legit.
Spokeo is not intended to serve as a full background check service and should not be used in making employment decisions or to screen tenants. However, you will be surprised by the volume of data and information the service is able to pull together.
Depending on what is available for a particular person, Spokeo’s search results can include a person’s address, phone number, gender, marital status, possible email addresses, social media accounts, and various other public records. If you’re ready to check it out, visit Spokeo.com today to begin searching. Otherwise, read on for more information.
What are Public Records?
Public records are official records that public agencies maintain. These records include such information as birth records, marriage certificates, and death certificates. It can also contain data and information on corporations or property. corporate information and property details.
Information that may be available via Spokeo includes:
- Full name, age, current address and email
- An aerial photograph of the home and/or map view
- Photos and information from social media profiles
- Current and previous addresses
- Neighbors, home values
- Family members, spouse, and relatives
- Phone numbers – mobile, landline and business
What types of data does Spokeo include?
All of the data provided is derived from public records and publicly available information sources. The service does not verify or evaluate each piece of data, and the company makes no warranties or guarantees about any of the information and data that it provides. Contrary to what some sites may claim, the service does not possess or have access to secure or private financial information.
The company is not a credit reporting agency and does not offer consumer credit reports. None of the information offered is to be considered for purposes of determining someone’s eligibility for credit, insurance, employment, housing, or for any other purposes covered under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).
Reliability of Spokeo’s Data
There is some risk that the information compiled may be outdated. For example, you may find previous address information or old phone numbers. In addition, some information may be incomplete or pieces of data may be omitted from the search results.
Also, depending on the subject’s name and other information used for the query, the online tool may return hundreds or even thousands of results. This will require time to sort through the results.
How to Use the Spokeo Public Records Search Engine
Visit Spokeo.com today to begin searching. Once there, enter one of the following in the main search field, and the click on the Search button:
- Person’s first name and last name
- Email address or username
- A 10-digit phone number
- A full address, including the city, state and zip code
The search engine will then display a map of the United States, with pop-up icons that show the number of results that are available for that particular state. To dig deeper, simply click on the icon to see more detailed information. Once you click on the state-level icon, it will allow you to keep drilling down to the local level. This is a great tool as it helps you find someone when you know the area in which they may be living.
From the same window, you can also drill-down into available court records that are pulled from the county, state, and national court databases. Records in these databases include sex offender registries, criminal records, mugshots, and more.
You can also search for what they call “historical” records, which may include data on birth, marriage, divorce, death, US census data, military service, and immigration.
How Much Does Spokeo Cost?
To get more detailed information on a person, you are required to sign up for either a three or six-month membership. The three-month membership is available at a cost of $4.95 per month and the six-month membership is $3.95 per month. Users get a per-month discount of $1 for signing up for a longer period.
In addition to the membership option, the site provides two options for a single phone number search report. The single phone number search report is available for just 95 cents. The report provides the full name, email address, location history, month and year of birth, and relatives associated with the number. The professional phone search provides the same information but searches other record sources. It is available for $39.95 per number searched.
Occasionally, the company will provide a trial period that is discounted even further, sometimes offering one week of access for under $1.00. They also offer a 100% guarantee – If they don’t have the results for your particular search, they will gladly issue a full refund.
Since prices may change, it is best to visit the website to learn more if you need to know how much Spokeo costs.
About the Company
Spokeo is a privately held company launched headquartered in Pasadena, California. The company’s founders are Mike Daly, Harrison Tang, Ray Chen, and Eric Liang. Harrison Tang is the company’s current Chief Executive Officer (CEO). The company has approximately 18 million users for its services.
Spokeo’s search power and popular has even drawn attention from some major media outlets. The online service has been featured on CNN, Fox News, CBS, ABC, NBC News, and The Wall Street Journal. In addition, it has been featured in numerous local publications and countless blogs and websites all over the internet.
How to Cancel Your Spokeo Membership
If you need to cancel your account or membership plan, go to the website and login to your account. Within the Account Settings, select the option for Usage and Subscriptions.
Then, follow the instructions provided on that page. Once your account is canceled, you will receive a confirmation email and future billing will be discontinued. They do not provide refunds. If you have questions about how to cancel your Spokeo membership, you can speak with an agent at the number below.
How to Contact Customer Service
If have any questions regarding the product, technical issues, or billing questions, you can contact a customer care agent at any time. You can speak with a customer service rep by calling 1-888-271-9562.
You can also chat with an agent or view a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) on their website. Click on the link for “Contact” at the bottom of any page.
Can Private Investigators Use the Spokeo Public Records Search Engine?
So, I’m sure you’re reading this article and wondering whether Spokeo might be a good tool for private investigators. Our answer to that question is – maybe. In our opinion, Spoke can be a useful tool when used as part of an overall investigation.
It is a useful tool when it comes to aggregating and compiling information from a wide variety of different sources. It is also a good tool for scouring social media sites and uncovering usernames, profiles, and photos. It also has a pretty useful feature that helps you locate someone by starting with an email address.
For any given search, the system does provide a large amount of information. It may take time to dig through everything, but it could be useful in uncovering a person’s online activity and may lead you to the information you seek.
If you need to conduct a full background check, view our list of recommended Background Check companies.
Questions and Comments
If you have any questions about the Spokeo Public Records Search Engine, please leave a comment below. If you’re looking for alternatives to Spokeo, we recommend BeenVerified and Intelius as alternatives.
Also, read our full review of BeenVerified’s public records people search features, which includes an overview of its primary features and how to access the system and run reports.
Michael Kissiah, eInvestigator.com
Michael Kissiah is the owner of Brandy Lane Publishing, LLC, which owns and operates a small portfolio of websites, including eInvestigator.com. Michael created eInvestigator.com more than 20 years ago after working as a private investigator in the state of Florida. Since that time, he has become an expert at how to find information online and has written over 1000 articles on topics related to the investigation industry. In addition, he is the author of the "Private Investigator Licensing Handbook", available at Amazon.com.
PASADENA, CA--(Marketwired - Jul 11, 2017) - Spokeo, the leading people search platform, today introduced Spokeo for Law Enforcement, an investigative search tool for law enforcement officials that brings together public records and social media data.
Most law enforcement departments rely on a variety of people search databases to locate persons of interest or to check court, birth, death, marriage and divorce documents. Spokeo for Law Enforcement connects investigators to over 12 billion records linking traditional public records with social media data. The search tool provides fast, easy-to-navigate results within seconds. The fast and easy access to social media data, in particular, helps officials better track down, monitor and contact individuals.
"Whether it's the crime itself that originates online, or a series of leads connected to a perpetrator, crucial information is often linked to digital and social activity," said Harrison Tang, CEO, Spokeo. "It's important to us at Spokeo that we address the need for law enforcement investigators to have a tool that enables them to find social media profiles and link them to the traditional offline public records that they use to find and locate people in the non-digital world."
In addition to connecting with existing clients about their thoughts on the product, Spokeo worked closely with two law enforcement experts to tailor the search offerings: leading government data and analytics expert Paul Colangelo and Lieutenant Deputy Sheriff (Reserve) Stephen Henderson.
Colangelo, an expert in the field of investigative solutions for law enforcement, is a member of Spokeo's Advisory Board. Over the past 20 years, Colangelo has worked in various executive leadership roles for leading data companies like Appriss, LexisNexis and ChoicePoint, focused on the identity and data analytics markets. He currently serves as CEO of GRS, a leading provider of data, analytics and consulting services to state and local governments and is on the Law Enforcement Advisory Board for the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.
Henderson joined Spokeo to oversee Spokeo for Law Enforcement. He has served as Dignitary Protection for US Ambassador George Argyos (Former US Ambassador to Spain) and he is a veteran of the Orange County Sheriff's Department where he currently serves as a Reserve Deputy Sheriff.
"Over my years in working with law enforcement professionals, I have seen a variety of product offerings aimed at helping investigators. Spokeo for Law Enforcement is an amazing platform that provides access to relevant data in a matter of seconds," said Paul Colangelo about the product. "Unlike any traditional data provider, Spokeo combines public record data and social data together for a more enhanced solution and I'm confident it will help make the jobs of investigators a little easier."
Many departments are already using Spokeo for Law enforcement in their investigative and intelligence units today. For more information, visit https://www.spokeo.com/law-enforcement
Spokeo is a people search platform helping users understand more about the people in their lives. Based in Pasadena, the search tool organizes billions of records, from thousands of sources, into comprehensive profiles that can be used to make informed decisions or connect with others. Spokeo offers background checks and searches for social media, court records, criminal records, names, addresses, phones and emails, or personal details, marital status, and more. For more information about Spokeo, visit http://www.spokeo.com or follow @spokeo on Twitter.
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I frequently get asked about commercially available investigative databases such as Intelius, Spokeo, and BeenVerified. The truth is that I have never used them, so I could never really give an intelligent answer. The professional databases that I rely on that are most comparable to Intelius, Spokeo, and BeenVerified can only be accessed by licensed private investigators, so I never had the need to review these other sites.
Disclosure: In case this is not abundantly clear, I was not paid to write this article and do not earn a cent by using any of these services. I paid $264.43 out of my own pocket to run all of the searches described below.
Before I get into the nitty-gritty details, there were a few things that I was hoping to learn, and there are a few things to keep in mind as you read this review.
First, from my own personal experiences, I know that there are hundreds of databases out there. These three are some of the most popular, and therefore the only three that I decided to spend my money on.
Many of these websites make boastful claims about how much information they can obtain and how accurate they are. They brag about having nationwide access to information such as criminal records, marriage records, death records, address history, etc. For the most part, they are full of hot air. I know this because I have been in this business for almost 20 years and know that there is an abundance of information that is not digitized — “620 million court records searched” is worth almost nothing if you consider that there are billions of criminal cases out there. And the addresses and phone numbers identified for these individuals are not always accurate either, even in the professional-grade databases.
Second, I was not looking to use the cheapest services. As a private investigator, I value completeness and accuracy far more than price considerations. If you are looking for the cheapest database, this is not the place for you. Price, of course, is always a factor; I don’t want to get ripped off, but this did not affect my decision-making. Considering I spent close to $300 of my own money just to write this blog post, I hope that will sink in a bit.
Lastly, I was looking for transparency. Many databases make outrageous claims about “national criminal checks” (which do not exist), “100% accuracy,” or “guaranteed results.” Or they just bury disclaimers. I’ve been doing this a long time, and there is no such thing as 100% accuracy or guaranteed results. And there are so many limitations to databases too numerous to count. So I was looking for a database that was clear about what and where they search, and the information they have.
In order to determine the best of these databases, I did a few things: I ran a “comprehensive” database search on two different people to determine whether they had accurate information about addresses, criminal history, etc. One of those people was yours truly, Brian Willingham, and the other was a known convict who currently lives in New York and has a criminal history that includes a DWI, sexual abuse, endangering the welfare of a child, criminal possession of a controlled substance, and misdemeanor loitering.
Not someone you would want to hang around with.
Each of these databases was reviewed for transparency, accuracy, and ease of use, among other things.
Keep in mind that this is a very small sample size, so your results may vary.
This one got off to a bad start.
First, they offered a $39.95 “background check” (discounted from $49.95), which was for their “Premium Plus” report. This was the only option I had to purchase a background check report, and gave me a voucher for one background check report.
After digging around the website, however, I learned that this also signed me up for monthly access. After futzing around with the website for 10 minutes, I was finally able to cancel the monthly membership. According to the email I received, I will be charged a $7.95 fee regardless. Nothing is more frustrating than being pegged with a bunch of fine-print fees.
Either way, this is off to a terrible start.
After that frustrating start, I got down to business and ordered a background check report on myself, which included, among other things: contact information, state criminal check, and “marriage & divorce.” I also purchased the add-on records for “current phone & address check,” federal criminal records check, nationwide criminal records check, and nationwide civil court records check for an additional $64.80, bringing my total bill to $104.75.
The accuracy results of the report were mixed. The “confirmed address” they had for me was for somewhere that I haven’t lived since 2002. All four of the phone numbers they had for me were associated with me at one point, and two of them are current and active. Interestingly, one of the numbers was from when I was a kid, and it was a number I haven’t used since 1992. They had my wife, brother, and father as relatives, and even had photos of my father and wife from Facebook. They also found no criminal records, judgments, liens, or bankruptcies, which is correct, as I do not have any of these. They did find a few federal criminal records in Texas, but I’ve never lived there.
Here’s where I got a bit frustrated. This report has tons of disclaimers about how it includes the “most comprehensive online results possible.” None of that was really made apparent on the initial search screen. From my personal experience, I know it’s true that in most states, marriage and divorce records are not publicly available. In the report they state that marriage and divorce records are provided online for California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Kentucky, Maine, Minnesota, Nevada, Ohio, Texas, and Utah. I’ve never lived in any one of those states, so that was pretty useless. I’m sure in the fine print on the original search page there was some information relating to the fact that 39 of the 50 states have no records, but does anyone actually read the disclaimers?
They also found no civil court records in searching over “80 million court records,” and no criminal records searching over “250 million criminal records.” I know for a fact that there are other people named Brian Willingham in other states who have been sued dozens of times and have criminal charges. But this report claims there were “no records found.”
I then did a comprehensive background report on a known criminal who has a lengthy criminal history in New York. In New York, they had no records found. No felonies found. No misdemeanors found. In essence: 250 million criminal records and nothing found for a known convict.
They also found no civil records for the known criminal, despite his being involved in several civil cases as well.
Spokeo got off to a much smoother start. Signing up and searching the website was much more fluid and transparent. The charge would be $0.95 cents upfront, with a seven-day trial, and $19.95 after that. On a side note, I find it ridiculous that all of these sites rope you into a monthly fee. They just hope you forget that you signed up and charge you a fee in perpetuity. But at least for this site, it’s not buried in some fine print like it was with Intelius. And I didn’t need to spend 10 minutes searching around to cancel the trial subscription like I did with Intelius either.
After purchasing the results, I also paid $19.95 to “unlock” personal and historical records (e.g., marriage, divorce, and census) as well as court records, for a total of $39.90. The final report was much cleaner and simpler to read than the Intelius report was, and they even offered a downloadable PDF version that looks clean and simple. They did, however, charge an extra $0.50 for that service, which seems a bit petty.
The accuracy results, similar to Intelius, were mixed. They got my current address right (Intelius did not); they had my month and year of birth right (Intelius had the entire birthdate); and they picked out who my wife is pretty easily. They also had some details about my house, which was not in the Intelius report.
The report, however, found no social networks for me (I’m pretty prominent on social media; just Google my name), no information on my work data (Intelius had my current and former employer); and its “620 million court records” found no records under my name. As noted above, there are plenty of Brian Willinghams who have both civil and criminal records, and for many of them, there is no way of knowing whether they are me without physically going to the court and reviewing the records. Therefore, it is pretty inconceivable to not have found anything.
I ended up clicking through to my wife’s report as well (which didn’t cost me anything additional). Her report had a number of other historical addresses and other information, including my personal email address, through which more than a dozen social media profiles were identified for me, including my LinkedIn and Twitter accounts as well as my business’ Facebook page.
I then did a comprehensive background report on a known criminal. They found no records in New York, in Nassau County (where all of the known criminal cases were filed), or nationwide. In essence: 620 million court records and nothing found. This made me wonder where they were looking in New York and Nassau County.
You have to access the relevant information in order to get the relevant results.
As far as website transparency and usability, BeenVerified, right off the bat, was the most robust. It’s much better than the 2000s-looking Intelius or the scant Spokeo home page, which didn’t provide much in the way of details.
After entering in all of the information, the website brought me through numerous prompts. All in all, it took about five minutes to compile the report scanning social media, court records, etc. I think it was a bit of a dog-and-pony show, but they did end up giving some tidbits of information that were useful about what they were searching. It was only when that was completed that they told you about the $26.89 per-month membership fee for “unlimited background reports” and “unlimited contact information,” among other things. I had to pay another approximately $14 to unlock premium data, including criminal records.
Overall, the report was pretty robust, easy to read, and surprisingly transparent. They did not have my full date of birth or any current phone numbers, but they did have all of my family members, including some distant step-family members linked to me, my current address, some historical addresses that were not on any of the other reports, three photos of me, and email addresses linked to me, with the date that they were linked to my name.
I deeply appreciate their transparency with regard to things such as criminal records, educational background, and marriage records.
For criminal records, they found no records, but added the caveat that “records may exist that cannot be accessed digitally.” This was the first website that really nailed this. The reality is that most criminal records in the United States are NOT available digitally.
While Intelius just said “no records available for education,” BeenVerified couldn’t find any either, but provided a thoughtful explanation.
The reality is that you can easily find this information on my LinkedIn profile, but they at least provided some explanation as to what they did.
The same thing occurred for marriage and divorce records. They didn’t find any records, but they took the time to provide a detailed explanation that not all records are available and that you may be able to find these records using alternative methods. The truth is that you will never find my marriage record, because those records are not public in the state that I got married in.
BeenVerified also found a few things that no other report found. They had a record of a private investigator license in California, which I had many moons ago, and it also linked me to corporate records in New York for Diligentia Group. These are both publicly available records, but neither of the other two reports referenced them.
The report also said I was a licensed lawyer in New York, which is not the case.
I also appreciate the fact that you can easily run searches not just by a person’s name, but also by their username, phone, address, or email. You might be able to do that on Spokeo and Intelius, but it was not nearly as prominent. I utilize these types of searches on a daily basis for my work and they could certainly come in handy for others.
After running my report, BeenVerified was the clear favorite.
I then tried to run a search on the known New York criminal. His name was not even in the database. They found no records of him. Poof. Like a ghost.
Which brings me to another fascinating thing that most people don’t know: you can personally opt out of these websites. BeenVerified offers a pretty simple way to remove yourself from the database. So in this case, the known criminal likely did not want anyone to see that he had an extensive criminal history, and had himself removed.
The fact of the matter is, however, that it’s pretty easy to find the criminal history; it is public record, after all. You just need to know where to look.
***UPDATE: On June 2, 2019, I was charged a $26.89 fee from BeenVerified. I thought I done this, but it turns out that I didn’t cancel my membership. It took me about 10 minutes of messing around on the website to determine that you had to call during business hours or email them to cancel. Nothing like making it easy to cancel. ????????????????????????
Overall, none of them were perfect, though I liked BeenVerified the best out of the three. It got some things wrong and didn’t have any phone numbers for me, but this resource was the most transparent of the three, and had the most robust data. It was also reasonably valued compared to the others (Intelius cost more than twice as much).
If you were looking only for contact information, Intelius was much better than the other two for phone numbers.
Spokeo had the prettiest report, if that is the sort of thing that makes you happy.
Keep in mind, however, that all of these databases access only information that is digitally stored in whatever database they are searching. So it doesn’t matter if they are searching 620 million criminal records; if the criminal records from New York (where the person has lived) are not in their database, they are worth absolutely zilch.
Speaking of that, none of the reports included the criminal records for the known criminal from New York.
That’s a huge concern.
Frankly, I was not surprised at all, since all of these websites make all kinds of lofty promises with huge disclaimers in fine print. The reason that they didn’t find the records is that New York criminal records check can only be done through the New York Office of Court Administration. Unlike some states, where criminal data is widely distributed, it’s not in New York. It costs $95 to run the search.
But none of these websites made any mention of that little detail. So, unless you are a professional who actually knows what he or she is doing, you may have been totally duped into thinking that this person had no criminal history.
The bottom line is that these websites absolutely do have a place if you want to do a bit of poking around, but they are NOT comprehensive, NOT 100% accurate, and can’t really be relied upon entirely.
So, if you have something serious you are investigating, call a professional.
You can thank me later.
Records spokeo marriage
Spokeo is the “Glinda, the Good Witch” of background check sites, emphasizing all the positive reasons to research people and downplaying the Information Age’s darker sides.
- Lean, clean, search machine
- Great price
- A snap to use
- Weak on crime
- Extra searches can lead you down a rabbit hole of info
Table of Contents
Who is Spokeo?
What a couple Stanford grads started as a “social network aggregator” in a Silicon Valley basement in 2006 has morphed into one of the better means of mending your long neglected social ties. Sure, there’s some criminal info available on Spokeo, but the company’s website sends the clear message it would rather bring people together than keep them apart.
The customer testimonials shown below give you a good idea of the top uses promoted on the site:
Spokeo Pricing and Available Plans
Straightforward price structure is among the lowest in the field – $13.95 for a month, $7.95 a month for 3 months and $4.95 a month for half the year. Your base subscription seems to get you enough reliable, current background info to help you reconnect with someone you’ve lost touch with for a very long time.
Base plan provides contact info, location history, relatives and some other bare bones personal info – enough to make certain you’ve located the right person.
Searching available court or historical records is $2.95 extra, each.
How to Use Spokeo?
This portion of the process could be done in your sleep.
Spokeo customer service could be among the most responsive in the industry. You can talk to a real person 24/7, unless you’d rather just handle things on your own easily online.
Spokeo’s standard search
Seems to work exactly as advertised. Simple search format is flexible enough you can include anything you happen to remember about the person you’re looking for, even if it’s incomplete, and returns a manageable list of possible matches. Once you select the most likely candidate, the extensive location history and list of relatives quickly confirms if you’ve got the right person.
Some contact info appears outdated, but the most recent available is clearly identified, which should take some of the hit and miss out of getting ahold of whomever you’re trying to connect with.
Spokeo also digs through more than 60 social networks, giving you another avenue for reestablishing those old ties.
Court and historical reports
Are fairly cheap, but still might not be worth the cost, returning a lot of US Census, marriage, death and court records on anyone sharing a name the least bit similar to your subject’s (though some of this could be helpful if you’re working on a family history).
Is a unique feature that allows you to import an address book, then performs searches to update the contact info it contains, filling in a name, perhaps, for that random phone number you once jotted down.
Spokeo is tops among several sites I’ve used. The site is ridiculously easy to navigate and displays search results in a plain, uncluttered format with no distracting graphics or annoying pop-ups for “free credit reports!”
How Good is Spokeo Data?
In keeping with Spokeo’s semiofficial mission of optimistic reconnection, I decided to dig up what I could on a once close friend who’d gone through some rough times before completely severing all connections with the circle of friends we shared. No one had heard from him in several years and all of us were concerned about his health and happiness.
I’d tried finding what I could on other websites with absolutely no success at all, excepting a list of literally hundreds of names scattered willy-nilly around the country without out any useful corroborating evidence. My first search on Spokeo returned a single unequivocally positive result, complete with age, names, dates and places that clinched the ID. What I did not expect was my reluctance to contact him.
Perhaps it was the subliminally gentle message that seems to permeate Spokeo’s website, but I was more inclined to respect my old friend’s apparent wish to start his life anew. Rather than startle him a phone call from a ghost from the past, I was content with the knowledge (supplied by Spokeo) that he seems surrounded by new friends and family, is living in a safe neighborhood and is, apparently, pursuing some of his favorite interests once again.
How do I Cancel Spokeo?
Cancellation was easy peasy. You can cancel anytime on website’s “Usage and Subscriptions” page, call (877) 913-3088, or send an email to [email protected] If you used PayPal, it’s even easier: 1, Log in to your PayPal account; 2, Click “Profile” near the top of the page; 3, Click “My Money; 4,Click “Update” in the “My Preapproved Payments” section; and 5, Click “Cancel” or “Cancel Automatic Billing” and follow the instructions. That’s it!
Spokeo Final Thoughts
There are a lot better sites out there for digging up dirt on people, if that’s what you need in a background check. But, if you’re idly musing about what happened to an old and once dear friend or need to locate a family member you’ve lost touch with, Spokeo is perhaps the best, and cheapest, way to do it.
Without really meaning to, Spokeo tangentially touches on the issue of privacy in the information age: just because you can do an extensive background check, does it mean you should?
Column: Spokeo lawsuit highlights challenge of protecting privacy in digital age
For anyone who feels powerless about controlling their personal information in a world of search engines and public databases, take heart. A recent court ruling suggests you might have more muscle than you thought.
The case involves a Pasadena company called Spokeo, which operates a “people search” website that instantaneously pulls together information from publicly available sources.
The company says it helps users “know more about the people in their lives.” It does this by providing “access to social-media profiles, court records, criminal records, names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, marital status and more.”
Spokeo (rhymes with Tokyo) is one of dozens of such online services that have turned once difficult-to-obtain data into a readily available commodity, making it much harder for people to keep sensitive or embarrassing personal info under wraps.
A Virginia resident named Thomas Robins sued Spokeo in 2011, alleging that the information about him on the site was largely erroneous. According to the suit, Spokeo “incorrectly stated that he was in his 50s, that he was married, that he was employed in a professional or technical field, and that he has children.”
Robins alleges that Spokeo violated federal law by not making reasonable efforts to confirm the info before selling it to third parties. The lawsuit says Robins, who was unemployed at the time, may have lost job opportunities as a result of Spokeo’s inaccurate information.
This caused “actual harm in the form of anxiety, stress, concern, and/or worry about his diminished employment prospects,” it says.
“Spokeo’s business model was predicated on putting up tons of information about people and wreaking havoc on people’s lives,” Robins’ lawyer, Jay Edelson, told me.
For the last six years, the two sides have been wrangling over Robins’ standing to bring the lawsuit. The initial complaint was tossed out by a district judge on the grounds that Robins hadn’t shown he experienced genuine harm.
After all, the allegedly inaccurate information about Robins doesn’t seem that inflammatory, and he doesn’t say for sure that he lost a job opportunity as a result of Spokeo’s site.
Nevertheless, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated the lawsuit, saying the case had sufficient merit to move forward. Then, at Spokeo’s request, the U.S. Supreme Court weighed in.
In a 6-2 ruling, the high court ruled that Robins must show “real” harm for his lawsuit to go forward. It told the 9th Circuit to take another look.
And now it has. A three-judge panel of the appellate court ruled the other day that “Robins had alleged injuries that were sufficiently concrete” to merit a lawsuit.
Marc Rotenberg, president of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, said the decision means “consumers will now have their day in court.”
“There is no guarantee of success,” he said. “But at least courts will now be expected to hear consumer privacy cases. And if more of these cases are heard, companies will eventually develop better data-protection practices.”
Edelson said his next step is to seek class-action status for Robins’ lawsuit, which potentially could open the case to thousands of people who believe their personal info was misused by Spokeo.
“Companies like this touch a lot of people and they’re doing a lot of damage,” he said.
Companies like this touch a lot of people and they’re doing a lot of damage.
Jay Edelson, lawyer for the plaintiff Thomas Robins
As it happens, one of my columns is cited in Robins’ lawsuit. The column was from June 2010, after I’d sat down for a chat with the co-founder and chief executive of Spokeo, Harrison Tang.
The jaw-dropping takeaway from that conversation was how aggressively Tang, now 34, protected his own privacy even as he exposed others’ lives to scrutiny. He wouldn’t even let me into Spokeo’s offices, choosing instead to meet at a Pasadena coffee shop.
More tellingly, Tang had removed his own personal information from the site’s searches. “I was getting a lot of e-mails and threats,” he told me. “It was decided by others at the company, and by lawyers, that it would be better if I opted out.”
A Spokeo spokeswoman, Vanessa Waite, declined to make Tang available for another interview. Instead, she provided a statement saying that “Spokeo is disappointed that the Ninth Circuit concluded that the alleged inaccuracies about Mr. Robins satisfied the Supreme Court’s actual harm standard.”
The company says it will “vigorously defend” its position when the case returns to the district court.
I’ve had a love/hate relationship with people-search sites. As a reporter, it’s undeniably useful to have online services that can quickly comb through public records and make information available.
As a consumer, I’m frustrated that personal information that once was largely out of reach to all but the most diligent seekers is now easily obtained. These services are a stalker’s best friend.
I also resent that people-search companies are profiting from my info without my say-so. And I’m especially troubled that so much of what’s on these sites is flat-out wrong.
Spokeo’s fine print ducks responsibility for the accuracy of its information. “Spokeo does not verify this public information,” it declares, and “makes no guarantees to Spokeo users about the accuracy, legitimacy or legality of any information or how recently any information was collected or updated.”
In other words, it could be total garbage — not our problem.
But that’s exactly what Robins is getting at in his lawsuit. He never gave permission for Spokeo to maintain a digital dossier on his life, nor did he authorize the company to sell his information for a fee of $13.95 a month, or $29.70 for six months’ membership.
“In the Spokeo case, the company argued that people can only sue when they can identify, for example, a job interview lost because of Spokeo’s unreasonable record-keeping,” said Lauren Willis, a Loyola Law School professor.
The 9th Circuit, she said, decided in its latest ruling “that you can sue a company when it does not take sufficient care to ensure accuracy and produces false reports about you, even if you cannot identify a particular job opportunity you lost or car loan for which you were overcharged.”
You can opt out from having your information listed on Spokeo, but I found the process needlessly complex and confusing. Also, the site says that even if you opt out, it will still display any court records that pertain to you unless you can prove the records have been expunged or sealed.
In 2012, Spokeo paid $800,000 to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that it sold people’s information “to companies in the human resources, background screening and recruiting industries” without taking steps to comply with the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act.
The site now stresses that the company isn’t a credit reporting agency and thus isn’t subject to the law, which requires that credit agencies “follow reasonable procedures to assure maximum possible accuracy.”
Willis said it’s debatable whether Spokeo can evade legal responsibilities by simply declaring that it’s not a credit reporting agency, particularly if its reports are available to employers and lenders. She cited the “walks like a duck” legal theory.
My solution is creation of a do-not-aggregate list, modeled on the do-not-call list. Consumers would be able, through the FTC, to opt out of having their personal information compiled for commercial purposes by people-search businesses that fail to meet the standards of the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
Any company that includes someone’s information after such an opt-out would be in violation of the law and subject to a penalty. The fine for violating the do-not-call list currently is as much as $40,654 per call.
Spokeo’s Tang didn’t want his own info out there. He’s no different from the rest of us.
David Lazarus’ column runs Tuesdays and Fridays. He also can be seen daily on KTLA-TV Channel 5 and followed on Twitter @Davidlaz. Send your tips or feedback to [email protected]
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Spokeo is a popular background check service that has been around for quite some time. They also offer a business version of their popular people search engine that helps businesses find and validate potential customers. The service is also helpful for finding old friends, classmates, or employees who are out there somewhere in the world.
Spokeo Features Overview
Spokeo is a company that started in 2006 intending to simplify the digital lifestyle. They are now striving to make people’s search simple, and they’ve attracted millions of more visitors every month since 2010 when their “people search engine” was launched.
Spokeo is one of the many public records search websites for people looking into their potential employee’s background information and past behavior or history. You can find out how long they’ve been in business if there have been any complaints lodged against them by browsing through civil judgments filed with state court systems (even those that were lost) as well as seeing what other companies they might belong to.
As a background check service, it cannot screen for compliance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act. It serves as an asset search instead of tenant screening or employee research.
Spokeo is not a company that helps you find out more about people, but rather contact information only. For example, they can’t be used to see if someone would be a good worker, or for credit checks, or screening tenants as defined by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).
Screenshot from the Spokeo website.
Image Credit: Spokeo.com / Spokeo Inc.
Spokeo is an online service for finding more contact information on people, holding themselves to values and beliefs to be transparent and trustworthy when it comes to data.
If you are looking for somebody, then you might find them on Spokeo. If they don’t have a social media account or email address listed in their public records, that can still be found through a people search engine like this one.
If you want to know where somebody has been, Spokeo can help. They have databases for public records like tax filings and civil judgments that go back as far as 2006.
Family and Associates
Spokeo can help you find family members, classmates and old friends. It has databases that show information on companies a person might belong to, and their education history.
Spokeo Chrome Extension
Currently, there is not a Spokeo Google Chrome extension available to download.
Spokeo Database Coverage
Spokeo is a search engine that contains over 12 billion public records. These include criminal records, marriage licenses, divorces, and background checks. Anything you need to know about anyone online.
Spokeo Apple Store App
Spokeo currently does not offer an app for iOS.
Spokeo Google Play Store App
There is a Spokeo Google Play app available to download and install from the Google Play Store for your Android.
Titled “Spokeo: People Search” and listed under the “Tools” category, Spokeo has over 3,036 user reviews rating it 3.6 out of 5 stars on average. It also shows 100,000+ users installed the Spokeo plugin.
Spokeo People Search: screenshot from the Google Play App Store.
Image Credit: Spokeo Inc. / Google Play.
Spokeo Products and Solutions
Spokeo solutions break down into these categories:
Reverse Address Lookup
Spokeo’s Residential Address lookup allows people to search the property ownership information of a home and its residents. This allows users to see who lives at that specific address.
Image screenshot of the Spokeo Reverse Address Lookup page.
Image Credit: Spokeo.com / Spokeo Inc.
Reverse Email Lookup
Spokeo Email Search is the fastest and most effective way to find and contact someone on the Internet. With one search, you’ll know all of their information: name, address, phone number(s) (including unlisted numbers), email addresses, marital status, as well as links to social media profiles with photos, and more.
Image screenshot of the Spokeo Reverse Email Lookup page.
Image Credit: Spokeo.com / Spokeo Inc.
Reverse Phone Lookup
Spokeo is a popular search engine that searches through millions of phone records and provides you with free record information in seconds.
Image screenshot of the Spokeo Reverse Phone check page.
Image Credit: Spokeo.com / Spokeo Inc.
Check Criminal Records
Spokeo Court Record Search is a fast, convenient way to gather information on federal and state court cases. This search includes records from over 600 million court cases originating from 1400 courthouses across the USA. Read descriptive details about the offense, disposition date, sentencing information, filing date, and much more.
Image screenshot of the Spokeo Check criminal record page.
Image Credit: Spokeo.com / Spokeo Inc.
Spokeo Pricing Plans (Monthly, Quarterly, Annual)
Spokeo offers both monthly and annual payment options, but they do not offer trial periods for any search.
Spokeo offers two price plans: its non-premium plan, which costs $23.76/month, and its quarterly plan, which is priced at $13.75 / month.
Both offer the same function, but unlike the more expensive one, none include unlimited searches or those that carryovers to a future month.
If you decide you no longer want to use Spokeo you can cancel your membership or package plan to avoid being continually billed.
Spokeo Free Trial Offer
Spokeo currently does not have a free trial offer listed on their website.
Spokeo currently does not have integrations with other platforms or tools.
Spokeo is an user-friendly public records search engine and people finder. It’s great to find someone, run background checks, or get peace of mind.
Image screenshot of the Spokeo people search page.
Image Credit: Spokeo.com / Spokeo Inc.
Spokeo Founders and Team
Spokeo was founded in 2006 by Mike Daly, Harrison Tang, Ray Chen, and Eric Liang.
Read more about Spokeo here.
The Spokeo Corporate Headquarters is located in Pasadena, CA.
If you want to contact them, call them at 1 (888) 558-9004 or email at Customercare <at> spokeo.com
Find the Spokeo blog here.
Spokeo Social Media
Social media accounts include: Twitter @Spokeo, Facebook @Spokeo, Linkedin @Spokeo, and others, including Spokeo YouTube Videos.
Spokeo YouTube Video Demo
How to Use Spokeo to Find Anyone
Video of Spokeo from YouTube channel.
Latest Tweets from Spokeo
Tweets from Spokeo’s Twitter account @Spokeo.
Latest Facebook Posts from Spokeo
Post from Spokeo’s Facebook account @Spokeo.
Latest Linkedin Post from Spokeo
Post from Spokeo’s Linkedin account @Spokeo.
Spokeo Customer Service, Help, and Support
Here is the Spokeo support and help area for frequently asked questions (FAQs).
How to Contact Spokeo?
By phone: 1 (888) 558-9004 or by email: support <at> mailer.Spokeo.com.
Top Best Spokeo Alternatives
These are some top alternative best background check services to Spokeo you can use to uncover email addresses and cell phone numbers.
This is a partial list of background check companies and is current for 2021 and will continually be updated during the 2021 year.
• Swordfish AI (swordfish.ai)
• Intelius (Intelius.com)
• Pipl (pipl.com)
• Radaris (radaris.com)
• BeenVerified (BeenVerified.com)
Swordfish AI, BeenVerified, Intelius, Radaris, Pipl, Zoominfo, DiscoverOrg, Clearbit, ContactOut, AeroLeads, Voila Norbert, Lusha, UpLead, instant checkmate, and others.
Read other authentic Spokeo Reviews on Techjury.net.
Spokeo Pros and Cons
Have you had any experience using Spokeo?
Share your thoughts on Spokeo as a helpful tool to find productivity contacts. What were the pros and cons?
Here are some pros and cons shared for you:
- Use the search function by typing in the person’s social media network username.
- Real-time searches
- Limited searches per month
- Many options are difficult to find.
Conclusion and Summary
Spokeo is a paid service that helps people perform background checks on others, but it costs money first, and they may not always yield the desired results. Leave your feedback in a comment about Spokeo and any other similar services you have used.
Cover Image Licensed from: 123RF.com / Videoflow.