Incogni Review: 10 Minutes to Delete Your Personal Data from 172 Databases
Annoyed by pesky emails and phone calls and wondering where companies got your contact information? On the Internet, you often give your consent to the processing of your personal data by entering your name, contact details, and more.
This data is then collected by specialist companies and sold to insurance companies, banks, or electricity, tariff, and all sorts of comparison companies. Additionally, hackers can gain access to the database and steal your identity. For a one-time fee, Incogni will arrange to have your personal information deleted from these companies’ databases to prevent further abuse.
Incogni Removes Your Personal Data From the Internet for You
- Covers only certain marketing databases
- The service will find out by itself which databases contain users’ personal data
- Saves time for users who don’t have to track down and complexly navigate data holders
- Incogni sends prompts periodically for re-inclusion in the database
- Incogni’s legal department facilitates the process
Companies that specialize in acquiring personal data are referred to as Data Brokers. The nature of their business is to collect and then sell personal data. Data brokers may know not only your name but also your phone number, date of birth, address, your study history, and so on. They search all the data on the Internet, extract it from social networks, or buy it among themselves and aggregate it. According to the law, data brokers are obliged to delete the data if you ask them to.
Some data brokers deliberately ignore requests or make them deliberately complicated by forcing users to fill in a deliberately complicated and opaque form. For such cases, Incogni is there to negotiate data deletion on your behalf and check that the deletion has actually taken place. The advantage is that the whole process is fully automated. Incogni states on its website that the average person would spend over 300 hours trawling through databases to request that their data be deleted.
The company behind Incogni is Surfshark B.V., best known for operating Surfshark, one of the highest quality VPN services on the market. The security of this service is regularly audited by an independent company.
In addition to the data wiping service itself, on the Incogni website, you can find an extensive blog where you can learn about the risks of sharing your data online and interesting facts from the world of cybersecurity.
How Does Incogni Achieve the Deletion of Personal Data?
Incogni contacts data brokers (companies that collect personal data) on your behalf to request that your personal data be deleted from their databases.
Incogni monitors over 172 companies, the list of which is constantly updated. Data brokers are divided into several categories. They can be companies specializing in the marketing use of data, or in the use of data in the financial or insurance sector. Based on this data, banks or insurance companies can check your financial or health status and possibly worsen your loan conditions or the price of commercial insurance.
Some of the companies include Whitepages, MyLife.com, Allpeople, and others. The names of the companies probably won’t mean anything to you because, paradoxically, consumers don’t often come into contact with them. Their business partners are other companies to whom they sell your personal data, which is then used to contact you directly and offer products or targeted advertising.
Incogni displays detailed information about each data broker, what they do, and how they use the personal data they collect. You can find this information in your Incogni profile under the “Detailed View” tab.
The first criterion is the “Compliance Score,” which determines how quickly and how reliably a data broker responds to Incogni’s request to delete data. The second criterion is “Severity,” an indication of how confidential the data the company collects is.
Incogni also records for each company how many data erasure requests have been sent, as data brokers may collect personal data repeatedly. Thus, even data erasure requests must be made repeatedly.
On the details page, you can read brief information about each broker and the risks associated with it. The most common risks are identity theft, spam, deterioration of bank scores, etc.
Incogni doesn’t know if the companies actually have your data when they make requests because it is in circulation. The company has developed an algorithm to evaluate which companies might have your data and then reach out to those companies.
It’s also important to note that Incogni only works in countries that have enforceable data protection laws. These include European Union member countries governed by the GDPR, Switzerland, the UK, the US, Canada, and some other countries. The list is subject to change from time to time, and you select your country from the list when you register.
The Incogni website is in English only; no other languages are available. However, the login instructions themselves are simple, and anyone can start the deletion process.
Our Experience With Incogni: Within a Week, They Deleted Personal Data at 19 Brokers
The process of starting Incogni begins on the site by creating an account. You enter your email, name, and complete address.
You must then sign a form authorizing Incogni to act on your behalf with data brokers when requesting data deletion. You can manually enter the signature or have it created digitally based on your name.
The final step is payment. Once this is done, the request for deletion will be made in the databases of the companies that Incogni monitors. In your profile, you can add other identifying information so that Incogni can better recognize your data, such as your date of birth and phone number.
You can find an overview of the number of brokers contacted and the requests processed on the main page of your account. In our case, Incogni contacted 52 brokers. Two brokers had their data deleted the same day we registered, while 17 brokers had their data deleted within a week. For some brokers, the deletion took up to two months. Several brokers also stated that they have blacklisted us and will not collect data on us again in the future.
For some databases, Incogni may require additional verification from you before requesting expungement because the identifiers may be insufficient for the automated process.
Incogni Subscription: Trial Version, Price, Money-Back Guarantee…
Incogni offers only one product and a subscription with monthly or yearly billing. The annual payment will cost you about half of that on a monthly basis. On the other hand, the question is whether it is worthwhile to have an annual subscription or to activate the service once in a while, as companies can access your data repeatedly.
The payment field will appear after you fill in your personal details and sign the form, whereupon Incogni will request to delete your data. Payment is possible by credit card or PayPal. After payment, the process of requesting the deletion of your data will begin.
Incogni does not offer a trial version to test the service, but you can request a refund within 30 days of payment if you are not satisfied with the service.
There is also no family account, which would be more financially beneficial than individual accounts and allow the entire family to delete data from the Internet together. However, Incogni’s information states that this service is in the planning stages.
Who Is Behind Incogni?
The company behind Incogni is Surfshark B.V., a Dutch company best known for operating a private network under the same name, Surfshark. Apart from that, it has ownership links with the operators of two other high-quality VPN services, NordVPN and Atlas VPN Pro.
Personal data is protected in accordance with the GDPR, to which the Netherlands, as a member of the European Union, adheres. Companies in the Netherlands do not have to store any data due to favorable laws. Additionally, the Netherlands is a member of the Nine Eyes alliance, which also includes the USA and Canada. These countries share information obtained by intelligence services between them.
Incogni has quite a lot of data about you, due to the fact that it subsequently demands its deletion from companies on the Internet.
Privacy and Incogni: Storing Personal Data, Securing…
The main purpose of Incogni is to remove your data from the Internet so that it cannot be misused for illegal activities or monetized.
However, for Incogni to identify your data, you must provide it. The more you provide, the more it can delete. It is recommended that you include your address, full name, phone number, and date of birth.
Incogni also collects cookies when you visit the website. Payment information is collected by the partner company that provides the service for Incogni, so that it can be used for refunds when necessary.
The data Incogni holds about you may be shared with third parties. These are companies that provide additional services to offer a comprehensive service (e.g., customer support, analytical purposes). This includes Google, for example, as Incogni uses Google Analytics to analyze website user behavior.
Incogni retains your personal data for up to two years. In general, however, Surfshark, the company behind Incogni, is a reputable provider of anonymity and cybersecurity services. You don’t have to worry about the security of the information you provide to the service.
To maximize the protection of its clients, Incogni participates in a bug bounty program. If you discover a weakness and are the first to do so, the company will pay you a bounty.
Incogni Support: Chat, Email…
Incogni does not offer live chat or phone support. The main assistance is the extensive knowledge base, which contains answers to common questions, billing information, or explanations of how to delete data from Internet databases.
Frequently Asked Questions on Incogni
Is Incogni a trusted service?The company behind Incogni is Surfshark B.V., known for its eponymous VPN app Surfshark, which is transparent and independently audited. So, we have no concerns about Incogni’s credibility. The company does not sell the personal information you provide. On the contrary, it tries to get companies that trade your data to delete it.
Is Incogni free?Incogni is a paid service that saves you time. Just fill out one form, and Incogni will take care of deleting your personal data from dozens of data brokers. Starting the process of requesting the deletion of your personal data from data brokers’ databases is conditional upon payment of a subscription fee. A monthly or annual subscription option is available.
Current subscription prices are on the Incogni website. Neither the free option nor the trial version of Incogni is available. If you are not satisfied with Incogni, you can take advantage of the 30-day money-back guarantee. Just contact customer support at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How does Incogni work?Incogni offers to ensure your personal data is deleted from the databases of marketing companies that specialize in monetizing it. They sell this data to banks, recruitment agencies, internet comparison sites, or other marketing companies who may use it for promotional messages.
Incogni has a database of data brokers that it is constantly adding to. Based on the personal information you enter when you create an account with Incogni and using an algorithm, it will select data brokers. It will ask them to delete your personal data on your behalf. If you pay an annual subscription, it repeats this process periodically to prevent this data from being retrieved again.