What is identity theft protection?

identity theft protection
identity theft protection

Identity theft protection encompasses various services aimed at safeguarding individuals from the unlawful acquisition of their personal information, such as their name, birthdate, and Social Security number.

These services aim to prevent the misuse of such data for fraudulent activities, including monetary theft and other forms of deceit. By providing early detection of suspicious behavior, identity theft protection empowers consumers to take prompt action and mitigate potential harm.

Types of identity theft protection

Identity theft protection services come in various forms, with different levels of coverage and pricing options.

While some services focus on monitoring credit reports and sending alerts for any suspicious activity, others offer more comprehensive assistance in recovering and restoring stolen identities.

Additionally, these services utilize different resources and tools, such as VPNs and password managers, to help reduce the risk of identity theft.

Customers can choose between monthly or annual billing for these services, depending on their needs and preferences.

Credit monitoring

Credit reports provide a detailed overview of consumers’ credit and loan accounts, along with the outstanding balances. Additionally, they document any “hard” inquiries made into an individual’s credit history when they seek a mortgage, credit card, or other form of loan, as well as instances of late payments, bankruptcy filings, or foreclosures.

Credit-monitoring services keep a close watch on your credit report from one or all three major credit-reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) and notify you of any suspicious activities, such as a change of address or a new loan application. Some services also keep track of alterations in your credit score and inform you accordingly.

Identity monitoring

Identity monitoring services have the capability to search through various sources like public records, social media platforms, the dark web, and more to detect any suspicious activities associated with your personal information.

This enables you to promptly receive notifications if, for instance, your Social Security number is being traded on the dark web, or if your name appears on an application for public services in a location where you have no ties.

Additionally, you could be notified if your personal data has been compromised in a data breach at a company, or if your login details for other websites have been leaked.

Identity theft insurance

Identity theft insurance assists individuals in recovering and restoring their identity by covering costs such as legal fees, phone bills, notary fees, mailing costs, and more.

In some cases, ID theft insurance is added as a rider to a homeowners or renters insurance policy, while it can also be purchased separately or as part of an ID theft protection bundle.

Certain policies come with deductibles and limits on benefits. Nationwide Mutual Group, State Farm, and Travelers Companies Inc. are recognized as leading providers of ID theft insurance, as reported by the Insurance Information Institute.

Identity theft recovery

A comprehensive identity theft protection plan will provide recovery assistance. You might be assigned a dedicated agent to manage your case, who can handle phone calls, emails, and all the necessary steps to restore your identity. This service can help victims save a significant amount of time and alleviate stress.

According to Eva Velasquez, the president and CEO of the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC), the recovery process can vary greatly in terms of time and effort.

While some cases may only require a few phone calls and minimal time, others can take years to resolve. Velasquez emphasizes the importance of having an expert guide you through the recovery process, especially for those who are unfamiliar with the steps involved in recovering from identity theft.

Do you need identity theft protection?

You don’t have to have a computer or smartphone to become a victim of identity theft. Mail stolen from a mailbox can lead to identity fraud. Criminals have a lot of ways to steal sensitive personal information and use it for their gain.

Identity theft can occur even without owning a computer or smartphone.

Theft of mail from a mailbox can result in identity fraud. Criminals employ various methods to pilfer sensitive personal data and exploit it for their own benefit.

What to consider in an identity theft protection service

Ensure that the identity theft insurance you choose is suitable for your needs and that you have thoroughly researched your options.

Just as you would with any other purchase, it is crucial to understand the terms and conditions of the protection plan.

Remember that federal law limits liability for fraudulent credit card charges, and many card issuers offer zero liability.

Therefore, it may not be necessary to purchase ID theft protection solely for credit cards. Assess your own capabilities in handling identity theft issues and consider whether hiring a professional service is a worthwhile investment.

Additionally, take into account your budget as ID theft protection plans vary in cost, ranging from $8 to over $30 per month depending on the level of coverage.

If you feel at risk, having ID theft protection can provide you with peace of mind.

Popular identity theft protection services

If you are unable to afford ID theft protection, there are several complimentary resources available. The ITRC, as previously mentioned, offers a free data breach information service called Notified and will assist you in reclaiming your identity at no cost. Additionally, the Federal Trade Commission is available to aid you in reporting and recovering from identity fraud.

In light of the current situation, consumers now have the right to receive one free credit report per week from each of the three credit-reporting bureaus. Furthermore, there are some credit-monitoring services that are provided free of charge. For instance, Capital One’s CreditWise offers a complimentary credit-monitoring and notification service.

Within the market, there is a wide array of ID theft protection services to choose from, and you can access ratings and reviews to assist you in making a decision. Below is a compilation of some reputable products. Please note that these are not product endorsements, but rather a starting point to aid you in your search.

  • LifeLock by Norton
  • IdentityForce
  • Identity Guard
  • PrivacyGuard
  • IDShield

What do you think?

Written by Lifehack

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