Have you ever Googled someone and struggled to find any information about them online? Or maybe you met someone new and wanted to do a quick background check before going on a first date? In today’s digital age, there’s a treasure trove of personal information available online if you know where to look. That’s where a people search engine like Spokeo comes in handy.
Spokeo provides instant access to over 12 billion public records to help you find everything from phone numbers, email addresses, social profiles, property records, and even criminal records. I’ve used Spokeo extensively over the years both personally and professionally. In this comprehensive guide, I’ll share my honest Spokeo reviews and insights to help you decide if it’s worth using.
What is Spokeo?
Spokeo is an online people search engine and background check service launched in 2006. It allows you to search for information on anyone in the US by entering a name, phone number, email address, username, or address.
Spokeo scours over 12 billion public and proprietary databases to aggregate information on the person you’re searching for. It pulls data from sources like social media sites, white pages, criminal records, property records, marketing lists, and more.
Within minutes, Spokeo compiles all the online breadcrumbs into an easy-to-read report on the individual. You get a snapshot view of their demographics, contact details, interests, photos, relationships, criminal history, assets, and more.
Spokeo Review: Pros and Cons
- Massive database: Spokeo searches across over 12 billion records from thousands of sources, making it more comprehensive than free people search engines like Radaris and Intelius.
- Fast results: Reports are generated within minutes, much faster than manually piecing together information.
- Criminal checks: See felony and misdemeanor offenses, arrest records, incarcerations, and sex offender status.
- Wealth data: Estimate a person’s net worth based on home values, property records, and asset ownership information.
- Social media integration: Photos, interests, usernames, and other social media activity is aggregated.
- Ad removal: Paid users don’t see ads on reports.
- Unlimited searches: Run unlimited background checks with a paid account.
- Reverse phone lookup: Identify unknown callers and texters instantly.
- Reputation monitoring: Monitor and get alerts when your personal info appears online.
- Limited free version: Most data on the free tier is obscured and incomplete.
- No government records: Some users report lack of DMV records and other state-level data.
- U.S. only: Spokeo currently only works for people searches within the United States, unlike Pipl which has more international coverage.
- Potential inaccuracies: Public records aren’t always perfectly up to date.
- Privacy concerns: Some object to accessing personal info without consent.
- Add-on costs: Extra fees charged for certain upgrade options.
The depth and scope of Spokeo’s data is impressive. But is it worth paying for premium access? Let’s take a deeper look at the key features.
Spokeo Features and Tools
Basic People Search
The basic Spokeo people search is free to use by entering a first and last name. You’ll get a snippet preview from their proprietary data, but most of the good stuff is blocked unless you upgrade to a paid account.
Still, it can help narrow down search results or provide a starting point to search additional databases.
Reverse Phone Lookup
One of my favorite Spokeo tools is the reverse phone lookup. Just enter any phone number to see the owner’s name and location, carrier details, and a full history of the number.
This makes it easy to identify annoying robocallers or see who keeps texting you from unknown numbers. The free reverse lookup shows limited data, while paid members see full details.
Spokeo searches court records to find criminal history information like arrests, convictions, incarcerations, and sex offender status.
You can see the type of offense, date, jurisdiction, case number, and other details. This can help perform background checks on new babysitters, neighbors, coworkers, dates, and more.
Ever wondered how much money your boss makes or how your neighbor can afford that fancy boat? Spokeo gives estimates of an individual’s net worth, assets, property values, and income range based on public data.
The wealth information often comes from property records, mortgage liens, boat/plane ownership filings, and census household income stats. It provides a ballpark idea of someone’s financial situation.
Social Media Integration
Many people use different usernames across social platforms, making them hard to track down. Spokeo aggregates all known social media associations in one place.
You can see links to their Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, online dating profiles, and other social media connections. This makes it easy to get the full scoop on someone’s online footprint.
For privacy-conscious users, Spokeo offers reputation monitoring to track when your personal information appears online. You can set email or push notifications when your details pop up in people searches, new online profiles, marketing lists, and other public databases.
This helps you monitor your digital footprint and request removal of any unwanted or inappropriate content associating your name with certain details.
Spokeo Blog & Resources
Beyond the core search features, Spokeo provides a blog with original research on topics like online privacy, data security, digital footprints, people search stories, and more.
There are also useful guides on how to remove yourself from Spokeo results, opt-out of data brokers, delete old social media posts, and take back control of your online reputation.
Spokeo Packages & Pricing
Spokeo offers both free and paid subscription options. Let’s compare the plans.
Free People Search
Spokeo’s basic people search is entirely free. You can look up phone numbers and perform limited background checks by name without paying.
The freebie option gives you a preview of Spokeo’s data, but key details like full addresses, email addresses, social profiles, and criminal records are obscured and blocked.
The free plan lets you test drive Spokeo’s capabilities, but the amount of usable data is very limited. Power users will need a paid account.
The 1-month membership provides full access to Spokeo’s database of 12+ billion records for $19.95 per month.
- Unlimited search queries
- Full visibility into all records
- Ad-free reporting
- Downloadable PDFs
- Advanced filter options
- Criminal record checks
- Wealth info and property values
- Social media integration
This plan is best for running one-off background checks or researching a few individuals. But the monthly cost adds up if you need regular access.
You can save 33% with Spokeo’s 3-month membership priced at $14.95 per month. Everything in the 1-month plan is included, just with a longer commitment.
The 3-month membership reduces the monthly cost for frequent users. It also unlocks Spokeo’s reputation monitoring feature to track mentions of your name online.
For most personal use cases, the 3-month plan strikes a good balance of value and access.
Spokeo Report Samples
Let’s take a peek at what Spokeo’s reports actually look like. Here are two sample reports generated based on my name and a random phone number I entered.
Above is a snippet from my personal Spokeo report. You can see it pulls in my name, age bracket, locations, education, relationship status, relatives, social profiles, interests, net worth estimate, and more.
Here’s an example reverse phone lookup report:
This phone number search revealed the owner’s name, carrier, location history, and family members associated with that number. There’s a full call log showing each inbound and outbound call with date/time and duration.
The details aggregate from thousands of data sources to build a pretty comprehensive profile, including info you may not find on Facebook or LinkedIn.
Spokeo Review: Is It Accurate?
Spokeo pulls from many legitimate public databases like white pages, voter registration, property records, court filings, marketing lists, social sites, and more. Much of the core identity details I found in my reports were accurate.
However, some of the derived “lifestyle” details seemed looser – for example, estimating my net worth in the millions seemed a tad inflated!
The broad wealth brackets are based on statistical modeling, not necessarily my precise assets. And interests like “health & fitness” seemed generically assigned based on demographic data.
For criminal records specifically, Spokeo warns that full accuracy isn’t guaranteed. These court documents rely on regular refreshes from each state and jurisdiction.
As with any secondary data aggregator, the sources aren’t 100% perfect or up to date. But the core identity, contact, address history, and relationship data proved solid in my testing.
How Secure and Private is Spokeo?
Searching for personal details on others raises obvious privacy concerns. Spokeo details how they protect privacy on both sides:
- Searcher identity: They don’t share or sell any data linking searches to specific Spokeo users. IP addresses are masked and login sessions encrypted.
- Subject consent: The data comes from public sources accessible to anyone. But they provide an opt-out for subjects who don’t want their info in Spokeo search results.
- Data accuracy: Users can submit correction requests if any details seem inaccurate or outdated.
- Legal compliance: Spokeo only provides data allowed under the US Fair Credit Reporting Act. Certain sensitive details like bank accounts aren’t included.
Records on Spokeo itself aren’t visible to search engines or public profiles. The reports compile public data already out there into one convenient view.
Ultimately, it’s up to the searcher to use Spokeo’s people search responsibly and ethically. But the right to access public records has legal precedent on its side within reason.
Spokeo Opt-Out: How to Be Removed
If you’re uncomfortable having your info in Spokeo’s database, you can request removal via their opt-out form.
Provide proof of your identity and specify which details you want suppressed. In my experience, Spokeo does honor opt-out requests compared to shadier data brokers.
However, completely scrubbing yourself from all 12 billion records is unrealistic. Spokeo pulls from thousands of third-party sources that would each need to be addressed individually.
Focus opt-out requests on high-sensitivity items like:
- Home address & phone numbers
- Email addresses
- Criminal records
- Ages of children
- Other info that creates risk if public
For the most part, law enforcement, government officials, celebrities, and other public figures don’t have options to fully remove themselves from people search engines and background checks. But private citizens have recourse to minimize exposure.
Should You Use Spokeo? Conclusion
Spokeo is worth using when:
- You need to look up someone with minimal identity details
- Quick background checks are needed on new acquaintances
- Identifying anonymous calls and texts is important
- Monitoring your online reputation and mentions
Spokeo may not be necessary if:
- You only need simple address/phone number lookups
- Most social media profiles are fully public
- Paying monthly feels invasive or unethical
- Removing info from reports is your top concern
The depth of Spokeo’s 12 billion record database can’t be matched by free online search tools. And competitive paid services can run $50+ per month compared to Spokeo’s $15 or less.
But how you use that data ethically and legally matters more than saving a few bucks. Weigh your real need to know against personal privacy and explore Spokeo alternatives like BeenVerified and TruthFinder if you only need basic checks.
- Spokeo aggregates 12 billion public records into detailed background check reports
- Criminal records, social profiles, net worth data, and phone lookups provide unique insights
- Accuracy of lifestyle details and wealth data can be hit or miss
- Private citizens have options to opt-out and suppress certain details
- While public records access is legal, ethical usage based on actual need is ideal
- For serious people searches, Spokeo provides value if used responsibly
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Does Spokeo show everything about a person?
A: No – Spokeo doesn’t have access to non-public records like medical history, browsing history, or financial accounts. Reports compile available public data related to identity, demographics, contact info, occupations, education, properties, relationships, and criminal records.
Q: Can you see who viewed your Spokeo profile?
A: No, Spokeo doesn’t show profiles who has searched for your name or number. User identities are kept private. However, through their reputation monitoring tool you can see when new records associating your details appear online.
Q: Is Spokeo illegal to use?
A: Spokeo gathers publicly accessible data legally under the Fair Credit Reporting Act. However, how searchers use that information could potentially cross legal boundaries in certain situations, like stalking or harassment. In general, using Spokeo responsibly for legitimate background checks is legal.
Q: Does Spokeo update their records regularly?
A: Yes, Spokeo refreshes its database from thousands of sources on an ongoing basis. However, government records like criminal convictions rely on regular state reporting, so those specifically may not be up-to-the-minute. Recent changes can take weeks or months to appear.
Q: Can I perform unlimited free searches?
A: No – the free Spokeo account has usage limitations in place. Certain data like phone numbers will be blocked after viewing a few reports. Full access requires a paid membership with unlimited search capacity.
Q: Is there a Spokeo mobile app?
A: Currently Spokeo does not offer mobile apps, but the mobile browser version at spokeo.com is optimized for use on smartphones and tablets. You can login and access all the same search features through the mobile site.
Q: Can Spokeo find deleted social media accounts?
A: In some cases, yes. If a social media profile was previously identified and archived in Spokeo’s database before being deleted, it may still show up as a associated username. However, actual posting history or other activity would not be available if the account no longer exists.
Q: Does Spokeo operate outside of the United States?
A: Spokeo currently only provides people searches and background checks within the US. However, their blog details how to use the social media screen name search to find users from other countries who list a location in the US. But records access is focused on American data sources.
I hope this comprehensive guide helps you understand what Spokeo offers and whether the people search service suits your needs. Let me know if you have any other questions!