Don't Get Spammed Because Of A Bad Removal Service


Jan 21, 2024

How Kanary prevents you from getting spammed while opting out

“I just keep hearing all these stories where people had a huge increase in spam with other companies and it almost got worse.”

On our reddit community, a new member recently brought up fear that opt outs would worsen their spam. They'd read about it on competitor product reviews. They were right to be concerned. When you sign up for a service like Kanary, you need to trust that by sharing information with us, you aren’t further exposing yourself to spam or risk. People ask, “Why should I share data in order to get data removed? Isn't that counter intuitive!”

Well, if you want your private data off the web, and you want to save ten plus hours every month getting sites checked and removed, you'll need to trust something or someone to help. Trust is extremely important in our business. And being transparent about How we do what we do, is as important or even more important than explaining What we do.

For example, let’s look at the quote above and complaints across reddit about certain services causing people to get more spam after joining, not less.

How irresponsible companies work

  1. They have a list of sites.

  2. You give them your email, name, and location.

  3. They mass email all of those sites with all of your data.

  4. Those sites can do whatever they want with this fresh information they’ve just been emailed.

Why would a company send your email and personal data to all of these sites unchecked? It is much cheaper and technically less complex to build a system that does this. This is a red flag and makes you even worse off by using the service. They’ve just exposed you unnecessarily to hundreds of shady sites who can now use your email and info to further spam and target you. This is lazy.

How Kanary works

  1. We have a list of sites.

  2. You give us your email, name, location and other optional details.

  3. We scan the sites to verify you are actually exposed on a site, and detect which data is present.

  4. Once we know which data a site already has, we generate a request only including that data. Our goal is to only share what we can verify a broker already has.

  5. For each request requiring an email address, we create a unique email alias (for example, [email protected]) just for your opt out. We use this email to contact the site so that your personal email isn’t exposed. THIS IS WHERE WE HELP YOU AVOID SPAM.

  6. We do not expose your actual email on our initial requests.

  7. OPTIONAL ESCALATION - We get your permission to escalate a request with a personal email in case a site is being extremely difficult and needs to verify your identity.

  8. We only use that personal email you’ve designated in escalation when a site has been vetted and an escalation or verification is necessary.

We hate when sites push back on removals. They never got your consent in the first place so shouldn't require verification to remove you. But in the face of push back, we make sure our member is in charge of that tradeoff. We let you pick settings for escalation and expose the data you want to expose in order to get a removal done quickly. This level of scanning, verifying, and aliasing is complex to build and run, but it allows us to prevent unnecessary exposure for our members.

Side note: We also don’t require access to your personal email or social accounts in order to send emails directly from your gmail or personal email. This separation is yet another way we differentiate in protecting your privacy. We don’t need access to your personal email inbox in order to send removal requests to shady sites. That’s unnecessary security risk for both of us.

Picking the right service & killing spam

For data deletion services, you should always use one that fully aliases information whenever possible and is transparent when identifiable information is required to complete a removal.  If the site is not upfront about doing this or how they do this, keep moving.

If you are interested in reducing spam overall, we recommend using an aliasing service like anonaddy, firefox relay, Apple's Hide My Email in your day to day life. For phone spam, use a burner phone number like google voice. The best way to remove yourself from the internet is to stop sharing sensitive data and replace it with temporary or burnable aliases.

Stay safe out there!

The Kanary Team

Don't be a sitting duck.

Find where your personal information is being exposed online and remove it for good.

Or, send us a note [email protected]. We’ll respond within a day!

Kanary - Find your exposed personal information, delete it | Product Hunt

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