The 5 Best Tools and Services to Remove Your Information from the Web
Personal information about you is probably publicly available online, right now. Sites known as data brokers gather up info about you and build a profile with your name, address, phone number, and other details. Sometimes they even have photos of you.
Sounds like a major invasion of privacy, right? Technically, it’s legal for data brokers to do this. Fortunately, it’s also legal for you to request that your information be taken down. You can submit requests to each data broker one at a time or you can use a service to help you remove your information from the web all at once.
The 5 Best Services for Removing Your Info from the Internet
We rounded up the five best companies for online data removal. They all specialize in getting your info removed from people search sites. But some of them also help you delete profiles on marketing, recruitment, and financial sites, too.
Incogni is a data removal service developed by the VPN company Surfshark — so you know they take internet privacy seriously. When you sign up for Incogni, you provide your information and give over power of attorney, so the service can monitor for your personal information and contact data brokers on your behalf.
Incogni is one of the most comprehensive data removal services available, as it covers 180 data brokers in its database (more than most competitors). It also has a friendly user-interface and is easy to navigate. The company is pretty transparent about its practices as well. One of the main downsides to Incogni is that you don’t really have a way to confirm if the data has been removed after a request is sent.
- Easy to set up
- Sleek user interface
- Can’t easily confirm data removal
- Only covers US, Canada, UK, Switzerland, and EU
- $6.49 per month
DeleteMe is an easy-to-use data deletion service that will help you get rid of information on data broker sites. It can help you delete existing information about you as well as submit requests for future takedowns (since data brokers can keep collecting data on you and start a new profile after you submit a request to delete).
One of the features of DeleteMe is that it’s a set-it-and-forget-it service. Once you sign up and provide your information, the DeleteMe service does all the work. You’ll also get periodic reports about what the service has found when monitoring for your information.
- Quarterly reports
- Easy-to-use interface
- Free tutorials for DIY removal
- You might have to provide ID documents for DeleteMe to remove info from data broker sites
- Reports don’t link to brokers
- $129 per year
DataSeal covers 136 sites that collect information, including data brokers, people searches, and public records. You can take a look at exactly which sites their service includes before you decide to purchase a monthly plan. DataSeal works similarly to the other data removal companies on this list, but it stands out for its stellar customer service.
With DataSeal, you can sign up for breach alerts and agency protection in addition to the standard data removal. Unlike other data removal services that you only hear from when there’s a problem, DataSeal sends you weekly privacy and safety reports.
- 24/7 monitoring
- Weekly reports
- Coverage for unlimited addresses, phones, and emails
- No free trial
- $12.99 per month for the individual plan
- $10.99 per month for the family plan
- $8.99 per month for the business plan
One of the standout features of PrivacyBee is the free risk assessment. You can do a scan using their service to see how much of your personal info is available, and decide whether you want to take action. You can also get breach monitoring with a free account.
If you want proactive data removal (i.e. they contact brokers and people search sites on your behalf), you’ll have to upgrade to a paid account. While PrivacyBee’s search and features are comprehensive, it only lets you enter one name, one email address, one phone number, etc. If you want it to scan for and remove multiple email addresses, for example, you’ll have to get a second account.
- Free risk assessment
- Helps you opt out of junk mail by industry
- Browser extension to limit tracking
- One of the most expensive data removal services on the market
- Plans don’t include coverage for multiple phones, emails, and addresses
- $197 per year
Like PrivacyBee, Kanary offers a free version of their product with limited features. You can track two names, two addresses, one username, one email account, and one phone number with Kanary’s free tier. You also get three automated removals without having to pay a dime (competitors will monitor for free but won’t over the removal unless you pay).
Kanary’s scan covers Google search results plus 327 sites — many more than some of its competitors. The automated opt-out process only works for about 260 of those sites, however. You have to pay for the highest tier to get all those opt-out options as well.
- Full transparency on how it handles each broker site
- Data removal automation
- Multi-factor authentication
- Free trial
- Automated opt–out doesn’t apply to every site
- Free-forever plan with limited features
- $12 per month for an individual
- $20.75 per month for a family
What are data brokers and how do they get your info?
Data brokers are websites that gather publicly available information about individuals to build a profile about them. They scrape public records, social media, online retailers, and web forums to find information. They also pay other data brokers.
Also known as people search sites or people lookup sites, data brokers may have any of the following information about you:
- Date of birth
- Phone number
- Email address
- Place of work
- Schools attended
As you can imagine, having this type of personal information available online for anyone to see can be a security risk. Hackers and cybercriminals can use these people search sites to build a profile of you and make their attack more targeted. If your name and info appears on a data broker site, you should probably try to get rid of it.
How much does it cost to remove your personal information from the internet?
The cost of removing your information from the web can range from $10 per month to a flat fee of $2,500. The services mentioned on our list all charge based on a subscription model. You sign up and pay a monthly fee, and they offer continued monitoring and data removal requests on your behalf.
Remove your info and protect your privacy
Technically, you don’t need any of these services to help you remove your information from the internet. You can do it yourself. But that is time-consuming and inefficient. Your info could be present on multiple data broker and people search sites, and you would have to submit a takedown request to each site, one by one.
Tools like Incogni or DataSeal can take care of this for you. Not to mention they have better monitoring than you likely do — without an app or software to help you out, the info you can find is limited to whatever shows up on a Google search.
Take charge of your privacy and security online. For a small fee, you can have an expert service help clean up your data. You need not necessarily pay for one of these services indefinitely. Once you have your information removed once, you can secure your online accounts to prevent your info from falling into data brokers’ hands again.
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