What are data brokers? Spokeo, White Pages, Intelius, Been Verified, People Finders

DeleteMeFeaturesHow-TosPrivacy

Written by:

Who are these Data Brokers? Spokeo, White Pages, Been Verified, People Finder

Data Brokers: corporations that collect large swaths of personally identifiable information (PII) and package it all together to create “profiles” with identifying tags. These tags include everything from Social Security Numbers and birthdays, to the Type of Roof on your house and “motorcycle enthusiast”. (For a Full List of Profile ID Tags, Check out the FTC Report p. 97-100).

These information profiles are sold to advertisers, ex-whatevers, snoopers, marketers, employers, data mining corporations, and large insurance agencies at hefty prices, while you are non-participant in the transactions or the profit generated from your own personal information. In today’s world of big data, it makes sense for large companies to have data-based consumer interactions, but it also brings up a slew of questions and concerns regarding privacy and fairness.

Data brokers (Spokeo, Intelius, Been Verified) ranked by monthly search volume

Data brokers (Spokeo, Intelius, Been Verified) ranked by monthly search volume

 

Data Brokers like Spokeo, White pages, People Finders, Been Verified, and Intelius are a privacy problem

Let’s examine an identifying tag from the FTC report mentioned above: “Participation in Outdoor Activities (including Skiing, Motorcycling, Golfing, etc)”. If this tag is provided to an insurance company, they may associate it with risky behavior and increase your base monthly premium cost. In reality, you may have simply been researching skiing lessons for a family trip and didn’t even end up being able to go, but were still given this identifying tag. The problem’s complexity is highlighted by the lack of transparency by data brokers that are actually doing the tagging.

data brokers collect, buy and sell your personal data

When it comes to advertising, most people are aware that our Social Media or what we search for on Google (or any search engine really) is recorded and used for specific targeting. However, the darker side of data collection lies in the data you consider private. Legally, there are zero online privacy laws in the United States. According to another FTC report, “there are no current laws requiring data brokers to maintain the privacy of consumer data unless they use that data for credit, employment, insurance, housing, or other similar purposes.” In these small concessions, the specifics fall into a gray area and the enforcement nearly non-existent.

As your data shuttles around the world in unsecure data packets, your risk exposure and of identity theft skyrockets.

[READ: The Hacked Data Broker? Be Very Afraid]

Real Results from Real Data Brokers: Spokeo, Been Verified, Intelius, US Search, People Finders

If you’ve ever tried to find someone online just by performing a google search, you’ve probably stumbled onto a data broker site without even realizing the kind of website you were visiting. While these websites make heart-felt claims about reconnecting old classmates or lost loved ones, it’s clear that they’re really just trying to make a quick buck off of your personal information.

We’ve looked into these top 5 data broker websites, and here’s what we found; the results might shock you:

data-broker-comparison-blog

Spokeo Search Results, Spokeo Opt Out

Price of Basic Report: $13.95 for basic membership and access
Info Found: Name, Address, Age, Phone Number, Relatives, Education, Past Addresses,

Example Spokeo Report

Personal info found on spokeo report

Personal info found on Spokeo report

Home address info found on spokeo report

Home Address info found on Spokeo report

 

Relatives info found on spokeo report

Relatives of search target found on Spokeo report

personal details found on spokeo report

Personal details of search target found on Spokeo report

 

How to Opt Out from Spokeo People Search

  1. First, find your information listing(s), go to https://www.spokeo.com
  2. At spokeo.com, search for your listings by name, city and state or phone number. Once you find your listing(s), open each listing into a new tab so you can easily keep track
  3. Complete opt-outs for each listing that is yours: Go to: https://www.spokeo.com/optout
  4. To opt out, enter the link and an email address for your confirmation (use a Blur Masked Email address for added privacy)

PLEASE NOTE: You must click on the link sent to your email to confirm opt out of each listing individually.

 

Been Verified Search Results, Been Verified Opt Out

Price of Basic Report: $26.89 for basic membership and access
Info Found: Name, Address, Age, Phone Number, Relatives, Education, Past Addresses, Email Addresses

 

Example Been Verified Report

Personal info found on Been Verified

Personal info of search target found on Been Verified

contact info found on Been Verified

Contact info of search target found on Been Verified

email addresses found on Been Verified

Email Addresses of search target found on Been Verified

home address info and house image found on Been Verified

Home address info and house image of search target found on Been Verified

Info of relatives found on Been Verified

Info of Relatives of search target found on Been Verified

How to Opt Out from Been Verified

  1. Search for your Been Verified listing(s) directly using this link – https://www.beenverified.com/f/optout/search
  2. Please note the searches can take a few minutes to perform
  3. When you find your listing, click on the link which will bring you to an opt out page
  4. Enter an email address for opt-out confirmation (use a Blur Masked Email address for added privacy)
  5. From here you will be emailed confirmation of your removal request

PLEASE NOTE: You must click on the link sent to your email to confirm opt out of each listing individually.

 

Intelius Search Results, Intelius Opt Out

Price of Basic Report: $0.95
Info Found: Name, Address, Age, Phone Number, Relatives, Education, Past Addresses

Example Intelius Report

Personal info found on Intelius

Personal info of search target found on Intelius

Explore connections of search target on Intelius

Explore connections of search target on Intelius

home address info and image of home found on Intelius

Home address info and image of home of search target found on Intelius

Info of relatives of search target found on Intelius

Info of relatives of search target found on Intelius

 

How to Opt Out from Intelius

  1. Search for your Intelius listing(s) directly using this link – https://www.intelius.com/optout
  2. When you find your listing, click on the orange box that says “Select and Continue”
  3. From here, you must complete the captcha code and enter your email address for confirmation (use a Blur Masked Email address for added privacy)
  4. Once the opt out is submitted, you will be emailed a link to confirm the removal

PLEASE NOTE: You must click on the link sent to your email to confirm opt out of each listing individually.

 

People Smart Search Results (powered by Been Verified), People Smart Opt Out

Price of Basic Report: $26.89 for basic membership and access
Info Found: Name, Address, Age, Phone Number, Relatives, Education, Past Addresses, Email Addresses

 

Example People Smart Report

Personal info found on Been Verified

Personal info of search target found on People Smart

contact info found on Been Verified

Contact info of search target found on People Smart

email addresses found on Been Verified

Email Addresses of search target found on People Smart

home address info and house image found on Been Verified

Home address info and house image of search target found on People Smart

Info of relatives found on Been Verified

Info of Relatives of search target found on People Smart

How to Opt Out from People Smart

  1. Search for your People Smart listing(s) directly using this link: peoplesmart.com/optout
  2. Search by your listing(s) by name and city and state or advance your search to narrow down further
  3. When you find your listing (s), click the green button that says “That’s The One”
  4. A box will pop up – Click on the option for “Yourself” and then click the green button that says “Submit”
  5. Next you will need to verify your email (use a Blur Masked Email address for added privacy)
  6. Click on the “Im Not A Robot” box and then click the green button that says “Send Verification”
  7. Once this is done, you will be emailed a direct link to confirm the opt-out

PLEASE NOTE: You must click on the link sent to your email to confirm opt out of each listing individually.

 

People Finders Search Results, People Finders Opt Out

Price of Basic Report: $1.95
Info Found: Name, Address, Age, Phone Number, Relatives, Past Addresses, Email Addresses

Example People Finders Report

Personal info found on People Finders

Personal info of search target found on People Finders

home address info and image of home of search target found on People Finders

Home address info and image of home of search target found on People Finders

How to Opt Out from People Finders

  1. Search for your People Finders listing(s) directly, using the following link: https://www.peoplefinders.com/manage
  2. Once you have found your listing(s) you will want to click on the orange button that says “This Is Me”
  3. On the next page, click on the blue button that says “Opt Out Of My Info”
  4. On the next page, check both boxes and click on “Continue”
  5. On the next page you will be given the opportunity to “Buy Your Report” or “Opt Out”
  6. Click on Opt Out and you will be brought to a confirmation page

 

How can you stop what you can’t see? Opt out of Spokeo, Opt out of Been Verified, Opt out of Intelius

While there are hundreds of databroker websites, a dozen of the larger corporations control a significant portion of the flow of information. These sites have “Opt Out” processes that involves going to each individual data broker website and filling out a tedious form. Each time you complete an opt-out, you’re only removing the data that the website currently has at the time. If the data broker receives new data, your PII will repopulate, and you’d have to fill out a new opt-out form to remove the new information.

And yes, you guessed it, you have no way of knowing if they have more new personal information about you.

The data broker problem may seem like an impossible one to overcome — how can I remove myself from online data broker sites and prevent the flow of personal information when I don’t know who has it, what they have, or what they do with it?

Abine DeleteMe

There’s a couple options here:

1. Spend countless hours going through each website yourself, combing the web for your PII while filling out tedious opt-out forms. (We’ve provided instructions above, but we also have a full DIY Opt-Out Guide)

OR

2. Use DeleteMe by Abine to do the work for you. DeleteMe is a hands-free subscription service that fills out all the forms and removes your information from the leading data broker sites. DeleteMe will also periodically go back and repeat the data removal process to prevent repopulation.

 

The sheer number of online Data Brokers is constantly growing as an increasing amount of information shifts to online platforms. These Data Brokers are in a win-win industry. With no regulation on the horizon for data brokers, it is imperative to keep your PII secure and minimize the risk of identity theft. Even a single piece of PII floating online can lead to a compromised identity. Data from unknowing consumers is regularly repopulating on these websites, while the process and timing of data repopulation is a mystery to the general pubic, making it impossible to continuously fill out the Opt-Out forms at dozens of data broker websites. Alternatively, DeleteMe can do the heavy lifting for you and remove your PII without sinking any of your time in the tedious process.

Sign up for DeleteMe today.

 

About Abine

Abine, Inc. is The Online Privacy Company. Founded in 2009 by MIT engineers and financial experts, Abine’s mission is to provide easy-to-use online privacy tools and services to everybody who wants them. Abine’s tools are built for consumers to help them control the personal information companies, third parties, and other people see about them online.

Blur by Abine is the only password manager and digital wallet that also blocks trackers, and helps users remain private online by providing ‘Masked’ information whenever companies are asking for personal information.

DeleteMe by Abine is a hands-free subscription service that removes personal information from public online databases, data brokers, and people search websites.

Abine’s solutions have been trusted by over 25 million people worldwide.

 

 

9 Replies to “What are data brokers? Spokeo, White Pages, Intelius, Been Verified, People Finders”

  1. RANDALL L RUTZ says:

    I WISH TO ORDER DELETE ME, BUT I WISH YOU WOULD HAVE MADE
    MORE CLEAR THE DISTINCTION BETWEEN ‘BASIC’ AND ‘STANDARD’
    VERSIONS OF DELETE ME. WOULD YOU PLEASE EMAIL ME THE
    DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THEM, AND THEN I CAN ORDER ONE OR THE
    OTHER FOR JUST MYSELF.

    THANK YOU,

    RANDALL L RUTZ

  2. Will Simonds says:

    Hey John, check out the full list of websites that DeleteMe removes from here: http://abine.com/deleteme/sitesweremovefrom.php

    We’re constantly testing new sites, and we’re in the progress of adding a bunch of new sites to our standard plans, so stay tuned. If you ever have a request, feel free to email us at deleteme [at] get abine [dot] com, we’re always listening!

    -WIll

  3. USPS says:

    I think GDPR is good for anti spamming and data protection

  4. Used the first one. Ever/

Leave a Reply