Anyone can fall victim to identity theft. ID thieves have countless methods to get their hands on your personal data: they can hack your social media account, your e-mail, infect your device with malware, use various forms of phone scams and so on.
What does it mean to have your identity stolen?
ID theft can have a lot of unpleasant consequences. Criminals can steal your driver’s license, passport, empty your bank account, apply for credit using your name, buy things using your details and so much more.
Research shows that in the US alone, millions of people struggle with ID theft every year. Data breaches leave millions and millions of accounts vulnerable and exposed, making them sure targets.
What can you do to protect yourself?
ID theft can happen to anyone, at any time. It doesn’t come as an announced event and sometimes, there’s just nothing you can do to make yourself 100% bulletproof. Nevertheless, there are several measures you can take to at least reduce the risk of becoming an ID theft victim.
There are 2 ways you can go to protect your identity: you can sign up for an ID theft protection service and pay a monthly/annual fee to have your own ‘guardian’ at your disposal, or you can approach the DIY method. If you choose the latter, the most important thing you can do is to protect your online security. Internet is a great invention, but it can also be dangerous, because your online data can easily be manipulated and hacked, by those who are computer skilled and ambitious enough.
Make sure you provide as little information possible on websites and especially on social media platforms. Choose not to divulge your full name, contact details, financial details and so on, unless absolutely necessary.
When you do have to provide those details, make sure the website that asks for them is 100% secure and uses https encryption.
Choose strong passwords for all your accounts, use two-factor authentication where possible and use internet security/antimalware software.
You should also shred all the documents you don’t need anymore, so they don’t fall into the wrong hands.
And when you leave home for a longer period of time, you should cancel your mail or restrict the access to your mailbox.
If you do go with an ID theft protection service, there are a few aspects you should consider before settling for a certain company:
- Choose a company that includes a wide array of monitoring services: credit monitoring is very important, as is SSN monitoring
- Make sure the company includes recovery services as well, in case you have your ID stolen. Most reputable companies offer insurances up to $1 million or even more, for expenses related to ID restoration
- Don’t fall for ‘too good to be true’ claims such as ‘we can protect you 100% from ID theft’; remember this: ID theft protection services can’t stop ID theft from occurring; all they can do is alert you in case of any changes and suspicious activities related to your credit reports and financial and personal data; they can also assist you in recovering after ID theft, but they can’t stop it from happening. A company that claims it can, is just making false claims for advertising purposes and should be avoided
- Do some research on the customer support offered by the company, because it is crucial to have reliable, 24/7 customer support at your disposal
Zander ID Theft Protection Service – Is it worth it?
Zander is mainly known as an insurance company that offers several types of insurance: auto, health, life, business insurance. The company has been around since 1920 and it’s managed to build a good reputation. Zander Insurance Inc. is personally endorsed by Dave Ramsey, a successful author, business man and motivational speaker.
Zander has an A+ rating with the BBB (Better Business Bureau). The company is based in Nashville, Tennessee.
In addition to insurances, Zander also offers ID theft protection and has some of the best prices on the market.
You can opt for their Individual or their Family plan.
The Individual plan costs $6.75/month or $75/year.
The Family plan is $12.90/month or $145/year.
What are the benefits of the Zander ID Theft Protection service?
As already mentioned, one of the benefits of Zander is that it is affordable.
Another one is the fact that the Family plan also covers your children’s ID at no additional cost.
For each person in the plan you will get monitoring services for 1 SSN, up to 6 email addresses, 5 medical IDs, 5 phone numbers and bank accounts and more.
Zander offers 24/7 customer support by email and phone. It has impressive response times and their customer support staff is friendly and knowledgeable.
Zander covers all the common types of fraud: financial, medical, tax, social security fraud, employment, title fraud, child ID fraud. Zander sends you alerts in case any changes are detected.
Another good thing about this company is that it offers a white-glove recovery service, in case your ID is stolen. You will be fully assisted in recovering your identity, by one of their certified agents. They will help you freeze your credit, get free access to your credit reports and help you with all the steps involved in restoring your ID. You will also benefit from assistance for 36 more months after your identity was restored.
Zander also offers up to $1 million insurance in case you get your ID stolen. That amount covers all sorts of expenses such as legal and court fees, transcripts, credit freeze fees, travel fees, paying for necessary documents, lost wages (up to $30,000) and more.
All in all, Zander is definitely a trust-worthy service and an affordable one, too. It covers all the basics and it is great when it comes to customer support. We only wished it also included credit monitoring on their list. A mobile app might have been useful, too, for accessing your account straight from your smartphone.