Company: Incogni by Surfshark
Background: Incogni works on your behalf to contact data brokers and get your information removed from their possession. Think of it as a concierge personal data protection law firm that works silently in the background for your benefit.
Starting Price: $5.79/mo
Visit Online: https://incogni.com/
Review Summary & Ratings
For a long time, we ran rampant across the Internet. So many things are free – they just want to know a few minor details about you in exchange. In the end, you provide ten websites with your data, and they sell or give it to 100 others. By then, it’s too late to regret, and you’ve lost control over things. At this point, it’s time to consider a service like Incogni, which will take over the headache and get the data removed on your behalf. Easy peasy, right?
Pros: What I Love About Incogni
1. Incogni is Unambiguous
One of the best things about Incogni is the straightforward presentation of the service. The website itself is simple and contains precise information about what it does, what it does not, and who it can assist.
Today, many websites have a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section for no real purpose. Incogni’s FAQ is one of the few I find truly useful and provides essential information that can help guide your decisions.
For example, Incogni breaks data brokers into various categories – Marketing brokers, financial brokers, etc. It then informs you about the exact nature of these data brokers and what they often do with your information.
2. Minimal Effort is Required to Use Incogni
Getting started on your quest for data removal is easy with Incogni. You essentially sign up for a plan, provide basic personal information, then digital consent to act on your behalf. It’s not a lot of form-filling, but everything’s necessary for legal purposes.
Incogni needs your full name and address so that data removal requests are accurate on your behalf. Not all data brokers work on email addresses alone. Many often have much more information like your physical address, social security number, etc.
Finally, Incogni needs your power of attorney. This authorization essentially authorizes them to act on your behalf so that data brokers cannot ignore Incogni’s demands. Don’t worry about this authorization; its scope is precise and expires when the data broker complies.
3. Incogni Works Fast Once It Gets Going
Once you’ve given it the needed stuff to work, Incogni runs like a thoroughbred racehorse. At the time of writing, the service has 76 data brokers. Don’t mistake data brokers for websites or individual services, though. These are the significant players that deal commercially with your data.
Data brokers are unlike individual websites that may get your data for their internal needs. For example, an online store may need your address to ship an item you purchased. On the other hand, data brokers beg, borrow, buy, or steal data in any way they can.
Sadly, most of the time, this is legal. That legality is primarily technical and takes advantage of odd clauses and the ignorance of consumers when it comes to their digital rights.
4. Incogni Provides Useful Status Updates
Don’t worry about losing control over what’s happening on Incogni. You get access to a very user-friendly status display that lets you know the actual progress of each request Incogni has made.
I especially like the cute “risk level” icons that let you know how dangerous each of the data brokers listed can be. It’s a very modern touch that makes things easier to use for the average consumer. For those who’ve used security products before, you’ll know how jargonish most can be.
5. 30-Day Money-back Guarantee
As with many services you purchase online today, Incogni by Surfshark comes with a money-back guarantee. If you aren’t happy with Incogni, you can cancel your subscription. If you cancel within the first 30-days, there will be a full refund, no questions asked.
For those who might think of abusing this generosity, be aware that any subsequent subscriptions will no longer be eligible for refunds if you do this twice. In addition, a second cancellation for a refund within six months of the first will not be entertained.
6. Incogni’s Effect is Persistent
By this point, you should have a better idea of data brokers and their slimy ways. Incogni will make them remove existing data, but they’ll eventually gather more. There isn’t any way to force them to stop short of a court injunction.
Thankfully, Incogni is also pretty persistent and will repeat its demands on these data brokers. As long as your subscription is active, Incogni can repeat demands for data removal from any of the data brokers in its list.
7. Everything About Incogni is Consumer-friendly
As a tech nerd, most services are somewhat useable, even if not entirely user-friendly. It’s simply part of what I am, but I understand that many others see things differently. In the case of Incogni, I was surprised at the overall excellent service presentation.
It seems designed to be as unconfusing as possible while demanding as little of its users as needed. Even the way results get presented feels useful. Even by service providers as large as Google, I've seen far worse, so Surfshark did a fantastic job with Incogni.
Simply put, it’s something that anyone can easily use. The best way to say this would be in a layman's words. My sister told me precisely:
“For $60+ a year, it’s not a lot compared to Credit Karma. This is actually a proactive service that contacts these companies to remove your info, and they walk you thru what happens when you contact them and if they contact you. It’s basically the equivalent of “talk to my lawyers.” I can say that IF this works, I will be renewing next year.”
Cons: What I Dislike About Incogni
1. Incogni isn’t Available Worldwide
When I first came across Incogni, I was delighted. It seemed to be precisely what the doctor ordered. Unfortunately, I quickly discovered that the service is only available in the US, UK, and Europe. Living in Asia, I could sign up for an account, but Incogni clearly warned that its effectiveness in this region is limited.
That limitation doesn’t have anything to do with their capability, but it’s simply how data protection laws work at present.
Thankfully my sister resides in the US and was happy to help me out. This Incogni review is the cumulation of a hundred emails and many long chats on IM. Thanks to her account (and data), I managed a complete tour of the service.
2. Data Removal is a Lifelong Challenge
Sadly, Incogni isn’t a one-time-use service. You’ll need to stay signed up with the service for as long as you want your data kept away from brokers. Data brokers will continually add to their database. Even if they comply with a data removal request, they will gather more.
When that happens, Incogni goes to work again and makes them remove the data. It’s the circle of life online and one that isn’t easy to escape. Again, this is simply how the world of data privacy works at present.
Incogni Plans & Pricing
Incogni’s pricing model is straightforward. There’s a single plan, payable either monthly or on an annual basis. Monthly subscriptions are $11.49/mo, but prices drop to a mere $5.79/mo (the total for a one-year subscription is $69.48) for those willing to pay annually.
I’ve seen some reviews online scoff at the prices levied by Incogni, and I thought those comments were mainly incredulous. For those who might balk at Incogni’s fees, let’s consider some alternatives in the market;
- Experian IdentityWorks Plus: $9.99/mo
- DeleteMe: $10.75/mo
- OneRep: $8.33/mo
As you can see, Incogni is remarkably well-priced. Plus, $5.79/mo is well worth the time you’d otherwise spend barking at hundreds of websites to get an account or information deleted.
Final Thoughts on Incogni
In the past, I’ve attempted to get some websites and services to remove my account or data. The websites were happy to do so upon request in a few cases. However, the vast majority simply ignored me or didn’t even provide the means to make such a request.
If I live in the US, UK, or EU, I’d be more than happy to sign up for Incogni’s service, even if it means a lifetime of fees. At least until data protection laws become genuinely effective.