In an ever more online world, it’s increasingly difficult to keep your personal information private. One way or another, information about you will end up in the hands of data brokers that can then sell it to advertisers, surveillance agencies and scammers. In this DeleteMe review, we’ll assess the service’s ability to get all your data wiped from the internet.
Key Takeaways: DeleteMe Review
- DeleteMe is a personal information removal service that contacts data brokers and people search sites in your name to get them to delete you from their systems.
- It offers a more comprehensive suite of features than its competitors, but it also comes with a higher price tag.
Every time you visit a website, you leave some data online, which data brokers can buy and resell. DeleteMe is a data removal service that contacts data brokers in your stead to get them to delete any of your personal information that they hold. It automates the whole process so that all you have to do is fill out a form, and DeleteMe will do the rest for you.
DeleteMe states in its policy that it may sell your data in an undefined “sale of assets.” While we can only assume as to what this wording might cover, DeleteMe can also share your data in anonymized form, which is cause enough for concern.
DeleteMe Review: Pros & Cons
- Over 750 data brokers
- Advanced features
- Good customer support
- May sell your personal data in a sale of assets
- Shares your data with third parties in anonymized form
- No 24/7 support
DeleteMe’s main goal is to scrub your personal information from public records, data broker databases and search engine results, and it’s more fleshed out than competing services like Incogni and OneRep. It comes with a few extra privacy tools and a detailed report on every batch of data removal or opt-out requests. Let’s go over the basics first.
DeleteMe primarily serves U.S. citizens, though it’s recently expanded to provide a separate service to international customers. You can sign up via the international DeleteMe website if you reside in any of the following countries:
- 🇦🇺 Australia
- 🇧🇷 Brazil
- 🇨🇦 Canada
- 🇫🇷 France
- 🇩🇪 Germany
- 🇮🇪 Ireland
- 🇮🇹 Italy
- 🇳🇱 The Netherlands
- 🇸🇬 Singapore
- 🇬🇧 The United Kingdom
Depending on your subscription, you can cover either one or two people. Although it works automatically, it asks for quite a lot of private information, which can make it seem more daunting than similar services. However, this also means that it might yield better results, since it has a lot more information to search for.
Regardless, once you fill out the form, DeleteMe will start scouring data brokers for your personal information and customer data. If it finds a match, it will contact the data broker and send an opt-out request. Within a week of creating your account, you will receive a privacy report.
DeleteMe Privacy Report
DeleteMe’s privacy reports detail the actions it has taken on your behalf for the past session and its results. You’ll receive your first report within seven days, plus follow-up reports every 90 days, as DeleteMe keeps periodically scanning for your data.
The DeleteMe report includes:
- A statement from DeleteMe about how it works and how long opt-out requests may take
- The number of records reviewed
- The amount of data removed
- The number of data brokers with your personal information
- The data broker with the most information about you
- Any employer-provided protection
- The estimated time it’s saved you from personally searching and removing your data
DeleteMe Email, Phone & Payment Card Masking
One of the best ways to keep your private data anonymous is by simply not providing any of it in the first place. DeleteMe lets you do this by setting up a fake email address, phone number and credit card. You can use this false data to sign up for services that require these things while keeping your real information hidden.
Email masking works by creating an email address on a DeleteMe server that can receive a registration confirmation email for you. You can choose whether or not to forward all emails from that address to your private one.
Phone masking works similarly, by providing you with burner phone numbers that you can use to register for a website or service. This will keep your phone number hidden from spam callers and scammers. Unfortunately, most U.S. carriers don’t allow forwarding for short-code messages, which means that you can’t use a masked phone number for registration verification.
Card masking works a bit differently than the other two masking features. DeleteMe creates a virtual card that you can top up and use as a payment method without exposing your real payment card information.
Data Broker Websites That DeleteMe Contacts
Founded all the way back in 2010, DeleteMe is no stranger to data broker websites. It covers over 750 data broker websites, including all leading data brokers. The list below includes the major data broker companies and people search websites that DeleteMe deals with, though this list is far from exhaustive.
Covered sites include:
- US Search
- White Pages
Keep in mind that some data brokers only operate in certain states, and DeleteMe will not scan all of them automatically. You might have to look through its list of data brokers to find those specific to your state and then lodge a custom opt-out request via support. Some data brokers are limited to businesses, and some are only available to the highest-paying customers.
DeleteMe is more expensive than competing services, but its more advanced feature set might justify the increase in cost. Remember, it’s not all about the price you pay, but also the value you get for your money.
The service offers three plans, billed either annually or every two years. If you pay annually, the standard one-person subscription costs $10.75 per month (billed as $129 per year). For the two-year plan, you’ll only have to pay $8.71 per month (billed as $209 every two years).
If you want to cover another person, you can get the second tier yearly subscription, which costs $19.08 per month (billed as $229 per year). You can also pay for the two-person plan on a two-year basis, costing $14.45 per month (billed as $349 every two years).
There’s also a family plan that costs either $27.42 per month (billed as $329 per year) or $20.79 per month (billed as $499 every two years) on the longer plan. If you want to use DeleteMe for your company, you’ll have to contact DeleteMe for a quote.
|Plan:||1 Year||2 Years|
|One person||$129 ($10.75 monthly)||$209 ($8.71 monthly)|
|Two people||$229 ($19.08 monthly)||$349 ($14.45 monthly)|
|Family||$329 ($27.42 monthly)||$499 ($20.79 monthly)|
|Enterprise||Ask for quote||Ask for quote|
DeleteMe Cost: Gold, Diamond, Platinum & VIP
If you’re absolutely hell-bent on getting every last crumb of your information off the internet, you can get a Gold, Diamond, Platinum or VIP DeleteMe subscription. These tiers add more data broker sites and other advanced features to your account. Note that you won’t find these on the DeleteMe website — you’ll have to contact support to request a subscription.
Gold costs $180 per year, adding 60 extra sites and increasing the frequency of reports to six per year. Diamond costs $425 per year and adds 65 sites and additional data masking controls on top of the Gold perks.
Platinum costs $1,000 per year and adds 75 data brokers and a Google search engine scrub from a professional at the DeleteMe team, as well as increasing the frequency of reports to one per month. The VIP package adds another 100 data brokers, plus all the perks of the Platinum tier.
DeleteMe Free Plan vs Free Scan
Although DeleteMe does not offer a free plan, it does offer a free scan to see if you have any personal information online that might show up in Google search results. The scan only covers the 40 most popular data brokers, but it’s safe to say that it will most likely come up with more than a few positive hits. You can also get a free $50 Amazon gift card if you successfully refer a friend.
Although the service has no money-back guarantee, you can get a refund if you cancel your subscription before you receive your first report. If you cancel after getting the report, you’re still entitled to a prorated refund based on the time left before your subscription runs out.
DeleteMe presents a modern and user-friendly interface that’s easy to get around. You’ll find most of the data you need right on the dashboard, and if you want to access any advanced features or edit any DeleteMe account information, you can use the tabs on the left-hand side.
How to Remove Data From Data Brokers and People Search Sites
Although the data removal process itself is fully automated (apart from the state-specific exceptions we mentioned), filling out the whole data sheet form can take a while. Here are the steps needed to fill out the DeleteMe data sheet.
- Personal Information
Add your full name, date of birth, phone number and email address. You can add up to five alternative names, numbers and emails.
Add your current home address, as well as any past addresses you may have resided at.
Choose an email address that DeleteMe or data brokers can use to contact you. Some brokers might require your personal verification, either by replying to an email or by clicking a verification link. Some might refuse to delete your data, in which case you’ll be emailed using the chosen address.
Because some brokers require a government-issued ID, you can optionally upload your ID card, passport or driver’s license, blocking out the ID number and photo.
- Employer Info
Optionally, you can add information about your employer to increase the accuracy of searches. You can add an unlimited number of past job positions.
- Family & Relatives
Another optional step, adding the names or email addresses of relatives and family members can further increase the accuracy of DeleteMe results. The number of relatives you can add is unlimited.
Security & Privacy
If you went through the entire data sheet, you’ll have noticed that DeleteMe asks for a lot of personal details, more than any other similar service. We’ll discuss what it can do with that information in a bit, but first let’s talk security.
DeleteMe is a bit mum when it comes to how it stores your data. It states only that it employs “leading security practices,” such as encrypting communication via HTTPS. We can only assume it stores your data safely and in an encrypted format, but we’re left to guess at these details.
Unfortunately, that’s only the start of the policy, and it only gets worse as you read on. In the section discussing how it uses your information, it claims that it creates anonymous data from your personal information, which it may share with third parties.
However, Abine — DeleteMe’s parent company — itself claims anonymized data isn’t truly anonymous, in a now-deleted blog post. We have our own explainer on how anonymized data can be reidentified and traced back to you, if you’re curious about learning more.
Can DeleteMe Sell Your Data?
Reading further into the policy, under the section about how it shares your data, you’ll find the regular disclaimers that it needs to disclose some of your data with trusted partners under a strict agreement.
However, at the bottom, it says something that seems innocuous at first glance, but might actually allow DeleteMe to sell your data, most likely under special circumstances, though again, we’re left to guess as to what these circumstances are (full quote below).
“We may sell, transfer, or otherwise share some or all of our business or assets, including your personal information, in connection with a (potential) business transaction such as a corporate divestiture, merger, consolidation, acquisition, reorganization or sale of assets, or in the event of bankruptcy or dissolution.”
In the bolded parts of the above quote, the phrase “sale of assets” is so vague that it could simply mean “sale of your personal information,” since your personal information, as stated above, is an asset of DeleteMe.
This begs the question: Why even use a data deletion service if it’s only going to sell or share your data?
We’re willing to extend a bit of good faith to DeleteMe in its claims that it does not sell your personal information, though even that should be taken with a heaping tablespoon of salt due to the contradicting statement that we quoted. However, the very fact that it shares your data in anonymized form is enough for us to give it a thumbs down.
Why DeleteMe Asks for Limited Power of Attorney
DeleteMe needs some form of authorization to contact data brokers on your behalf. Different services use different methods, and DeleteMe seems to have chosen the most extreme one. For example, Incogni only requires that you digitally sign an authorization document, while OneRep doesn’t ask for any kind of authorization whatsoever.
Perhaps some of DeleteMe’s data brokers specifically require limited power of attorney in order to consider the data removal request legitimate, though this is only guesswork on our part.
Overall, we can say we’re happy with DeleteMe’s speedy customer support team. It offers live chat support during a limited time slot and will only respond to email support tickets within those hours as well.
Thankfully, within those hours, support is quick to answer your questions, even via email. We got an email response within an hour of submitting a ticket, which is good news if your time zone makes it difficult to contact live chat support during open hours. There’s also a knowledgebase, though it’s sparse and lacks detail.
Final Thoughts: DeleteMe
What are your thoughts on DeleteMe? Would you trust it with your personal data? Have you used a similar service, like OneRep or Incogni? Drop your thoughts in the comments below and, as always, thank you for reading.