Nowadays, online activities are more often as more and more data is transferred online. This puts most of us at a risk. This is because identities are easily stolen online. This may include your name, address, credit information, and the likes. When these are uploaded online, hackers and thieves may use them for malicious activities such as phishing scams and others. This is why identity theft protection services are used a lot nowadays.
Aside from this, they also offer features like credit scoring information (by looking at credit bureaus), child protection services, and insurance in case of an identity theft.
However, these services are known to only notify you about any possible malicious activities linked to your account. It doesn’t necessarily prevent them themselves. The main action is still with the user and what he/she will do after being notified. This is why some prefer to do the job themselves.
Basically, the main reason for you to consider buying an identity theft protection service is when:
- Freezing your credit reports is a big disadvantage for you. There may be fees for doing so. This is only a benefit for those who aren’t planning to open any accounts in their name soon.
- You don’t want to constantly monitor your credit. This is especially true for those who are always busy.
- You’re already a victim of identity theft. After all, identity protection services only serve as a notification and a warning against it. What you will do in the case of an actual theft depends upon the user.
Can you do it yourself?
The simple answer is: yes, you can do it yourself. It will take some effort and some time, though, so be sure that you have both in order to be successful in guarding your identity. Here are some of the things that identity protection services do that you can do yourself:
- You can look at your credit reports yourself through personal finance websites. You can also track your credit score for free instead of having to pay for identity protection services. Credit reporting agencies like Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion are entitled to offer a free credit report once a year to you. Make sure to constantly monitor your FICO score for this to be effective.
- Identity theft should immediately be reported to IdentityTheft.gov. Their website offers recovery paths and possible actions for you to take in the case of this happening. After all, identity protection services will lead you to this action anyways in the case of a report of identity theft. The only difference is how you will discover it if in case it happens to you without the help of these services (especially if it happens in the dark web or secret forums)
- You can also freeze your credit files from the three major credit bureaus: TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax any time you want for free. This is easily the best solution if you would like to avoid identity theft altogether. This is the most basic solution.
Why would you avail the service of identity theft protection services?
Identity theft protection services are best for notifying you of any cases of identity theft online. This can include being able to see your identity in the dark web, secret forums, and other places on the internet which may be doing illegal transactions. They constantly monitor your personal information, offer resources in the case of an identity theft, and constantly give alerts for you to see. They may also offer registries of local sex offenders and news of identity theft. They can also be friendly for families as they have child protection services and buying plans that are set for families (even allowing you to add up to ten children for some)
Their identity protection services can be broken down into three:
- Monitoring – They constantly monitor your identity throughout the internet to see if it is used in any illegal transactions. They will look for any attempts to open new accounts under your name, credit inquires, and any activities which may be new in your account. This is the part that you can do by yourself but may be easier for their services which may do it through their own integrated AI’s that are more advanced than a simple internet browse.
- Notifications - This is one of the most crucial parts of having an identity protection service. They will instantly alert you whenever your personal information is being used somewhere. This can include having a bank or checking account being opened your name. Instant notifications is crucial for those that are busy as they can end up with an account that is already damaged by the time that they notice that they have been a victim of theft. Thieves can end up raking in debts from your accounts if left unchecked. Mobile integration for identity protection services also makes it easier for you to be notified. Top of Form
- Recovery – Insurance policies for Identity Protection services can range up to $1 million. This can help you in terms of legal fees, attorney fees, and recovery fees from damage. Some may also offer a dedicated fee, aside from the insurance, for any stolen funds from identity theft.
What should you look for in an identity theft protection service?
If you decide that you don’t have the time to constantly monitor your credit reports and your personal identity all over the internet, it may be best for you to apply for an identity theft protection service. These are some of the factors that you must consider if you are planning to apply for one:
- A good price – Almost all identity theft protection services offer a lot of possible plans for you to choose from. The main differences between all of these are the functions that each plan offers and the amount of people that it may cover. A good deal offers a lot of coverage for a lot of people. It also offers a lot of features for even the lowest price. Prioritize those that offer the most important and basic functions even for the cheapest price. These may include insurance policies, credit reporting, and child protection services.
- Abundance of features – Since some of the basic actions of an identity theft protection service can already be done by yourself, prioritize those that offer a lot of other features that may also be necessary for you. These may include insurance policies, FICO daily reports, and child monitoring and protection services. Some also offer access to AI’s for you to monitor your data better. Some also offer mobile integration for their services which will come in handy for better notifications.
Good customer service – Customer service is especially crucial for them as they offer services that need instant actions in the case of an actual identity theft. Their services must be able to tell you everything you should do in the case of a theft. Prioritize those that have 24/7 customer support and those that have good customer reviews online.