The internet is filled with fathomless information. Anything you want to know is just a search away. However, as I recently realized, there are numerous search engines for searching things on the web, but when it came to searching for people, most of them hit a dead end.
Well, let me back up a little. We moved all across the country when I was growing up. As a matter of fact, we never stayed more than a couple of years in one city. During the course of several cities and numerous friends, it became difficult for me to keep a track of all my friends from all those cities. With everyone being online these days, I decided to track some my oldest buddies down. At first I thought it must be really easy, right? All I need to do is just type in their name and email address into a search engine and viola! I would be presented with everything I want to know about them.
To be honest, I could track some of them down. As it turns out, they were pretty active on social media and we had some connection through friends and such. However, some of them just vanished. Even after spending days online, I could not find any reliable and pertinent information. I thought to myself, how great it would be if we had a search engine for people!
Soon, I came across Spokeo and guess what, they advertise themselves as ‘people search engine’! I mean they do exactly what I was looking for. I immediately knew that I had found the solution to my problem. I was able to track each of my friend down to their current address using Spokeo and my experience was nothing short of spectacular for reverse email lookup!
Stick around as I take you through the Spokeo’s people search in detail so that you can track down an old friend or a loved one just like I did.
What is Spokeo
As I mentioned earlier, Spokeo is a search engine for people. It provides information on individuals living in USA that is available on a huge repository of public records such as white page listings, social media profiles, emails, usernames and even courts. The best part is you can choose to search using a number of qualifiers including name, email address, social media screen name, phone number or the last known geographic address.
It is one of the most popular people search engines in the USA that is free. The sophisticated algorithm of Spokeo scours through a vast amount of data that is a part of public record on any individual to come up with the latest information about their current whereabouts and other pertinent information.
It is possible to virtually locate almost any one of the 300 million Americans with Spokeo’s people search.
How to get started with Spokeo
It is very easy to get started. You will be able to sign up at spokeo.com and start searching within no time. Once you create an account, all you have to do is to enter a valid qualifier such as a name, an email id, an address or a phone number and hit search, that’s it!
The search results are displayed very quickly and provide some basic information about the person being searched. Additional information such as court records, neighborhood information, or social media page etc., are shown in clickable blocks that you can use to get additional information.
What information do you get from Spokeo?
In the testing that I performed, I searched for a specific person on the site. The result was a full page of contact information for the particular person searched. In addition to the basic information, Spokeo offers you a slew of special search services including family background, household members, spouse information and many more, if it is a part of the public record.
Also, social media profiles and photos are available at no additional charge. One of the most amazing thing about Spokeo’s algorithm is the fact it also searches through a number of music sites, video sites and shopping sites and even blogs to populate the information. Although with all these sources taken into consideration, the information from these is sometimes not that accurate compared to the personal information that is available in the basic search using Spokeo.
I decided to put Spokeo to the test by searching for a friend of mine who has been trying to stay off the grid by not making his last several address public. To my amazement, Spokeo was not only able to track his last known address down, it also revealed his phone number and marital status! Although I had to do a little bit of digging to get all the information down. None the less, I was able to track him down.
Cost of using Spokeo service
The basic information is free on Spokeo. You can search a person on the website for free and find out the reported locations of their residence. However, if you want to have more details, you will have to opt for a monthly membership service.
There are many continent rate plans that Spokeo.com offers. Currently, they offer a one-month membership that will set you back $13.95. They also have a three-month membership that costs $7.95 a month. However, the best deal is a 6-month membership that will cost you just $4.95 a month.
If you want to try out the service for some time before you decide on joining for a long term commitment, you can go for a 7-day trial. At just $0.95 for 7 days, it is a steal.
Is Spokeo a Scam or Legit?
The kind of information that Spokeo is able to pull sounds very personal and sure sounds like an invasion of privacy. So, the concerns of its legitimacy are valid. However, one thing I noticed was the all the information that Spokeo was pulling off from m all its resources was in fact, part of the public record. Information such as social media profiles, Flickr images or even Pandora playlists are part of public record.
So, at heart, Spokeo is nothing but a data mining tool that makes all the available data on a person available to its user. That, to me sounds pretty legit. I don’t think that Spokeo is doing anything that will sabotage a person’s right to privacy and furthermore, you can apply to remove yourself form the Spokeo searches so that you will not be featured in the results.
I searched through the lengths and breadths of many Spokeo review sites and found no evidence of this site being a scam at all. In my limited opinion, Spokeo seems to be legit operation.
One of the most important fact to be noted is that although the information dispensed by Spokeo is not illegal, there are limitations on the usage of that obtained information. Every page of the website features warnings about how not to use the information gathered on Skopeo.com. It is very clearly mentioned that any such information can not be used for:
– Employment screening
– Credit eligibility, or
– Volunteer screening
In fact, using any information obtained form Spokeo or any such service is a direct violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).
Is Spokeo Accurate?
Now this is a murky situation. I searched several people I know to check the accuracy of the whole system itself and I must say, the results were not stellar. I mean, for some people I did find an accurate information regarding most of the things including their families, but for some, even the phone numbers were not correct.
I guess the accuracy of the information on my individual depends on the information that is out there about that person. I tried to use one of the competitors of Skopeo.com to search the same person and the information available was even more limited. In my opinion, Spokeo does not go beyond what is legally possible to do in order to find information about someone, hence sometimes, results can be a bit inaccurate. To me, that is very understandable.
If you want to find more correct and current information, you can search people related to that person so that you can get a better idea on the whereabouts of the person that you are trying to find in the first place.
The one thing that bothered me though was the fact that I was charged an extra fee in order to see the court records of someone I was trying to search. I mean the court records are a part of public information and are protected under the right to information act. I did not like that Spokeo was charging me for what is that easily available and that too for free!
How good is Spokeo?
After testing Spokeo.com for a couple of weeks, I found out that it is really a good website that can help you find friends and loved ones whom you have lost contact with for some reason or the other.
There are many reviews of the site all over the internet. Some of the reviews are very favorable while some are very bad. One has to remember that the reviews are very personal and do not apply on a universal scale.
I used the site for a couple of weeks in a capacity that a person looking for a lost friend would use it. I was not trying to find any super-detailed account of the person I was looking for; neither was I trying to spy on them. All I was looking for was some information that might link me to the particular person. Hence I think my views are more catered to users who wish to find their loved ones just like I did.
I thoroughly tested the service and here are my impressions on various aspects of the site:
- Criteria for search
One of the best things I liked about the whole experience was that the flexibility of usable search criteria. I was able to search people based on their name, email ID, social media profile name or geographical address. I really liked this feature as there were many friends I wanted to search and the only thing I remembered was their name, or just a very very old email id. Even with just a username, I was able to find a plethora of information which led me to the person I was looking for in minutes!
- Great cancellation policy
Although when you sign up for Spokeo.com, you commit for a certain period of time, an early cancellation does not burden you with a penalty. For example, if you have opted for a 6-month service and you happen to cancel three months in, there is no additional charge for the early termination. This is very unique to Skopeo.com as many of the competitor sites can make leaving difficult once you have locked in for a specific period of time.
- Support and customer service
I was particularly impressed with the number of resources available in the form of FAQs on the site. Almost any question you might have is taken care of in the FAQ section. In case you do come up with a query that is not on the list, the cordial and very helpful staff can solve the problem in no time. I was able to get answers to my questions sent to the customer care within 24 hours.
- You can remove yourself from Spokeo
One of the neat features of the site is the fact that you can apply to get yourself removed from the site altogether! All you need to do is follow the following steps:
- Perform a search for the individual you want to be removed from the database.
- Copy the URL and enter that persons URL on www.spokeo.com/optout
- Enter your email ID to receive an opt-out email confirmation to complete the opt-out process.
That all. However, removing the information from Spokeo does not mean that you have completely deleted your information form other resources as well. All the pertinent information such as your social media profile, court record etc., will still be there. Its just that Spokeo will not show it to its customers.
Cons to Spokeo
As with everything else, Spokeo is not perfect. I did have some problems with it mainly regarding the fees. I did not like the fact that despite the fact that I was on a monthly plan, I had to incur an extra fee for any extra service over and above the basic information.
For example, I did have to pay extra amount of money to get someone’s court records or social profiles. Similarly, the email search subscription costs and additional $4.95 each month.
Although I appreciate the fact that the information provided is of value, the price structure seems to be a tad misleading at just $4.95 a month, as there will be additional charges levied on you for getting more information.
All they need to do is give the customers an all-inclusive price upfront to avoid confusion and frustration on the customer’s part.
Do I recommend Spokeo?
The resounding answer to this question is a yes! I would surely recommend it to any person who is trying to find lost friend or a loved one and has exhausted all the means of finding them online. Its is a great tool to get hold of those long lost people and bring them back into your life.
There are many shady websites out there that claim to do a similar job. However, with Spokeo, you can be assured that the information you are getting is legit and legal. Although the service does come at a premium, I think it is well worth every cent!
If you are looking for a strong search engine to search people you have lost contact with, look no further. Spokeo is the one for you. It has a very simple interface to help you get the job done. With over 70 databases at its disposal, Spokeo is pretty accurate and reliable.
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Malware, adware and data breaches are on the rise. Informing the world and demystifying the dark world of cyber crime is what I live for.
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