What does Spokeo offer?
Spokeo advertises itself as a “people search engine” that provides information on individuals’ White Page listings, social profiles, emails, usernames, court and other public records. You can input one of several different qualifiers to get started: name, email, phone number, username or geographic address.
The following site descriptor provides additional information about Spokeo and its services:
“Spokeo is the most popular free people search engine in the United States. Spokeo aggregates and organizes vast quantities of people-related information from a large variety of public online and offline sources. The public data is amassed with lightning speed, and presented almost instantly in an integrated, coherent, and easy-to-follow format.
With Spokeo’s revolutionary people finder, you can locate virtually any one of the 300 million people living in the United States within seconds. Use Spokeo to find your long lost friend or your loved one by entering his/her full name, email address, or phone number. Spokeo will then return that person’s available address, email, phone, photos, and any other public information. If you do not remember the person’s name, you can browse through the following people search directory by locating the first name first, then the last name second.”
Spokeo Review – How easy is it to use?
Inputting a person’s qualifier, such as their full name, results in a fairly quickly generated search results page. This page provides very basic information about the person being searched, such as their email, phone number, and geographic address.
Additional data, such as the person’s social media profile(s), court records, neighborhood information, etc., are provided in their own unique blocks, which you click on to populate the information.
When I attempted to click on any one of these blocks, I was prompted to sign up for a monthly membership of three or six months.
Spokeo payment plans are as follows: Currently, it’s $4.95/month for the 3 month membership, and $3.95/month for the 6 month membership. Although not overtly advertised, Spokeo also offers a $19.95 per single month plan.
Admittedly, these are some super cheap monthly plans for a search service.
Even better, when I tried to leave the Spokeo site at this point, I was provided with an offer to try the service for a super-low $0.95 weekly trial period. I decided this was a great bargain, so I used my credit card to sign up for the 7 day trial.
At this point, Spokeo allowed me to finish my initial name search.
How accurate is Spokeo?
My first concern with using Spokeo was when I examined the information provided to me on a person I know very well. I found that the search page results contained several incorrect values, namely for this person’s age, current phone number and birthday.
The only accurate piece was his current physical location.
Regarding this person’s family, I saw only one family member listed, even though this person’s rather large family lives in and around his current geographic location. Many of those family members have this person’s last name.
When I researched the one found family member, I saw that the Spokeo report on him was also inaccurate for critical information like current address. This was surprising to me because that family member has been living at a single family residence for the last eight years.
I also searched on my own name and, although Spokeo did list my current and past addresses correctly, it assumed that I was residing at a house I sold nine months ago. This made me wonder how often Spokeo updates its data banks.
I then tried to perform a more in-depth Spokeo search for my court records. I was not allowed access to those records unless I paid a $2.95/month fee for a one-time search fee of $49.95.
This additional fee surprised me because, at least in my experience, court records are very easy to locate online. In fact, most U.S. states offer court records for free via online databases or through the Freedom of Information Act online/paper request.
When I tried looking for my own public photos and social profiles, I was again blocked and prompted to pay a monthy or one-time fee.
The Spokeo site has tabs at the top that can be used to search someone based on their name, email address, phone number, username and address. On a whim, I decided to input my person’s email address to perhaps locate more information on him. When I did so, Spokeo tantalizingly informed me that this person had shopping and dating site profiles available. However, when I tried to access that information, I was again prompted to pay $4.95/month for this extra info or $4.95 for a single email report.
Spokeo also offers neighborhood data, including average property value, average household income, and top area occupations. I found much of these data to be irrelevant to the kind of information most people would be looking for. To begin with, this kind of information has nothing to do with the person of interest. Personally, I see it as filler.
At this point, there was no further information I could extract from Spokeo on my person of interest or on myself.
How is Spokeo’s pricing?
For example, here is the legal disclaimer located at the bottom of my prompt to purchase the email service. Such disclaimers popped up for any “add on” service, whether for court records, social profiles, etc.
Something else that I discovered is that Spokeo places monthly search quota limits for members who have premium subscriptions. Within this imposed quota, unused searches do not roll over into the following month. All searches count towards this quote, even those that provide few or no results. However, members can increase their monthly quota by upgrading (i.e., paying more for) their accounts.
How easy is it to cancel Spokeo?
Spokeo members can cancel online by going into their accounts and hitting “Cancel” on whichever Spokeo service they no longer want. You can also cancel by calling the general Spokeo phone number, but the phone tree recordings “nudge” you to go online.
Once you cancel a Spokeo service, you receive an email confirmation of the cancellation.
Overall, it’s a pretty straightforward process and terms are explained very well on the website.
Would I recommend Spokeo?
Yes, but you have to be aware of the various charges involved. If you want to use Spokeo, it IS possible to cancel later, so don’t expect to stumble upon a scam.
There are many shady people search engines out there, and there are many legit ones that will charge you. The lines are sometimes blurred between the two because of this. Just because Spokeo wants to make money out of its service, doesn’t mean you should avoid it. If you have a need, it will do the job.