Top 5 Companies & Tools to Remove Your Data From the Internet
If you’re reading this, you’re probably well aware of how your personal information is collected and used online. Odds are, you’ve also experienced firsthand how-time consuming and tedious removing it yourself can be.
When it comes to collecting and disseminating personal information on the internet, data brokers hold the lion’s share of responsibility. Unfortunately, these companies don’t make it easy to opt out of their data aggregation. They use complicated opt-out procedures and make you jump through ridiculous hoops in an effort to hold on to your valuable data.
Fortunately, there are companies that remove information from sites on behalf of the user. These services can save you a lot of time and operate in the background to protect your privacy. However, not all of them operate the same way and some work a little better than others.
Down below, we list our top 5 picks for the best services available on the market today. But before we get to that, here are some questions that can help you form your own opinion on the matter:
The 5 best companies to remove your personal information from the internet
Here are the top 5 data removal companies:
- Incogni, at $0.03/data broker Incogni packs the biggest punch at the lowest cost.
- Kanary, good value but does not offer weekly progress reports.
- OneRep, offers only PSS removal. Does not offer 30 days money back guarantee.
- Removaly, offers only PSS removal. Does not offer progress reports, Does not offer 30 days money back guarantee.
- DeleteMe, offers only PSS removal. The priciest option.
If you’re looking for an affordable and effective solution, each one on this list is a viable option.
The table below covers the basic, 1-person plans for data broker removal only.
|Value*||$0.03/data broker||0.04/data broker||0.04/data broker||0.16/data broker||0.23/data broker|
|Number of data brokers covered||184||210||193||61||46|
|Types of data brokers covered||Marketing|
|People search||People search||People search|
|Frequency of records monitored||Monthly||Monthly||Monthly||Daily||Quarterly|
|Frequency of progress reports||Weekly||Monthly||Monthly||Unavailable||Quarterly|
|Yearly||Yearly (1 or 2 years)|
|Money back guarantee||30-day||30-day||No||No||Until 1st privacy report is sent|
Incogni packs the biggest punch at the lowest cost
With a list of over 184 (and growing) of the biggest and baddest data brokers in the industry, the most competitive price point, and a dedicated team of experts ready to fight on your behalf, Incogni comes in at #1.
All you have to do:
- Create an account
- Sign over permission to deal with data brokers on your behalf
- Sit back while we handle the entire data removal process and protect your online privacy
The first 100 blog readers to use OPTOUT-MARCH23 get an additional 10% discount.
Questions to ask when choosing a data removal service provider
1) How many data broker sites does the company cover?
There are approximately hundreds of data brokers around the world. These companies are responsible for collecting and distributing your personal information far and wide on the internet, jeopardizing both your privacy and security.
Before you panic! Not all of these companies have your data. But for the average internet user, there will be dozens or hundreds that do.
If you want to remove your personal information from the internet, you’ll have to opt out from as many data brokers as possible.
2) What types of data brokers does the company cover?
Numbers alone aren’t everything, however. For one thing, many of these data brokers form networks. Removing your data from one may automatically remove your data from many others.
Equally important to the volume are the types of data broker sites the removal service covers. Most focus only on people search sites. While you definitely do want to remove your data from these brokers, they aren’t the worst out there.
Here are the 5 data broker types and how they can affect your life:
- People search sites provide access to private data like your phone numbers, home address, marital status, family members, and social media accounts to total strangers on the internet. This can lead to instances of discrimination, online harassment, and fraud.
- Marketing data brokers collect private information such as your email accounts, political affiliations, search history, websites you visit, past purchases, and online accounts and sell them to marketing companies and businesses. They are responsible for spam, robocalls, and all of the targeted ads you see online.
- Financial information brokers have some of the most sensitive personal data such as your Social Security number, assets, banks you use, and more. Having this type of personal information online puts you at high risk of fraud and identity theft.
- Recruitment data brokers compile personal profiles that include background information such as employment history, education history, and business contacts. Recruiters can use this information to process your applications.
- Risk mitigation brokers sell financial and health information to investors, financial institutions, and insurance companies. This data can affect your insurance rates and ability to get approved for credit cards and loans.
In the wrong hands, any of the personal information these data aggregators deal in can expose you to serious threats such as online phishing, scams, identity fraud, and even bodily harm.
And while you may think this only happens as a result of data breaches (which are common), some data brokers have been known to intentionally sell your personal information to scammers.
3) What is the data removal service cost vs value?
At a glance, many of the companies offering to remove your personal information from the internet may appear to be reasonably priced. However, what might not be immediately clear is the value of their service.
An easy way to calculate this is to compare the monthly cost to the number of data broker websites the company deals with. Even at the same price point, a company dealing with 100 data brokers offers more value than one that deals with 30.
4) Does the company provide an automated data removal service?
All it takes is a single click for your personal information to end up on data broker databases. Yet removing that information takes a lot of time.
Researchers at Incogni have calculated that it can take up to 304 hours to send out data removal requests manually, just once.
The main point of a data removal service is to manage the entire data removal process on your behalf and save you time. This is why the best data removal services have a fully automated process. Ideally, you should be able to sit back and trust the company to remove your personal data with little to no involvement from your side.
5) What does the company do after sending out data removal requests?
The two biggest issues with data removal are that personal data is re-added to broker databases semi-regularly and many data brokers reject removal requests.
While some opt-out services just send out removal requests and call it a day, a good service will follow up. There should be a privacy expert behind you, fighting every removal request rejection on your behalf.
Similarly, the sites that had and deleted your personal information should be monitored regularly to ensure the records don’t respawn over time.
Can you delete personal information from the internet yourself?
Yes. However, the average person generates 1.7 MB of data every second and even more, depending on how much time you spend on the internet. If you don’t want data broker websites to have access to your information, you can send individual opt-out requests to each one. But it will take time.
You will also have to repeat the removal process regularly to keep your data off the market. Online privacy is an ongoing process that never really ends.
You can find our full guide on removing your personal information from the internet here.
You can also use our opt-out guides to help you remove your information from some of the biggest data brokers on the market.
Can you completely remove personal information from the internet?
No matter what you do, even if you never touch a device connected to the internet again, you won’t be able to keep all of your data offline. The best way to clean up your digital footprint, however, is to use a specialized service.
Is a data removal service worth it?
Automated data removal saves at least 300+ hours a year. That’s how long it takes to keep your data off the market. By doing so, it protects you from inconveniences like spam and serious threats such as identity fraud and stalking.
How should I choose a data removal service?
Before you sign up for the first data removal tool you see, you should consider the price, whether it offers a fully automated service, how many brokers it covers, and the types of data brokers it covers. The best service should have the biggest positive impact on your privacy.
What are data brokers?
Data brokers are companies that collect and sell, trade, or publish your personal information online. These sites are responsible for spreading your data far and wide on the internet, exposing you to phishing, scams, identity fraud, discrimination, online harassment, and stalking.