Spokeo found its feet as it was forced to pivot to a fraud prevention vendor, leveraging its people intelligence technology to inform fraud decisioning.
Despite a legacy of people intelligence dating back to the early days of social media, Spokeo’s people lookup tool is not the only one available on the fraud market. Here we look at similar options which may suit your company better.
|Disclaimer: Everything you’ll read in this article was gleaned from online research, including user reviews. We did not have time to manually test every tool. This article was last updated in Q3 2023. Please feel free to contact us to request an update/correction.|
|Company||Core Features||Notable Clients||Summary|
|SEON||Revolut, Air France, Kindred||Frictionless, in-depth customer profiling and flexible rules with ML insights, AML screening, and free plan|
|BeenVerified||N/A||Handy US-focused OSINT tool for businesses and individuals|
|Ekata||AliPay, Microsoft, Airbnb||Identity platform with graph visualization capabilities|
|Pipl||Microsoft, IBM, Twitter, eBay||Frictionless, whitebox system for manual review using OSINT|
|ArkOwl||N/A||Lightweight email and phone intelligence for manual and batch queries|
|PeopleLooker||N/A||Affordable public records search for investigations|
What Does Spokeo Offer?
The lookup and intelligence service offered by Spokeo revolves around four main data points: name, phone number, email, and address. As aggregation is a legacy specialty of the company, these pieces of information are used to look up all available OSINT data on the queried person.
The tool comes as a software package, with subscription models and per-enhanced lookup prices.
The primary function is Spokeo’s People Search, which references billions of public property records, historical records, consumer transactions, court proceedings, historical data and social networks in order to reveal as much as possible about a person.
The app then provides an easy-to-interpret report, including contact info, location data, family and associates, wealth data, criminal records, and social media profiles.
In terms of providing security, People Search points out potentially risky results in its lookups. These risks include things like being connected via a VPN, VOIP, or another anonymizing service.
As well as this, the results provide actionable information, such as a physical location that can then be searched via Google Maps to make sure an address is legit, or photos from social media and online data services which can then be cross-checked to help verify someone’s identity.
Some components of Spokeo’s services can be accessed for free on its website, though comprehensive results are behind a paywall.
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Why Look for a Spokeo Alternative?
As Spokeo’s primary function is people intelligence, if one intends to use it primarily to stop fraud, it will need to be utilized within a larger prevention stack.
Spokeo is not a standalone solution and has no capabilities to become part of an automated workflow. Rather, the software provides insights and data which can then be actioned by a fraud team or other security software.
Notably, the components of the service which can be accessed online are very similar to other free services like whitepages.com and SearchPeopleFree.com, usable in-browser. In fact, each modular OSINT lookup service aggregated by Spokeo has equivalents on other websites, many of which are also free.
A lack of AML options means that Spokeo isn’t suitable for compliance work. The option to check names against known sanction lists, for instance, would be helpful.
Companies looking to leverage Spokeo’s OSINT lookup tools should be aware that it is used most effectively by small teams whose fraud woes are in low numbers, and where it doesn’t impact cost by doing manual, individual risk lookups. It is also helpful to larger teams conducting manual reviews only for those customers who are suspicious, though there could be better options out there for this functionality.
Six Spokeo Alternatives
Choosing the best fraud solution on today’s market can be a daunting task – so diversified are the offerings. Here are six of the best Spokeo alternatives for a variety of verticals and scales (budgets).
Tamas Kadar and Bence Jendruszak founded SEON in 2018. The two were not satisfied with the available fraud prevention tools in combating the fraudulent threats they faced – thus came SEON. Today, SEON’s a well-established fraud fighting company with offices in Budapest, London, Austin and Jakarta.
Like Spokeo, SEON’s technology uses OSINT lookups and device fingerprinting to provide a 360° view of a user’s details. Among others, data points like email, phone, name and physical and IP address are investigated for signs of fraudulent behavior. These signs, or lack thereof, are totaled to output a risk score, indicating whether the user is good, questionable, or fraudulent. These decisions are made by a whitebox algorithm that is constantly improving itself while also remaining totally explainable. The sensitivity of the risk scores is also fully customizable, and the implementation of custom rules is at the user’s fingertips, and immediate. This allows companies to tailor the decisioning in accordance with their individual risk appetite.
With Spokeo, SEON is one of the only fraud tools that scrutinize a person’s social media presence to help develop a risk assessment. This kind of social media lookups are a great indicator of a true human user rather than a botnet, which are often the tools of scaled digital fraud.
It’s also worth noting hat SEON offers a two-pronged attack against fraudsters and potential criminals thanks to its AML module. It’s designed to look for names on known government watchlists globally to help you meet your compliance requirements without adding complexity to your tech stack.
BeenVerified is a US-based company with its main office in New York. It was founded in 2007, hot on the heels of Spokeo’s own launch. The service was initially named StandOut, and was designed as a marketing tool to see what information on a particular job seeker may be available, to inform potential employers.
A very similar service to Spokeo, BeenVerified is a people intelligence tool that mainly consists of a search bar on either the website or in-app. The main feature is People Lookup, which searches through billions of data points provided by publicly available records like criminal records, personal information, contact information, and more. The service delivers the results of lookup queries in the form of a dossier, which can then be individually scrutinized for signs of risk.
In practice, the biggest difference between Spokeo and BeenVerified is their subscription models. While Spokeo offers free reverse phone lookups, with the results partially behind a paywall, BeenVerified has no such free module. Spokeo’s subscription is comparable in price, yet does not offer unlimited free lookups, whereas BeenVerified’s subscription does.
Starting its life in 2019 as an offshoot from whitepages.com, one of the true legacy PII intelligence services, Ekata was promptly acquired by the Mastercard company as its proprietary risk management solution for transactions, onboarding, account opening, and user intelligence.
Ekata’s main security offering is composed of five APIs to generate profiles based on an address or phone number, a transaction, an onboarding process, or opening a new account. This is complemented by two other modules for developing insights based on fraud trends both within a company and universally, as well as for handling the inevitable manual reviews with efficiency and transparency.
All of these products lean heavily on the massive database of international transactions provided by the Mastercard company. These transactions number in the hundreds of millions per month, and inform all of the risk decisioning in the automated system. By doing so, Ekata can dive deep into transaction histories across phone numbers, emails and IPs, revealing suspicious anomalies and connections that would otherwise go unnoticed.
In all of the Ekata solutions, there is strong emphasis on user experience and usability. The APIs used in the software get visualized in the most explainable way possible, going so far as to calculate distances between apparent IP addresses and registered physical addresses. As a Mastercard solution, this UX is also designed for huge scalability, with an emphasis on speed and low friction.
Founded by Matthew Hertz and Baseelin Petach in 2004, Pipl takes Spokeo’s OSINT investigation techniques to an integratable software level. This Tel Aviv-based trust and people intelligence service has grown to include notable clients like Microsoft, IBM, Twitter, and eBay.
Pipl’s main security-minded products are Pipl Search and Pipl Trust. Both of these tools make reference to over 3 billion actual human profiles on record, with another 5 billion more trusted profiles, 28+ billion unique identifiers, and over 330 billion trust signals.
Pipl Search and Pipl Search Insights are primarily concerned with using aggregated OSINT data to verify identities and enrich existing contact data – a common practice for customer segmentation. Entering a single data point in the Pipl app can populate an exhaustive list of data points, including career data, social media presence, photos, and residence history, along with typical identifiers like known email addresses.
Pipl Trust takes this data enrichment and applies it to a database of trust signals, and each user query returns a profile with any red trust flags highlighted for at-a-glance risk decisioning during manual review. Indeed, much of Pipl’s offering is specifically tailored for ease of use and efficiency during the manual review process. Note that interested parties should probably consider their review volume when deciding if Pipl is the right fit.
ArkOwl was founded in 2012 by Rob Daline and Mark Greiling, with Greiling leaving later to join GitLab’s frontend team. ArkOwl’s technology was built off the back of Greiling and Daline’s frustration with existing email verification products, citing the guesswork that often goes hand-in-hand with historical databases when it comes to knowing whether or not the data can still be trusted.
The company’s primary security offering is an email verification API, which can be integrated into an existing software infrastructure. Indeed, the company’s website notes that ArkOwl can provide an additional 81 real-time data points to boost a fraud analysis stack.
These 81 data points are from social media sites, webmail providers, and IP databases, and get enriched with additional information like an email age estimate, known associated data breaches, previously used aliases and more. As a query with ArkOwl returns a real-time result, there is never a risk of outdated profiles being generated.
Notably, ArkOwl does not do any automated actioning by itself, and only provides easy-to-interpret lookup data. Since these lookups can be done in huge batches, the software is best when integrated into an automated risk software, but can also inform manual review processes for smaller companies. With this in mind, interested parties should be considering how ArkOwl will integrate, or else be aware that ArkOwl’s individual query service will only be useful for ecommerce companies who handle few fraud cases per day.
PeopleLooker is a web-based subscription service for US-based manual people lookups. PeopleLooker differs from other products in this list by not offering any sort of business functionality in terms of integrability, and is only for individual queries. The tech offered is focused on OSINT lookups, aggregating data in real time to generate a profile.
On the website, PeopleLooker is plainly targeted at individuals who want to perform lookups, rather than businesses in need of security solutions. It advertises its primary purpose as people intelligence for personal use – criminal records and long-lost family members – but also can be used as a property intelligence tool for homebuyers and catching fraud in the real estate vertical. Uniquely, it can also assist in data removal from the web, which it does by searching for a name to see where it appears before asking it to be taken down.
As PeopleLooker is purely web-based, and queries do take some time – a single query may take minutes – it may not be the best tool even for small businesses with relatively low fraud needs. As well, PeopleLooker only provides data on US-based lookups, so international users – or will surely need a different service. Compared to other web-based services, which offer at least rudimentary data for free, all of PeopleLooker’s returns are hidden behind a paywall, with the price tag being relatively high for an individual user, as opposed to a corporation.
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Customers researching whether or not to incorporate Spokeo into their workflows should consider some of the alternatives on the market, as the people intelligence service has radiated into many niches and use cases.
The most obvious metric is scalability. The listed services all cater to different sizes of companies, and have different functions when it comes to being an end-to-end ecommerce solution, or a simple web tool to look up old classmates.
Keep in mind your particular needs when creating your short list of vendors. Then, speak to their teams to set up free trials or demos, where available, before you commit.
Spokeo Alternatives FAQ
As many of the alternatives are designed for entirely different customers and use cases, it’s hard to say which are cheaper, as many need to be integrated into an existing solution. That being said, most alternatives are monthly-subscription based and publish their fees transparently on their websites.
You can continue by reading our head-to-head comparison of SEON and Spokeo, visiting the official Spokeo site for more information, or reading trusted review sites such as G2.com.
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