Please be sure to read the entire post before deciding to take any action at the website mentioned below.
There's a new (new to me) website that's on the internet now that crawls the internet to gather/collect information. I'm sure there are others out there, and like them, if you pay a "nominal" fee, you can access "more" information. The problem is... you may not need to pay for anything to gather more information than you would be comfortable releasing to the world.
The website is spokeo.com. It's calling itself "Not your grandma's phonebook." When a FB friend brought this site to my attention, I was curious and typed in my own name. Easily navigating through the links (breaking it down by State, City...) I found that I was indeed listed twice: once at my parents' residence, and also at my current residence. What's more discouraging and disturbing to find was that it had my entire family listed (name of my parents, siblings), the phone number, that my family had been in that location for X-number of years... property value, link to your google-photo of the house, etc...
It's the perfect site for identity thieves to shop for a new persona. Now I realize posting this here may be a catch-22... leading potential crooks to go identity shopping. But the website is already there, and those who plan to do ill probably already know it by now. So by bringing this to your attention, hopefully, some of you (who may or may not be listed, yet) can get your listing removed.
The website claims that it simply gathers information that's already available. Well, that's fine. I'm sure they can hide behind the legal mumble jumble and it simply means those with the technological savvy can still get whatever info they want on you. However, this type of website offers the small-time crooks a very powerful tool.
Take this post for what it's worth. If you believe me, do your own search and you might be surprise who you find: a sibling, a best friend, an old high-school crush, even your worst enemy? But if you can find them, they likely can find you too (as soon as this website's spiders/crawlers are done gathering your data). If you don't believe me, then continue on and forget you saw this post.
In case you do find yourself listed there, to remove your listing, you need to click on the listing itself, then copy the URL address, on the bottom of the spokeo page, you'll see a "privacy" link. Click on it and at the bottom, you can request to remove your listing.
You'll need to feed them an e-mail (which I was hesitant but fed them my old, trash mail account) and then I had to click on the e-mail sent to me by spokeo to finalize the removal.
My intent is not to spam. Just trying to help folks on POTN protect/guard what little privacy they have left. And maybe by word-of-mouth, you guys can protect your family and friends.
** reason for editing **
I was just given another link from an acquaintance on the matter and it's possible spokeo's end-goal is to collect e-mail addresses. So if possible, create some junk-email to do this so avoid being spammed.
Link I was given: http://www.snopes.com/computer/internet/spokeo.asp
** end edit **