Ever wondered what happened to that childhood friend you spent all those years playing with but lost contact over time? Or maybe you have a bad feeling about your daughter’s new boyfriend or you met a cute guy online and he invited you out but then you realized you do not know anything about him. For all these reasons and many others, more and more people turn to sites that perform background checks. Whether to satisfy your curiosity or to find peace of mind, doing a background check on someone has never been easier.
Spokeo is one of the most popular background check services dedicated to people who want to find, connect with or check up on someone.
With over 12 billion records at your disposal, you can research someone you have just met, reconnect with old friends, find an unknown number, a potential customer or learn if your partner is cheating on you. Spokeo has been on the market for more than 10 years. They first started as a social network aggregator back in 2006 and have since evolved into a people search engine used by 20 million people per month, performing 500,000 searches a day. Spokeo’s co-founders Harrison Tang, Mike Daly, and Eric Liang gathered a team of people, all experts in their fields, who work hard to make Spokeo a service people can rely on. Keep reading our Spokeo review to discover more.
What Is Spokeo?
Spokeo is a people search engine that claims it can help you discover everything you need to know about a person you are interested in for any reason whatsoever. You can search for a long lost family member, high school friend, potential love interest or someone famous you simply wish to know more about. According to Spokeo, you will have access to more than 12 billion records from many different sources like social networks, online phone books, real estate records, online maps, and marketing surveys, all organized and displayed in the form of an easy-to-navigate profile. You can search a person by name, phone number, email or location. Once you enter one of these criteria, you will be able to find out the following:
- Contact and location info
- Name, phone number, email, location history, and property details
- Public records
- Court, birth, death, traffic, and criminal records
- Family and personal info
- Social media accounts, relatives, associates, and household interests
- Wealth and work info
- Income, lifestyle interests, and current and prior jobs
In regard to how the search is performed, you have several options. The basic search is free of charge, but if you want to see the results, you have to purchase either a single report or a subscription plan. In the long run, opting for a subscription is a better solution since you get 100 monthly searches. A single report provides basic information like phone numbers, email addresses, and home address. In case you want to find out more about the person you are looking for, you will have to pay for every additional search, which counts as a new report.
Once you have found the person you are looking for, you will only be able to contact him or her on your own and not through Spokeo. Each search you perform is considered confidential and the subjects of your search will not be notified in any way. Spokeo cannot give you access to a person’s private emails, social media profiles, messages, call logs or any other form of private information.
Is Spokeo Legit?
We tested Spokeo’s legitimacy by performing a search of our own, after which we concluded that Spokeo does work and is in fact the real deal. However, we did come across some major issues during our tests.
We choose a publicly known figure for our search – Mel Gibson. Since he is famous, it was easy to compare the information found on the web with the data provided by the Spokeo search engine.
If you conduct your search based on a name, it is only possible to enter the first and last name. The search result comes up broad and you cannot narrow it down by entering a middle name. You can narrow your search by knowing the state and city of residence of the person you are looking for. However, if you do not know where the person lives, you will end up with tons of names you have to sift through one by one.
Luckily, since Mel Gibson is a public figure, we were able to find out where he currently resides. After choosing the state and the city, we were left with just a handful of names and it seemed like our search ended successfully. But after comparing the information available for each of the profiles, it was clear that something did not add up.
We entered the profile that seemed like it could be the possible match and started to compare the information collected by Spokeo with the data available on numerous web pages dedicated to the actor. While some of the information was correct, some data was completely wrong or insufficient. For example, the birthday was wrong, only two of his seven children were listed, and the entire profile seemed pretty scarce, all together with a missing profile photo.
We gave Spokeo another try by searching for a colleague of ours and yet again ended up with information that did not match. Then we decided to conduct our search by using a known email address. It was a partial success. Even though the first hit was not the right one, other possible matches did display the right social media accounts for Facebook, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest, and a few other social platforms.
In conclusion, the Spokeo search engine does work and is legit, but the information provided is not exactly reliable.
What Is Spokeo Used For?
Spokeo’s main purpose is to serve as a people search engine that gathers and collects publicly available information that is processed and arranged in the form of a clear and easy-to-navigate profile upon request. Its goal is to provide up-to-date information that enables people to find their loved ones, check up on someone or simply satisfy their curiosity.
In this section of our Spokeo review, we will go over all the service’s main features and list the information you can get by using the company’s search engine.
If you decide to search for a person by their name, you will be able to see their phone numbers, email addresses, age, addresses, relatives, marital status, and education level.
Reverse Email Search or Username Search
This type of search provides you with public profiles on social networks, public profiles on dating sites, public photos on sites like Flickr or PhotoBucket, videos from sites like YouTube and Vimeo, product reviews on sites like Amazon, and blog posts on sites like Blogger and LiveJournal.
Reverse Phone Search
A reverse phone search gives you access to information like first and last name of the owner of the phone, address where the phone is registered, owner’s age, and phone carrier.
Reverse Address Search
With a reverse address search, you can expect to find the names of current and past residents, information on the owner, estimated value and building statistics, phone numbers, email addresses and social media accounts of owners and tenants, and additional information about the neighborhood.
Social Media Searches
The best way to find out if your partner is being unfaithful is to do a reverse email search and reverse username search. An email search gives you access to public dating profiles as well as to open social media accounts. Spokeo searches over 100 different social network platforms and numerous dating sites like Tinder, Plenty of Fish, Match.com, and Ok Cupid.
To get the information about someone’s public social media profiles, collect all their usernames or email addresses and enter them into the search box. To make your search more efficient, Spokeo suggests entering the person’s name first to find out additional usernames or email addresses.
Spokeo Connections is a social media tool that provides you with a list of your friends’ known social media accounts. You will be notified of all their social networks’ recent activities.
Search Concierge is a feature that helps you find the information you need for via phone, email, and chat.
Court Record & Historical Record Searches
With Spokeo, you can purchase additional features, including court record and historical record searches. The court record add-on enables you to go through more than 600 million records from 1,400 courthouses in the U.S. The results include:
- Nature of the offense
- Time and place of the offense
- Disposition date
- Sentencing records
- Filing date
- Case number
The historical record add-on provides you with information like:
- Birth records for U.S. residents
- Obituary records for U.S. residents
- Marriage records for U.S. residents
- Divorce records for U.S. residents
- Military service records for U.S. residents
You can search for historical records in two different ways:
- Log in, go to this link: http://www.spokeo.com/historical-record-search, and enter the name of the person you are looking for.
- Enter the name in the Spokeo search engine and go to the personal section.
Spokeo Enterprise is intended for business clients who would like to search for, approve, and make contact with people. Customized for business purposes, it provides its users with an option for shared results, which means that they can conduct their searches as a team without being charged for the same search.
Account administrators receive full insight into their team’s activity in the form of a report that shows who performed a search, what type of data they were searching for, and when they performed the search. Admins can monitor and control the usage of Spokeo Enterprise, which enables them to make their team more systematic and productive.
It is important to keep in mind that you cannot use Spokeo to make any kind of a decision regarding hiring an employee, checking up on a tenant or doing a credit report. All of this information falls under the jurisdiction of a consumer reporting agency as described in the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). FCRA states that all information contained in one’s credit report must be accurate, fair, and private and only available through consumer reporting agencies. It was created with a purpose to protect consumer’s rights against the use of incorrect information in their credit reports.
How Accurate Is Spokeo?
When it comes to accuracy, there is definitely room for improvement. As mentioned previously in our Spokeo review, the data we received was not 100% correct, with many of the key elements missing.
According to Spokeo, its search engine compiles and checks more than 12 billion publicly available records to provide its customers with the information they need. With that in mind, there is always a chance that the data is not entirely up to date and/or correct.
However, Spokeo now offers a new feature called Show Sources, which enables the user to select recent data instead of going through a bunch of old results. This new option will hopefully help users easily spot and separate outdated information that is more likely to be incorrect.
Is Spokeo Safe?
Spokeo will not disclose any information about your searches. As an account owner, you will be able to review all your searches through the Search History feature, which can be disabled at your request. While using Spokeo, your activity will be recorded by the company. The information regarding your use of the Spokeo search engine may include your IP address, devices you are using, your overall activity on-site, dates and times when you accessed the site, and more. If you are an account owner, Spokeo will also record your name, email address, phone number, and payment data.
Spokeo will use this information as well as your search history to provide you with any updates regarding your search subject or potential related searches and to improve your user experience.
Spokeo will not disclose your personal information with any third party except to improve, protect, and upgrade its services. Certain verified third parties will gain access to your private information to provide customer support, protect you from fraud, support your email traffic, and more. Spokeo is obligated to share your personal information with third parties if requested by law or to assist with legal processes in which it is involved, to protect its rights or property or to ensure someone’s safety.
It is good to know that Spokeo provides you with an option to remove information about yourself from its database. To remove the data, follow these steps:
- Find the report you want to remove and right-click on it
- Go to the report’s URL and choose “Copy link address”
- Click here to be redirected
- Paste the link address into the “Enter URL here” box
- Enter your email address
- Check the “I’m not a robot box,” select the right photos or put in the verification code
- Go to your inbox, open the confirmation email, and follow the link
When it comes to the safety of your credit card information, Spokeo uses only the best third-party secure payment processors to handle all money transactions. These institutions use 128-bit Secure Socket Layer (SSL) encryption, which guarantees the highest level of security.
How Much Does Spokeo Cost?
Like we said before in this Spokeo review, the basic search option is free of charge. This option provides only search results like city and state, age, relatives, and locations. To find out more on the person you are looking for, you need to purchase a subscription package. The standard one-month membership costs 19.95$ and comes with a 7-day FREE trial period. The three-month membership costs 12.95$ per month. For both packages, the monthly quota allows you to perform 100 searches.
The standard report can be upgraded with additional add-ons, such as a single historical and court report for 19.95$.
There is also the possibility of purchasing a single report for 0.95$. This purchase offers you unlimited access to the report with regular updates included.
If you want to purchase Spokeo membership for your business, there are also several available options, including Basic for the price of 35.95$ per month, Professional 500 reports for 69.95$ per month, and Enterprise 1,000 reports for 119.95$ per month.
Spokeo Pros & Cons
- Basic search option is free
- Various ways to perform a search
- Options for personal and business use
- Access to 12 billion records from 1,000 different sources
- Search Concierge service
- Affordable memberships
- 7-day FREE trial
- Incorrect and insufficient search results
- Very few options to narrow down search results
- Expensive add-ons that should be included in the standard membership package