In the digital age, personal data has become a highly valuable commodity. Companies known as data brokers make billions collecting, aggregating and selling people‘s information without their knowledge or consent. This data is used for marketing purposes, people searches, credit checks, and more – often falling into the wrong hands.
To take back control of your privacy, data removal services are an essential tool. They systematically opt you out of hundreds of data broker sites, helping minimize your digital footprint and secure your identity.
But with so many options to choose from, how do you know which service is right for you? This comprehensive guide examines the top data removal companies available today, so you can find the perfect match to meet your needs and budget.
What Are Data Brokers and How Do They Get Your Information?
Data brokers amass detailed profiles on individuals by scraping personal data from public records, social media, store loyalty programs, mobile apps, online services and more. They purchase additional information from internet providers, retailers, government agencies and other entities.
Without your permission, data brokers compile and sell this sensitive intel – including your name, address, phone number, email, browsing history, purchases, interests, age, race, religion, politics, finances, marital status, and much more. They know more about you than you probably know about yourself!
Over 2,000 data broker companies operate in the US, stockpiling information on hundreds of millions of people. This data powers people search sites, marketing lists, credit checks, background screenings, risk assessments and more – the vast majority without consumer knowledge or consent.
Unfortunately, lax regulations mean this data is shared, bought and sold freely. And once in the wrong hands, it can enable fraud, discrimination, stalking, identity theft and other harms. Removing your personal information from data broker sites is crucial for protecting your privacy and security online.
Why Use a Data Removal Service?
Manually opting out of even a fraction of the thousands of data broker sites would take months of grueling work. Data removal services shortcut the process by automatically submitting opt-out requests on your behalf.
The top solutions typically scrub your info from hundreds or even thousands of brokers, people search sites, and marketing lists. They continue monitoring these sites to ensure your data doesn‘t reappear – saving you major time and effort.
Beyond convenience, data removal services strengthen your privacy and security in key ways:
- Reduce Digital Footprint – Minimize your exposure by eliminating availability of your personal info across the internet.
- Lower Risk of Identity Theft – Removing data from broker sites decreases the chances of it falling into the wrong hands.
- Cut Down on Spam – Opting out of marketing lists lowers unwanted junk mail, email, texts and calls.
- Protect Against Scams – Decreased visibility makes you less vulnerable to phishing schemes and fraud.
- Increase Peace of Mind – Know your sensitive information isn‘t being bought and sold without your approval.
For optimal privacy protection, pair data removal services with tools like tracker blockers, encrypted browsing and private search engines. The less data collected on you in the first place, the better.
Now let‘s examine the top data removal solutions to secure your info.
The 5 Best Data Removal Services of 2023
|Service||Starting Price||Best For|
|Aura||$12/month||Identity theft protection bundles|
|Optery||$3.99/month||DIY data removal|
Aura – Best For Bundling Identity Theft Protection
- Bundles full identity theft protection
- Includes password manager and VPN
- Robust protection for kids
- Contacts 20+ data brokers
Aura takes a holistic approach to privacy by bundling robust identity theft protection tools with its data removal services. This makes it a great choice if you want complete digital defense.
Along with removing your info from over 20 top data broker sites, Aura provides full identity theft protection. It monitors your credit, financial accounts and web activity for fraud. You‘ll get alerts for compromised credentials, new loans or accounts opened in your name, data breaches, and other suspicious activity indicating identity theft.
Aura also includes password management which safely stores login credentials. The built-in VPN allows you to browse anonymously on public Wi-Fi. And parental controls let you monitor kids‘ devices and online activity.
The family plan covers up to 10 people, making Aura a cost-effective privacy solution for households. Downsides are it tends to be pricier than standalone data removal services, with plans starting at $12/month. There is a 14 day free trial available.
Overall, Aura is ideal for those wanting robust identity theft protection alongside data removal services. The bundle of security tools provides complete digital defense for individuals and families.
Incogni – Best For Hands-Off Convenience
- Fully automated process
- Accessible dashboard to track progress
- Covers 170 data brokers
- Monthly rechecking
For efficient, hands-off data removal, Incogni is a top choice. It thoroughly automates the opt-out process, requiring minimal effort on your end.
After signing up, Incogni gets to work scrubbing your personal information from over 170 major data broker and people search sites. The service handles creating accounts, submitting removal requests, following up with brokers and rechecking sites – freeing you from the grunt work.
The intuitive online dashboard allows you to easily track the removal process. You can view which data broker sites Incogni has contacted on your behalf and the status of each request.
Incogni re-scans sites monthly to prevent your data from reappearing. And email alerts notify you of any new exposures found.
Pricing starts at $6.49/month paid annually. Incogni offers a straightforward automated solution to erase your data from top broker sites with little ongoing maintenance required.
DeleteMe – Best For Phone/Email Protection
- 750+ data brokers covered
- Masks your phone/email to prevent spam
- Ongoing removals every 3 months
- Detailed privacy reports
For powerful data removal coupled with phone/email protection, DeleteMe is a top pick. It leverages an army of opt-out tools to comprehensively erase your digital footprint.
DeleteMe submits opt-out requests to over 750 major data broker sites – more than any provider we reviewed. It provides detailed reports showing all sites contacted and removal status.
Every three months, DeleteMe rescrubs these sites to ensure your data doesn‘t repopulate them. This ongoing maintenance is crucial, as brokers frequently reobtain deleted information.
Phone and email masking features are also included to reduce spam. DeleteMe generates masked email addresses and phone numbers that forward communications to your real accounts. This adds a layer of protection against unsolicited marketing contacts.
Plans start at $129/year ($10.75/month) and come with a 75 day money-back guarantee. For unparalleled data removal across the web, DeleteMe is a worth considering.
HelloPrivacy – Best For Low Maintenance
- Dark web scan for data breaches
- Simple set-and-forget solution
- Guides for DIY removal requests
- Checks 50+ data brokers
With competitive pricing and minimal effort required, HelloPrivacy is ideal for low-maintenance data removal.
A key perk is its dark web scan feature. This checks breach sites for exposure of your email, alerting you if credentials were compromised. The scan monitors up to five email addresses.
For data broker removal, HelloPrivacy handles submitting and following up with opt-out requests to over 50 sites. It rechecks monthly to confirm your data doesn‘t reappear.
While some services offer more robust broker coverage, HelloPrivacy‘s low-touch solution simplifies the process. And DIY removal guides empower you to handle removals from any additional sites yourself.
Plans start at $49.99/month, including unlimited data removal requests. Overall, HelloPrivacy provides reliable cleanup of your digital footprint with limited ongoing work needed.
Optery – Best For DIY Data Removal
- Free plan shows data exposures
- Paid plans automate removal
- Tracks up to 270+ data brokers
- Provides removal progress reports
Optery uniquely offers both DIY and automated data removal options. Its free plan reveals where your info is exposed online, empowering you to request removals yourself.
After providing your details, Optery generates an exposure report showing your personal data found across hundreds of broker, people search and background check sites. Screenshots serve as proof.
You can then manually contact each site identified to opt-out – a tedious process, but doable. Optery‘s reports simplify this first critical step.
For automation, paid plans starting at $3.99/month automatically submit and manage data removal requests. You receive monthly progress reports detailing exposures eliminated.
Overall, Optery lets you take a DIY or hands-off approach to regaining your privacy. It‘s price flexibility and visualization tools are ideal for tackling data removal yourself or with some automation.
3 More Top Data Removal Services
The services above lead the industry in value, features and data removal capabilities. But a few other worthwhile options include:
- Bitdefender Digital Identity Protection – Offers dark web monitoring and automated data removal across social media and data broker sites.
- Hogo Privacy Defense – Focuses on removal of your info from harmful people search sites used by stalkers and criminals.
- Privacy Bee – Submits DMCA content takedown requests to remove your data from websites like mugshot sites.
While they didn‘t make our top picks, these services merit consideration for specialized data removal needs.
What To Look For In a Data Removal Service
With the proliferation of data removal companies in recent years, how do you pinpoint the best one for your needs? Here are key criteria to evaluate:
Comprehensive Broker Coverage – More sites scrubbed means more privacy regained. Look for 1,000+ brokers and people search sites covered.
Ongoing Maintenance – Your data will repopulate sites if not continually monitored. Quarterly or monthly rechecking is ideal.
Removal Reports – Detailed reports build confidence by evidencing the opt-outs completed on your behalf.
Extra Features – Added privacy tools like email/phone masking, dark web monitoring, etc. provide well-rounded protection.
Customer Support – Robust phone, chat and email access ensures help when you need it.
Flexible Plans – Packages accommodating needs from DIY removal to full automation.
Money-Back Guarantee – Allows hassle-free cancellation if you‘re not satisfied with the service.
Security – Your data should be encrypted and safeguarded throughout the process.
By evaluating against criteria like this, you can zero in on the ideal data removal solution to meet your specific privacy goals and use case.
Do Data Removal Services Really Work?
With online privacy a top concern for consumers, the data removal industry is rife with sketchy players making big claims. So it‘s fair to ask – do these services really deliver as promised?
The short answer – the good ones certainly do. But performance can vary drastically between amateur outfits versus established solutions.
Top services like those profiled above have extensive manpower necessary to methodically submit removal requests at massive scale. Their size and resources enable contacting hundreds or thousands of broker sites on each customer‘s behalf – a herculean effort for DIY removal.
These leading solutions also have relationships and channels in place for efficiently submitting and escalating opt-out requests. And they continually monitor sites to enforce your preferences.
Can every last instance of your data across the internet be eliminated? Unfortunately no, as new data is constantly being collected and sold. However, the best services maximize removal of your exposure from the biggest brokers and people search platforms crawling the web. This drastically minimizes availability of your personal information to the majority of buyers.
While no solution is perfect, reputable providers can reliably deliver on their privacy promises. Just be sure to steer clear of inexperienced newbies making unrealistic claims. When in doubt, taking advantage of free trials and money-back guarantees allows you to thoroughly test options risk-free.
Is Data Removal Worth the Cost?
Pricing for top data removal services ranges from approximately $3 to $30+ per month depending on features. Is the investment worth it for your privacy?
For most, the cost is well justified when considering the immense time savings, reduced spam and security protections gained. Doing DIY opt-outs from even a fraction of the thousands of data brokers would require full-time effort.
Plus the monetary damages of identity theft – which data removal helps prevent – are around $1,500 on average. Just one case of fraud could outweigh years of service fees.
Of course, allocating any part of your budget to a non-essential service is a personal decision. Those more budget-constrained may prefer using DIY removal tools like Optery‘s free reports. But for most, reputable removal services deliver meaningful value that outweighs the costs.
Take Back Control of Your Personal Data
In closing, data removal services provide important protection against shady companies stockpiling and profiting off your most sensitive information. They save immense time and effort opting out of hundreds of brokers. And provide ongoing monitoring to preserve your privacy.
Leading solutions like Aura, Incogni, DeleteMe, HelloPrivacy and Optery each offer unique advantages depending on your needs for identity protection, convenience, robust removal and more. No matter which you choose, take solace in knowing your data is being responsibly removed.
Now go reclaim your digital privacy!