Incogni is a new service introduced by Surfshark (known for its VPN). Incogni stops data brokers from storing and sharing your personal data, much like other data removal services, such as DeleteMe.
You may not know it yet, but your personal information, such as your name, location, marital status, Social Security Number, employment history, and financial records, might be in the hands of data brokers. Getting these brokers to get rid of your details can be a time-consuming and frustrating process. However, Incogni simplifies, speeds up, and automates data removal requests on your behalf, significantly increasing your chances of protecting your online privacy.
In this Incogni review, we pick apart this privacy service to see if it’s worth your money.
Incogni Review: In a Nutshell
|Sends data removal requests in your name to save you time||No guarantee that brokers will remove your personal data|
|UI is simple, organized, and easy-to-use||Only available in the US, UK, Canada, and the EU|
|Tracks and reports on responses from data brokers|
|Recurring data removals|
Overall, Incogni is a useful tool for protecting your online privacy. It rides on privacy laws and regulations like the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) to force data collectors to erase your personal data from their online databases and keep them from adding it back in. Note that, because of the jurisdictions of these regulations, Incogni only works in the U.K., the U.S., Canada, and the EU.
Creating an Incogni account is easy, since all you need is your name and email address. Afterward, you’ll be asked to enter extra personal data, sign the authorization form, verify your email address, and choose a plan. Incogni handles your data with care, though it should be noted that they use (temporary) marketing cookies on their website.
Incogni works with 146 brokers and counting. This figure is impressive, considering that the service started only a few months ago. However, Incogni doesn’t work with the most popular brokers yet.
In addition, Incogni’s plans are relatively cheap compared to competitors like Abine DeleteMe and Kanary. When it comes to customer service, Incogni’s service team is exceptionally fast and responsive through email.
Within a week after we signed up, Incogni had completed 23 data removals with 81 pending. This is a commendable rate, although there was no way to verify the exact details that the brokers had removed.
Incogni is a decent new data deletion service. There is, however, definitely room for this service to grow, and we’re excited to see how it will develop in the future.
Would you like to give it a try yourself? Click the link below to visit the Incogni website.
Pricing: How Expensive is Incogni?
Incogni is a surprisingly cheap service compared to competitors. It has two pricing plans:
- Monthly plan: $11.99 per month
- Yearly plan: $68.49 per year
If you want to save money, we recommend the yearly plan, which comes down to $5.79 per month. This means you end up saving 50% compared to the monthly plan. You can pay with your credit card or through PayPal.
Most online privacy tools are much more expensive than Incogni. For example, Kanary’s yearly subscription costs $89.99, while the family plan costs $129.99 yearly. Similarly, DeleteMe will set you back $129 annually. It’s nice and refreshing to have a budget removal service available, so everyone gets the chance to protect their privacy this way.
Why get a long-term Incogni subscription?
You might wonder why Incogni offers monthly and yearly subscriptions. Isn’t it enough to send out data removal requests once and be done with it? Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. A data removal request might result in a broker deleting your data, but it won’t stop them from gathering that data anew. That’s why Incogni sends recurring personal data removal requests. This way, they can make sure a user’s data stays off the market – for as long as that user has an active Incogni subscription.
On top of that, Incogni is a relatively new service that keeps adding new data brokers. Because of this expanding list, a long-term subscription will pay off: your data will be removed from more places.
How to cancel your subscription
To cancel your plan, you’ll need to reach out to customer support: [email protected]. You can get a refund within the first 30 days of your subscription. You can even get a refund for a second cancellation, but only after six months.
If you pay for the monthly plan, you might wonder what will happen if your subscription ends before a data removal request is completed. Per data rights protocols, data brokers have 45 days to respond to data removal requests. Practice proves that some of them work at a snail’s pace. Hence, a request might be pending when your subscription runs out.
The good news is that Incogni will continue to work on pending official removal requests even when your subscription ends. However, if you want the service to contact a new data broker, you’ll have to renew your subscription.
Privacy: How Privacy-Minded is Incogni?
Since Incogni is a privacy service at heart, it’s no surprise that it handles customer data with extreme caution. Incogni intentionally collects little customer data. Still, it’s worth taking a deep dive into this service, which is owned by the same people as Surfshark, one of the most popular VPNs of this moment.
How much information does Incogni store?
Below are the logs Incogni keeps:
- Device information: how you navigate the Incogni website (through analytic and marketing cookies)
- Personal data: your full name, address, and date of birth
- Account information: your email and password
Also, you’ll need to sign the authorization form, also called a limited power of attorney, to give Incogni permission to contact data brokers on your behalf. This power of attorney is vital, because it tells data brokers that Incogni is legally acting on your behalf.
Most of this information is necessary to help Incogni work on your behalf. To get the best results, make sure you submit accurate personal info. Otherwise, data brokers can reject your removal requests because of the wrong information.
Occasionally, at the urging of data brokers, Incogni may request further information from you. However, they do this as little as possible, especially compared to competitors: some services like Abine’s DeleteMe demand extra information like your government-issued ID right off the bat.
If you have any doubts, you can ask the company to show you what data they have on you. You have the right to correct, update, or delete any data Incogni has on you at any time.
How Incogni protects your privacy
Incogni’s internal algorithm uses the little information you provide at the signup stage (your name, email, and home address) to predict which data brokers might have your data. For instance, Incogni may not contact data brokers that don’t collect data within your area.
While this method is not foolproof, it automates and speeds up the process, giving you a higher chance of contacting the right brokers. The downside of this strategy is that Incogni doesn’t know which details brokers have on you. Hence, it’s generally impossible to double-check if brokers have actually removed your information.
It has been decided by law that companies should comply with requests in 30 days (GDPR) or 45 days (CCPA). A spokesperson from Incogni explained the process of their removal requests to us: “In case companies don’t come back within the provided time frame by law, we follow up to see how to resolve the situation, but that can add additional time to confirm requests.”
If Incogni adds new data brokers, the service will contact them automatically on your behalf. In other words: you don’t have to take any action yourself. On top of that, Incogni “repeats the process every few months not to just clear your data, but make sure you didn’t end up in their systems later after the initial removal.”
Incogni is only able to act on behalf of residents that are covered by the following laws:
- General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
- California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA)
- Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA)
Because Incogni depends on such local data handling legislation, it only works in the United Kingdom, Europe, Canada, and the United States.
Data brokers Incogni works with
At the time of writing, Incogni has 146 data brokers on its list. On January 3, 2022, the service was working with only 76 brokers. That’s a huge increase in just a few months. For perspective, DeleteMe works with 100+ data collectors as well, although it started in 2011. However, considering that there are over 4,000 data brokers, Incogni still has a long way to go.
Incogni prioritizes top-tier brokers in industries like marketing, risk mitigation, recruitment, and people search. Some of the brokers on their list include:
- All Webs Leads
If you ask Incogni to make data removal requests on your behalf, the service won’t contact all 146 data brokers on its list. Rather, it uses an algorithm to predict which brokers might have your data, based on factors like your location and preference.
When we asked Incogni how they deal with sending data requests to brokers who don’t have their users’ data yet, an Incogni spokesperson commented the following: “It is legally (as per GDPR, CCPA and PIPEDA) forbidden to keep and use the data provided in data removal requests for any other purpose outside the processing of the request . The most data brokers can do, is to keep a bare minimum of this data in their suppression file, which would prevent your information from getting into their databases in the future.”
Unfortunately, we noticed that Incogni doesn’t yet work with some of the largest data brokers like Acxiom, Experian, Epsilon, Equifax, and Corelogic. However, customer support told us that the company is “finding and adding more data brokers to request data removal on an ongoing basis.”
Usability: How User-Friendly is Incogni?
We reviewed Incogni’s usability based on three considerations: signup, dashboard functionality, and customer service. Here’s what we noticed:
- Incogni is easy to set up.
- The dashboard is neatly organized and intuitive.
- Incogni’s customer service is fast and responsive.
Let’s delve into each of them.
Signing up for Incogni
To get started, go to Incogni.com and sign up to create your account. You’ll only need to enter your email address and a password.
Once you’re done, you’ll be taken to your Incogni account. Before Incogni can start sending requests to data brokers in your stead, you need to complete these four steps:
1. Provide additional personal data, meaning your full name and home address.
2. Sign the power of attorney document, so Incogni has the right to send official data removal requests in your name.
3. Verify your email address.
4. Choose a subscription plan. Incogni has two plans, but we recommend the yearly one, especially since Incogni is still constantly getting new data brokers on board.
Once you’re done with the registration process, Incogni will start sending official removal requests on your behalf.
When we signed up for an Incogni account and verified our email address, we received an onboarding email explaining the basics of getting started with Incogni with a step-by-step guide much like the one above. We found this practical and insightful.
The Incogni dashboard
The default view of the Incogni website after login is the dashboard view, which is neatly designed and has a minimalist and intuitive interface.
This dashboard gives you an overview of the progress of your data requests with the following tabs:
- All: You’ll see the number of data brokers Incogni works with here.
- Completed: This displays the number of official data removal requests that have been accepted.
- In progress: This tab shows the number of data removal requests still being processed.
- Rejected: This tab shows the number of contacted brokers who have refused to delete your sensitive data.
Alternatively, you can switch to a “detailed view,” which gives you an in-depth look into each of the companies that Incogni is contacting on your behalf. You can see details about the data broker, including their niche and description. You’ll also get to see the status of your request with each data broker.
An interesting feature that’s worth looking at is the data sensitivity section, which is measured using “skulls.” One or two skulls indicate that the information the data a broker has on you is not that sensitive. However, anything more than three skulls signals sensitive information like social security numbers and credit card information.
Overall, Incogni looks nice and insightful. The biggest plus of a service like this is that you don’t have to do much yourself. You can just sit back and use the dashboard to keep an eye on how Incogni’s data removal requests are doing.
Incogni’s customer service
Incogni’s customer service options are rather limited. There was no number we could call, neither was there a live chat option. However, Incogni provided reliable email support through this address: [email protected].
We tested Incogni’s customer service by sending them some questions. Impressively, we received a detailed response within an hour.
Furthermore, Incogni has a handy FAQ section that answers about 20 questions, covering Incogni, the data removal process, and dealing with data brokers. We found the answers to be apt and comprehensive, but expect this knowledge base to grow and be updated more frequently with time.
What Is a Data Broker?
Data brokers are companies that collect your information and sell it to third parties such as marketers and advertisers. Also known as information brokers or data resellers, data brokers collect all kinds of information about you, including your name, gender, age, telephone number, residential address, email address, purchasing history, interests, income, occupation, education, and social security number.
These brokers get their information by crawling the internet, especially your web history and social media, for your personal details. They also get data from government records like marriage certificates, driver’s licenses, census data, and birth certificates.
Why Use a Service Like Incogni?
You might be wondering if you need a service like Incogni at all. In essence, Incogni just contacts data brokers so they erase your personal information. Why pay for a service when you might as well do so yourself? Well, there are two reasons:
- Time: sending data removal requests by yourself can take hours and hours. There are over 4,000 data brokers out there. According to Surfshark’s research, if you send official data requests to one broker at a time, you’ll need nearly 70 years to finalize each request. On top of that, in order to prevent brokers from adding your data back in, you’ll have to resend data removal requests after a while.
- Effectiveness: With so many data brokers on the market, you might not know which ones have your personal information on file. As a result, your data request removals may end up being a hit-or-miss affair. Besides, even if you manage to send requests to the right companies, they might draw out the process by requesting you to fill out complex forms and all kinds of verification requests. A service like Incogni is built to jump through these hoops. Incogni is backed by a knowledgeable legal team and an algorithm that helps pinpoint which data brokers have your data.
Should You Get Incogni?
Incogni is a handy new tool by Surfshark, better known for its virtual private network (VPN) service. Although Incogni is very new, it has already become an effective data removal service that is in touch with over a hundred data brokers.
Due to its relatively cheap subscriptions, it can be a great option for people who are concerned about their privacy, but short on time and money. Incogni will take care of all the communication with data collectors, and all you’ll have to do is occasionally check their dashboard to see the status of requests.
When you utilize services like Incogni, there is never a 100% guarantee that data collectors actually get rid of your data. That said, Incogni is in fact a useful service that’s still adding features and increasing its reach. We’re looking forward to seeing how it will develop!
Below are some other interesting updates from Surfshark, the company behind Incogni, that are worth reading:
- Surfshark VPN Announces Nexus Upgrade Offering Additional Security
- Surfshark is Upgrading Global VPN Servers to 10Gbps
- Nord Security and Surfshark Finalize Landmark Merger
If you want to know more about online privacy and how you can safeguard yours, check out these articles:
- How to Browse the Internet Anonymously
- The Best VPNs for Europe
- Take Charge of Your Google Privacy Settings
If you have a question about Incogni, check out the Q&A below. Click on a question to read the answer.
Incogni is a privacy tool that automates data removal requests on your behalf. The service does a great job of predicting which brokers might have your data, sending removal requests, and tracking their progress. See how the service works in our full-length Incogni review.
You can sign up for an Incogni account without paying. However, you need to subscribe to either the monthly or annual plan for Incogni to send data removal requests on your behalf. Although the monthly plan is pricey, you can save money on the annual plan. Read our Incogni review to see how that works.
Yes, Incogni is legit. The privacy service excels at predicting which data brokers have your data, sending them removal requests on your behalf, and providing progress reports. Also, it’s built by Surfshark, an excellent cybersecurity company that has no records of data breaches in the past. Learn more about Surfshark in our Surfshark review.