Imagine this: It‘s Saturday morning and you‘re sipping your coffee, scrolling through your bank app. But instead of your normal balance, the screen displays $-1,846. "That can‘t be right," you think. You log into your online banking on your laptop just to be sure. But the same negative balance stares back mockingly. Your stomach drops. Numerous charges from retailers you‘ve never shopped at litter your transaction history. You‘ve become a victim of identity theft.
Unfortunately, this is the disturbing reality for over 14 million Americans annually. As our lives have migrated online, everyone leaves virtual breadcrumbs that can be cobbled into a detailed mosaic of your identity. Things like your social media activity, web browsing, online purchases, and public records form a data trail that is scooped up by information brokers. While not always nefarious, this vast trove of personal data now accessible online has spawned an epidemic of identity theft and financial fraud.
Luckily, services like Incogni and DeleteMe empower you to reclaim control of your digital footprint. These platforms act on your behalf to systematically purge your personal information from data broker databases. But how do Incogni and DeleteMe compare? I‘ve conducted in-depth research on these two top data removal tools to reveal which truly offers superior protection.
The Growing Threat of Identity Theft
In 2021 alone, identity theft accounted for over 1.4 million cybercrime reports according to the Federal Trade Commission. And those are just the detected cases – many more incidents go unnoticed for months or longer.
The impacts of identity theft can be devastating. The average victim loses around $2500 and spends nearly 60 hours resolving the issue. But beyond the financial hit, identity theft leaves behind deep emotional scars in the form of anger, stress, and damaged credit scores.
What makes identity theft so pervasive in the digital era? The unfortunate reality is we leave trails of personal information as we browse, shop, and interact online. An estimated 4.5 billion digital records of individuals exist globally, spread across countless databases.
How Data Brokers Make You Vulnerable
Many of these digital records lie within the vaults of companies called data brokers. The services they provide sound benign enough – compiling consumer information into marketing profiles that brands can leverage for targeted advertising and product recommendations.
But make no mistake – the amount of insight data brokers amass about individuals is unsettling:
Acxiom – Claims to have data on over 700 million consumers worldwide, with over 3000 data points per person.
Epsilon – Has consumer profiles on over 100 million U.S. households. Knows people‘s credit card types, income range, recent purchases, and more.
CoreLogic – Maintains property ownership history, mortgage liens, property value assessments, and other financial info on most American adults.
These are just a few of the hundreds of major data brokers quietly compiling intricate data mosaics on virtually all consumers. Their databases interlink public records, online activities, purchase histories, location data, and more.
While brands use this for advertising, these vast data troves are a treasure trove for identity thieves if compromised. The lack of regulations on data brokers also enables misuse:
Up to 50% of breached identity records are traced back to original leaks from data brokers.
1 in 4 Americans have had their identities stolen partly through data broker leaks.
This has fueled the rise of data removal services like Incogni and DeleteMe that allow consumers to purge their information from broker databases. But how exactly do they work?
How Incogni deletes your data
Incogni is a relative newcomer founded in 2022 that has quickly made waves in privacy protection. Their model provides end-to-end automation of the data removal process for optimal convenience.
Create an Incogni account by providing your name, email, phone number, and payment details.
Grant Incogni power of attorney to act as your legal representative with data brokers.
Input personal details like date of birth, addresses, etc. to populate your data profile.
Incogni‘s system immediately identifies which of over 200 data brokers have your information and begins sending opt-out requests.
You can track removals in real-time on Incogni‘s intuitive online dashboard.
Incogni‘s algorithm continually monitors and re-sends requests if your data reappears.
Support & Pricing
Incogni offers 24/7 live chat and email support. Users report extremely fast, personalized responses.
Plans start at $12.49/month month-to-month, or just $6.49/month with annual prepay.
Volume discounts are available for protecting family members.
With minimal effort, Incogni‘s set-and-forget automation handles getting and keeping your data purged from over 200 data brokers.
How DeleteMe deletes your data
With over a decade of experience, DeleteMe is the pioneer of data removal services. Their process relies more on manual submissions versus automation.
Create a DeleteMe account with your email and payment details.
Provide personal information like your name, aliases, SSN, etc.
DeleteMe‘s team manually researches databases to identify which brokers have your records.
DeleteMe sends opt-out requests to approximately 50 major data brokers on your behalf.
You can monitor status of removals via DeleteMe‘s dashboard.
Requires manually refreshing removal requests every 3 months.
Support & Pricing
Phone, email, and chat support included with DeleteMe.
Subscription for one person costs around $10.75/month paid annually.
DeleteMe leverages their long-running experience to reliably scrub your records from top data brokers. But the process involves more manual effort versus automation.
Now that we‘ve covered the basics of how Incogni and DeleteMe work, let‘s compare them across some key factors:
Incogni vs. DeleteMe: In-Depth Feature Comparison
|Number of data brokers contacted||200+||~50|
|Account security protocols||End-to-end encryption, 2FA available||Encryption for data in transit, optional 2FA|
|Identity verification process||Manual review of government ID||Automated checks via third-party verification systems|
|Total customers served||100,000+||750,000+|
|Average customer rating||4.8/5 based on 500+ TrustPilot reviews||4.1/5 from 1300+ TrustPilot reviews|
|Mobile app availability||Yes||No|
|Removal request process||Fully automated||Semi-manual process|
|Additional privacy tools||Dark web monitoring, secure VPN with 128-bit encryption||VPN that includes identity protection|
|Customer service channels||Email, chat||Email, phone, chat|
|Average first response time||Under 0:30 with chat, within 2 hours via email||Within 24 hours|
|Subscription plans and pricing||$12.49/month month-to-month, $6.49/month for 1 year contract||Approximately $10.75/month with 1 year contract|
|International availability||US, UK, EU, Australia, Canada||US only|
Contacting more data brokers = better protection
With 4x more data brokers contacted, Incogni deletes your information from far more sources, including niche brokers DeleteMe may miss. This plugs more potential vulnerabilities.
Incogni‘s automation simplifies the process
Incogni‘s algorithm handles identifying brokers and continually sends/re-sends removal requests without any manual input needed. DeleteMe requires you to refresh requests every quarter.
Strong reviews for both, but Incogni rated higher
DeleteMe clearly has more total customers due to their long history. But Incogni‘s superior 4.8/5 average rating highlights their outstanding customer satisfaction.
Incogni‘s mobile app enables on-the-go access
Incogni allows you to monitor your dashboard and submit removal requests from your smartphone. DeleteMe lacks a mobile app.
Incogni has faster, more responsive support
With average response times under 30 minutes, Incogni‘s support team is extremely responsive. DeleteMe averages about 24 hours.
Incogni costs 20%+ less than DeleteMe
You save over $4 per month with Incogni‘s annual pricing versus DeleteMe‘s entry-level plan.
Which privacy tool provides better overall value?
When weighing all the factors, Incogni emerges as the winner for best all-around value and protection:
More extensive data deletion – Incogni deletes your records from 4x more brokers, including niche sources DeleteMe may miss.
Effortless automation – Set and forget. Incogni‘s algorithms handle identifying and contacting brokers then continually monitor and resubmit requests.
Stronger customer satisfaction – Incogni‘s 4.8/5 average rating highlights outstanding user experiences.
Better support – Incogni‘s average sub-30 minute response time to customer inquiries leads the industry.
Greater cost savings – Incogni‘s annual pricing provides 20%+ savings over DeleteMe‘s entry plan.
The only advantages held by DeleteMe are their long-standing brand recognition and option for phone support. But Incogni‘s vastly superior automation and value make it my top recommendation.
4 Tips for Safely Using Data Removal Services
While Incogni and DeleteMe provide immense value, you should take care to avoid schemes aimed at stealing your info. Here are tips to safely use data removal services:
Stick to reputable brands – Only use established services with transparent business practices and many satisfied customers. Avoid brand new companies.
Beware phishing – Ignore any unusual emails asking you to urgently log into your account. Use bookmarks to access sites directly.
Monitor closely – Keep an eye out for any suspicious account activity and promptly report concerns.
Enable extra security – Take full advantage of account security features like 2-factor authentication.
Take Control of Your Data Footprint with Incogni
Online privacy used to require completely unplugging from the internet ecosystem. But now there are effective tools that empower you to selectively remove your digital footprint from data broker databases.
Based on my in-depth analysis, Incogni is the #1 service for comprehensive, automated data deletion – restoring control of your personal information with minimal effort.
I highly recommend giving Incogni a try if you are concerned about the alarming amount of your data being bought and sold without your permission. You‘ll gain invaluable peace of mind knowing your sensitive information is scrubbed from hundreds of brokers. Don‘t wait until you become the next identity theft victim – take proactive steps to safeguard your data today with Incogni.