Privacy-conscious consumers know how important it is to limit the amount of personal data they share on the internet - from browsing with VPNs to going "private" on social media. But what fewer people realize is that no matter how many precautions you take, there are still websites exploiting your public records for a profit and endangering you in the process.
These sites are called data brokers, and they're "public enemy no. 1" for a popular privacy service called OneRep. Here's what you need to know.
If you've never Googled your name, go ahead and try it. (If you have a common name, enter it followed by your home state or occupation, or simply add words 'address' or 'phone number'.) Chances are, tens to hundreds of profiles from data brokers or people search sites will pop up, each containing sensitive personal information such as your home address, age, family members, the property you own, and plenty more.
Why has someone published your data online? Because it sells. It's completely legal for data brokers to do this without your consent, and they can easily scrape your information from public records and public internet activity, such as on social media. What's more, these data brokers make the opt-out process as hard as possible. The longer your information is up, the more money they make.
Meanwhile, they continue selling your information to whoever is interested - from old friends looking to reconnect to cybercriminals, identity thieves, fraudsters, and cyberstalkers.
The OneRep privacy protection platform automatically locates and removes your information from 100+ data broker and people search sites, including MyLife, Spokeo, WhitePages, BeenVerified and many others. This lets you bypass the long and complicated opt-out process that data brokers set up to discourage you from removing your own data.
OneRep follows these three steps to protect your privacy:
- Identify: First, the service scans over 100 people search sites for your information. They collect the results in a dashboard, so you can see exactly where your privacy is compromised.
- Delete: As the biggest time-saving feature, OneRep automatically sends opt-out requests to over 100 supported people search sites. It doesn't matter how complex or time-consuming the opt-out process is - their service promises to go on until your information is removed.
- Remediate: Even if you spend days manually opting out of each data broker, they can just post your information again later. OneRep has this covered too. They continuously monitor data brokers that have previously published your profiles and the ones that might in the future.
The moment you get your hands on OneRep, it becomes clear that this platform was designed to be accessible and easy to use. There isn't any lengthy onboarding or setup - in fact, all you have to do is type in the full name and location and then press a button to run the first scan.
After that you enter your email address and immediately see the results displayed on a dashboard they create for you.
From there, you can begin a five-day trial. This gives you just enough time to see where your privacy is compromised and even have a few data broker listings removed. Then, you can determine if you want to opt out of the rest of these sites manually (OneRep provides free instructions for all websites they remove your info from), or use their tool to knock out the process automatically.
Of course, our team chose to sign up so we could do some research for this review. The payment step was quick and easy, and after that we got a chance to add more identifying information for a more narrow scan, including name variations, previous addresses, email addresses, etc.
And that's it! After providing some information and making an account, the service is already hard at work removing your information. All you have to do is relax and check the status of your ongoing and completed opt-outs in the dashboard.
One of the strongest features of OneRep's service is that its subscription pricing was made for everyday people. A lot of other privacy solutions cater to high-net-worth individuals, but this service comes in three simple and affordable tiers:
- Individual ($8.33/month, billed annually): The Individual plan automatically opts you out of over 100 data brokers, auto monitors other sites for your data, and connects you with a personal privacy assistant. You can also access their 24/7 email support team.
- Family ($15/month, billed annually): The Family plan has the same features as the Individual plan, but up to six people can use it. If you're looking for family coverage, this is a very steep discount.
- Individual+ ($229.95/month): The Individual+ tier is for complicated privacy cases. For instance, if you require removal from websites that aren't included in OneRep's standard list, members of their team will fulfill your privacy needs themselves.
OneRep may be the first service to completely automate the opt-out process, but there are plenty of other privacy services that do a similar thing. To put the OneRep removal review in context, the Itechpost team did some research to compare two other services in this niche: Deleteme and Reputation Defender.
While OneRep's primary focus is on keeping the personal information of everyday citizens out of the hands of criminals and exploitative companies, Reputation Defender offers reputation management solutions for businesses and individuals and helps executives and enterprises manage how they look online. As you can imagine, based on their target audience, Reputation Defender is more expensive. But we should note that they also offer one plan for regular individuals called Privacy Pro.
At the time of writing, this plan costs $9.95 per month, which works out to $99 annually. For this price, Reputation Defender promises to remove you from data brokers, but they don't specify how many. By our research, we estimate about 20, while OneRep's data broker list includes over 100. That's about $2 per website vs. OneRep's $0.07 per website. In other words, OneRep costs less and covers more than four times the number of data broker sites.
DeleteMe is another privacy service that aims to remove your personal data from people search sites. The biggest difference between OneRep and DeleteMe is automation - DeleteMe employs real people to opt users out of people search sites by hand. OneRep, on the contrary, automates the opt-out process, which comes with a few advantages.
Secondly, as of this writing, a standard DeleteMe subscription will only remove your information from around 30 data brokers. As far as pricing goes, DeleteMe's standard individual plan costs $10.75 a month, or $129 a year. That's about $0.35 a website vs. OneRep's $0.07. Meanwhile, OneRep wipes your information from a data broker list three times as long for $2.42 less.
Looking at the price and coverage differences between these privacy services, it's clear that OneRep's automated opt-out process passes savings on to users. Their prices are very competitive, and all of their plans are cheaper and more robust than other services in this space.
Using automation also means OneRep can avoid human errors and provide services more efficiently. After all, opting out of and monitoring all of these sites takes a lot of time and effort. If you do it yourself, you'll have to submit requests, validate data removal, and revisit each site to see if your information reappeared. OneRep takes this burden off your shoulders and does it all for you.
So, what's the verdict? We think OneRep is definitely worth it, and here are our top three reasons why:
● OneRep's easy-to-read dashboard is a great way to understand your privacy status at-a-glance, and track your removal progress over time.
● The service is 100% automated, incredibly streamlined, and requires very little effort on the user's part.
● It doesn't just remove your personal information from a few sites - it takes it off of over 100 and continuously monitors them just in case it reemerges. Better yet, it does it for an unmatched price.