As Seen On

As seen on News 4

New Way To Spy On Your Friends


Have you ever Googled your friends or co-workers?  Maybe searched their Facebook profiles?  Or even snooped around the web for "interesting” photos of people you know?

There’s not an app for that (yet) but there is a new web site that is a one-stop shop for spying on your friends.

"It's very personal it has my parent's name and their ages," said Abhi Patel a New York University Medical student who could not believe what he saw on the new web site Spokeo.

Patel thought certain details of his life had to be private until we showed him what we could find by plugging his name into the search site.

"The wealth level, my relationship status? That wasn't on Facebook so I don't know where they got that from but they're right about it," said Patel.

The site is advertised as not your grandma's phonebook. But it's not like a phonebook at all. It searches people-related data; everything from social media sites to the Tax Assessor’s office.

"No way," exclaimed Sarwar Zahid when he gave Spokeo a whirl.

Zahid was stunned when he plugged his name into the site and found a photo showing the front of his home.

"It's kind of ridiculous that his has my home value here my entire house size I don't even know any of these things," said Zahid

If you plug in your email address and password from a service like GMail or YahooMail Spokeo will search all your contacts and show you what your friends have been up to.

"I didn't even know these pictures existed and they were updated four minutes ago," said Angelina Kataria who is also a NYU Medical School student.

Kataria found photos her friends had put up on Picasa and what her relatives had put on their wish lists.

"I don't think all this information should be out there and made available to people," said Kataria.

Spokeo says they only post information that is public.  In a statement sent to NBC New York a spokesperson for Spokeo says the site:

"Does not possess social security numbers, driver's license numbers, bank accounts or other private financial information such as credit scores."

Spokeo has a disclaimer on the site that says some of the information on the site may not be accurate because some of their sources are market surveys.

Spokeo is currently involved in a lawsuit with a user who found inaccurate information on the site and felt it violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act.  A judge will decide whether the case has any merit.

Spokeo does offer a privacy feature if you do not want your information posted for others to see. 

If you want to limit personal information on the web make sure you keep all your online profiles private if you don't want others to see them. 

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