The Best Identity Theft Protection Services
One Friday, Laura Shin had just arrived home from work when she received a call from a major credit card company asking her to call them back as soon as possible.
Of course, Laura thought it was just a scam, but she decided to call the company back on a legitimate number she had verified belonged to the company.
Upon calling the company back, Laura learned that someone had opened a credit card using her name, address, date of birth and social security number.
The credit card company immediately deactivated the fraudulent account and Laura started wondering how much damage this person may have caused with her personal information.
Next, Laura attempted to check her credit report with the three major credit bureaus Equifax, Transunion, and Experian.
The problem was when she tried to answer the security questions asked by the credit agencies the correct answers didn’t work.
She couldn’t even access her own credit report because whoever had stolen her identity had used her credit report enough that her information had been overtaken by the information of the thief.
After repeatedly calling the credit agencies and mailing them documents verifying her identity, Laura learned the person who stole her identity had been using her information for over 6 months and attempted to open 50 different credit accounts.
The reality is, someone who steals your information is going to keep using it until it becomes worthless. As long as the information keeps getting them money they will use it until they are completely blocked.
Eventually, Laura was able to take her identity back but she still monitors her credit report regularly to make sure nothing fraudulent pops up.
In 2017, almost 7% of consumers became victims of identity fraud or about 1 in 15 people. Identity theft is going to continue to increase each year because it is very profitable for criminals.
In addition, since identity theft is a non-violent crime many states have weak laws related to the punishment for this type of crime.
This crime can be devastating for the victims from a financial and time investment standpoint, which is why I want to share with you a few different identity theft protection services.
IdentityForce. IdentityForce provides protection at a reasonable price. This service monitors credit scores and reports from all three credit bureaus quarterly.
Plus, most types of personal bank and credit card accounts are monitored (except investment accounts), and the $1 million identity-restoration coverage includes reimbursement of stolen funds.
IdentityForce also includes a credit score simulator, anti-keylogging software and two-factor authentication to protect your account.
IdentityForce costs $20 a month for one person or $36 a month for two.
LifeLock. LifeLock is one of the best-known companies to provide identity protection services.
Now, LifeLock has some of the priciest plans of the services, but it monitors the most kinds of data, including investment and retirement accounts.
It also offers a composite credit score, as well as a new Equifax score every month and the service’s $1 million identity-restoration plan covers lost wages and funds.
LifeLock offers three different plans, but the most comprehensive plan costs $29.99 a month for one person.
Identity Guard. Identity Guard offers credit scores from the three major bureaus and its reports update monthly instead of quarterly or yearly.
This service has many different options including a credit-score analyzer, antivirus software, anti-keylogging software, and it will cover lost wages and money if your identity is stolen.
In addition, Identity Guard uses an artificial-intelligence platform to protect the personal information of all the service’s customers.
However, Identity Guard doesn’t monitor activity on your credit card or bank accounts. Identity Guard costs $22.99 a month per a person.
Is Identity Theft Protection Worth It?
Identity theft protection companies’ act as guardians of your personal information for a monthly or annual fee.
Generally, they start with monitoring your credit report and layer on additional services so they can alert you to potential problems.
Here’s the thing, these services alert you after the fact that your identity may have been compromised but they don’t prevent someone from stealing and misusing your financial data.
In other words, if you want to save the money, you can pretty much do the same thing as these companies by strictly monitoring your credit card and bank statements.
In addition, I definitely recommend placing a credit freeze on all three major credit reports.
However, if you don’t want to take the time to deal with the hassle of monitoring all of this information, then you should absolutely consider one of these companies.