Receivable/Accounts - Information for Credit and Collection Issues

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Spokeo

I have recently looked at Spokeo.com, and while many consumers are up in arms over this site, I looked at it from a credit & collections standpoint.

To begin with, I purchased a membership and did some initial trace work for one of our US Clients, and I was able to locate 75% of the people that were trace accounts (meaning no phone number on file) with my office. Not every hit had a phone number, but about half did, and about a quarter had an email address. That’s pretty powerful. And the membership cost is not that high.

They also draw on a number of other data sources, such as telephone directories, social networks, online merchants such as amazon, and other relatively accessible data. The simple interface is the most powerful part of this application. If you type in “Frank Jones MI”, it pulls up every Frank Jones in Michigan.

The spookiest part of this site is the ability to be tied directly into google earth. Three clicks of a button, I’m looking at their house. Now, I could pull a credit bureau on a debtor/consumer, and get a lot more numerical information, but never in this interface. Using Spokeo, while I am on the phone with someone, I can state to someone with relative confidence “Frank, please don’t tell me I have the wrong number. You have lived at your current residence for 8 years, with your wife Melissa and your two daughters Amanda and Rachel, your facebook picture shows you are a New York Giants fan, and by the way, your house is worth $324,000, and it’s blue….”. This takes big brother to a whole new level.

This application is not currently available in Canada. Part of me would very much like it to be, and the other part wishes very much it never is.