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Is Your Personal Information On This Website?

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(credit: CBS) Reg Chapman
Reg Chapman joined WCCO-TV in May of 2009. He came to WCCO fr...
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By Reg Chapman, WCCO-TV

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – If you haven’t been concerned about what you post on the Internet, you might want to pay close attention to this story. There is a website out there that puts all of your personal information on one website.

It’s Spokeo.com and some say it provides a disturbing amount of information to the public.

The website gathers information on you from the phone book, social networking sites, marketing surveys and even real estate listings, and puts it all together for anyone to access.

Dave Erickson is director of e-Strategy at Tunheim Partners.

“It’s shocking when you go to the site and see all your information on one page,” said Erickson.

He says what Spokeo is doing is not new.

“Its legal. It’s no different than what direct marketers have always been doing: collecting demographic information and taking different list and matching them together and getting a bigger picture of an individual,” Erickson said. “What’s scary is I think for people they don’t realize how much of their information is actually out there on the web.”

Spokeo does not give out your credit score, financial information or social security number, but there are pictures, addresses and phone numbers.

“For more information, you have to pay them to look at it. Again, based on what I’ve seen, on the public information they have available on me, I’m not convinced that it’s really entirely accurate,” Erickson said.

Some say Spokeo is forcing people to think before posting resumes and personal information on Twitter, Facebook, Flicker and YouTube.

“Information about yourself is going to be out there if you are using these sites. It’s a matter of what you want the public to see,” Erickson said.

You can request to opt out through the sites privacy page and have your information removed from the site, but you have to become a member to do so.

Erickson says you can also protect yourself by making sure you understand the privacy options on every social media site you are on.

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