Your personal information is out there on the internet—your name, email, home address, telephone number, and more, are all constantly being collected by companies known as “data brokers.”
These data brokers scour the internet for publicly available information (such as social media sites, government websites, and more) and they may also use private sources of information to compile comprehensive reports and profiles on specific individuals. Some of these data brokers sell aggregated data to marketing, advertising, and political organizations, to name a few, so they can target those audiences based on their demographics.
But some data brokers (some are known as people search sites) sell access to individual’s data. Anyone with a few dollars can purchase your intimate details, without you ever having given them permission or even knowing that your information is being bartered in this way.
As a result, some services and products have been released to combat these data collection efforts. These companies, in addition to providing other services, will work to opt you out of these company’s profiling efforts and ensure your information stays off their databases.
One service we like is Spartacus.
Spartacus is a data broker removal service that also offers password vulnerability scanning, data breach alerts, credit monitoring, and identity theft insurance services. Spartacus offers a few free services and has a paid subscription plan giving access to additional services and tools.
It starts with an email
In order to know whether or not your data is in data broker and people search sites, Spartacus asks for your email. This is also how Spartacus checks if passwords associated with that email have been leaked via any data breaches. However, they maintain that this information is only used to provide their services for you and they’ll never share or sell it. After you share your email with Spartacus on their site, you’re taken to a personal dashboard that provides you with more information.
To log into your account, Spartacus asks for your email. Then they’ll send a verification code (that changes every time you log in) to your email that you enter before you access your account. No passwords are needed and Spartacus claims this is a better way to keep your account secure. We like this move as it’s effectively 2FA and someone would need to have access to your email account before they could get into your Spartacus account.
Privacy risk score
Spartacus gives you a score of 1-100 (1 being the best, and 100 being the worst), depending on how many data breaches your email address was found in, whether you had exposed passwords, how many different online and social accounts you have (which increase your risk), and how easily your information is available online.
Spartacus’ free automated data broker removal
One of the best features Spartacus recently released is their free data broker removal service. This service goes through 100+ data brokers and people search sites and automatically removes your profile from these sites. These people search sites and data brokers (check out our articles on people search sites and data brokers) scrape the internet for your personal information (without your permission) and sell it to any company, political organization, law enforcement, or scammer willing to pay for it (without your knowledge).
Spartacus will go through the lengthy opt-out process for you saving you a LOT of time and effort as the process is different for each company. They also ensure your profile is deleted from their system. And because these companies are likely to get you back in their database, Spartacus will continuously monitor these sites keep your data off these platforms. You can see how many companies have been found with your data that Spartacus has removed already and which ones are in progress.
To start this process, you have to give Spartacus more information so they can more comprehensively check whether your data is on these sites or not. The information Spartacus asks includes:
- Your full name
- Your email address
- Your date of birth
- Your home address
Spartacus will begin the opt-out service immediately but the results will take some time. You can keep up with the progress with Spartacus’ weekly privacy summary email, where they give you information on the data broker removal process.
The Spartacus Subscription
To access Spartacus’ additional services, you have to purchase one of their subscription plans. The plan comes in two different payment options (the services don’t change). You can pay $19.99 a month for a monthly subscription or you can pay $99 a year (at the time of this writing there’s a 60% off sale), which comes out to $8.25 a month.
In addition to the Spartacus Dashboard shown above and the features mentioned above, this subscription offers the following:
Spartacus will check your email against known data breaches in order to see whether your email address has been compromised in any one of those data breaches. If that’s the case, your password was likely leaked as well, meaning you should change them (and change any accounts that used the same password.
Spartacus will continuously monitor your accounts to ensure no one is opening lines of credit in your name, and alert you if there are any suspicious activities. The credit score report offered as part of this monitoring is calculated using the Experian VantageScore 3.0 model and is made available with Experian’s CSID, a credit monitoring service.
Identity Theft Insurance
Your subscription also comes with a $1M Identity Theft Insurance policy that also gives you access to fraud protection specialists 24/7. They provide a full explanation of benefits here.
To learn more about identity theft monitoring and insurance, check out our overview here.
Life with Spartacus
Spartacus’ primary benefit is convenience. After you subscribe to their services, you don’t have to take any other action—the automated services immediately start working on your behalf.
Alerts keep you updated
You’ll receive alerts as your information is removed from data broker sites, your passwords or accounts have been found in data breaches, and if there have been any suspicious activity found via credit monitoring efforts. To learn more about the alerts you receive, you can always check your dashboard.
Depending on the alert, you may want to change a password or call your credit card company—whatever the case, Spartacus helps you get ahead of any scammers or hackers so you don’t end up with a compromised account or identity fraud.
Why We Like Spartacus
Spartacus is a simple but effective tool that does the heavy lifting of removing your data from data brokers and similar sites. This process, if done manually, can be long and arduous—different sites have different opt-out directions and sometimes your data will make an appearance again, even after you’re opted out. It would also be near-impossible to know and be aware of all the different sites that have your information, especially because new companies pop up often. Having an automated tool do the work for you will save you time while being comprehensive.
Spartacus’ combination of identity theft insurance and credit monitoring is also a welcomed benefit and may provide peace of mind if you think you’re at a high risk of becoming a victim of identity theft or if you just want to be sure you can be covered financially, if there’s a worst-case scenario.