Identity Guard’s identity theft protection service takes care of both individuals and their families, offering 6 ID theft protection plans to choose from. Protection is taken to a higher level, thanks to the use of the IBM Watson software, capable of processing billions of bits of data in the blink of an eye. IBM Watson uses artificial intelligence to scan and monitor all your data. Identity Guard is reliable, trust-worthy and also mobile-friendly, as it offers a mobile app with anti-phishing protection and several other useful tools.
Identity Force is an American company that offers various financial services: from credit monitoring to identity theft protection.
It has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and it is a GSA (General Services Administration) approved Federal Government contractor.
Identity Guard offers several identity theft protection services, with different plans, for different budgets. All the packages include credit, social security, public record and online black market monitoring, account takeover alerts and ID verification alerts.
ID Watchdog is an ID theft protection service that was founded in 2004. The company offers other financial services as well, as credit monitoring and credit repair services.
ID Watchdog is one of the few, if not the only service that offers restoration assistance for previously existing thefts, not just the ones happening while you are a member.
They have an A+ rating with the BBB and claim they’ve never failed to restore an identity so far.
LifeLock Inc. is a company that offers identity theft protection. It has been in business for more than 10 years.
It is one of the most popular identity theft protection providers on the market, despite the fact that it has a very controversial history. The company claims to have over 4 million members.
Privacy Guard is a good option in terms of ID theft protection services. It has all the features included by major competitors and more, it is affordable and offers a14 day trial for just $1. They could be more transparent about their pricing, since they’ve received quite a number of complaints on that matter and because of their misleading marketing practices.
Credit Sesame are popular for their free services: free ID theft protection, free credit monitoring and free credit score. You also get $50,000 in identity theft insurance, just by signing up with them. They don’t require any credit card details and they don’t have any hidden fees. There are some features missing from their free membership, but you can always upgrade to one of their paid plans, which include much more benefits.
ID Patrol by Equifax is a good choice for people who are mostly preoccupied with protecting their credit cards. The service has a lot of useful features that focus exactly on this kind of protection, from credit report lock to fraud alerts and so on.
However, it is more limited when it comes to protecting your personal information and it doesn’t offer monitoring for medical ID fraud, public or criminal records.
ID Shield is a very trust-worthy and experienced ID theft protection service owned by LegalShield. It comes with an individual and a family package who covers up to 8 minors, a $5 million service guarantee, a very professional and useful website, your own private investigator and all the features you might need in order to protect or restore your identity.
TrustedID is one of the most popular ID theft protection services in the US. The company was founded in 2004 and it currently belongs to Equifax, one of the three major credit bureaus.
TrustedID is one of the few companies in this field that includes a family plan. Although it also covers businesses and individuals, the service also ensures protection for your spouse, children, parents and any other family members you want to add in the program.
Identity Guard is one of the best identity theft protection services in the industry and the number 1 choice in our lineup. This service has protected more than 47 million identities so far. Identity Guard has comprehensive protection tools, it offers both individual and family plans and it uses IBM Watson to monitor all your personal and financial data on a 24/7 basis.
As the name suggests it, Zander Insurance Group is primarily an insurance company, but it also offers identity theft protection. The company has more than 90 years of experience in business and its ID theft protection service also includes medical ID theft and child protection. They stand out through their full-service ID theft solutions, their top-notch customer support and their $1 million insurance policy.
Last updated September 23, 2020
Identity theft is a real issue in today’s society. In a world that depends almost entirely on technology, computers and Internet, having your personal information hacked and stolen is a common problem and an everyday danger.
Identity theft occurs when someone intentionally steals your personal information in order to gain certain benefits from it. It mostly but not exclusively refers to financial advantages. Identity thieves can use your info to get credit cards, obtain loans, state benefits, open or access bank accounts in your name, obtain documents such as passport, driving license, etc., in your name, order different things in your behalf, etc. Internet makes it even easier to use this stolen data, since there is no personal interaction required when making a transaction and almost everything can be accomplished online.
But while financial identity theft this is the most common type, it is not the only one. There are other types of identity thefts: criminal identity theft (used by people guilty of certain crimes, who pose as a different person), medical identity theft (when someone uses another person’s identity in order to get drugs or medical assistance), child identity theft (thieves use children’s identities because they have no information associated with them that can get the thieves caught) and others.
Technology makes it easier for identity thieves to steal information. Here are a few ways in which they can do it:
According to the Federal Trade Commission, around 9 million Americans fall victims to identity thieves each year.
Aside from letting criminals take advantage on your account, being a victim of identity theft can hurt you more than you can imagine. If your name was used to commit a crime, you may end up being investigated and even fail to prove your innocence. You could accumulate debts that aren’t even yours to begin with and by the time you succeed in proving you are not responsible for them, your credit score will be severely ruined. With a bad credit score, you will have a hard time getting a mortgage, a loan or even a new phone contract.
Although you can’t really stop the phenomenon, you can at least reduce the number of thefts and your chance of becoming an easy target.
The first, cheapest and easiest method is paying attention. Strive to constantly be careful with your personal information and the documents that contain it. Shred documents you don’t need anymore, restrict the access to your mailbox, especially if you are out of town, try to take care of your social security number (SSN) by not carrying with you in your wallet everywhere you go, keep your credit card PIN safe, don’t ever enter your financial information on random websites, just secure, official ones, and so on. You can also sign up for credit monitoring, because that service alerts you within 24 hours if any modifications appear on your credit report. Also make it a habit to constantly check your accounts for any charges that you know you didn’t make.
If, against all your efforts, you fall victim to identity theft anyway, the first thing you should do is notify the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and other financial institutions or state agencies.
Another way to keep yourself safe from identity thieves is to use a professional identity theft protection service. They are helpful because they can offer you monitoring services, recovery services, in case your identity was already stolen and insurance.
All the options are usually included in the offer and some companies also give you regular access to your credit score/credit report.
Monitoring services usually apply to your identity or credit.
Identity monitoring alerts you when your personal information is questionably used (strange orders for different services such as utilities or cable, request for address change or check cashing and others).
Credit monitoring alerts you about any strange activity related to your credit report (if a new credit card was opened in your name, a new loan was made, a creditor notifies that you are late on one of your payments, if your name, address, phone number or credit limits have changed, if a company checked your credit history, etc.).
The recovery services offered by professional companies help you in case your identity was already stolen. Identity theft protection services can help you with letters to your creditors, freezing your credit report so that thieves can’t open new accounts in your name, or in other words, regaining the control of your finances and name.
Anyone can become a victim of identity theft. We are all potential targets and although we can’t do anything to completely stop the phenomenon, we can take measures that give us extra-protection and decrease the chance of having our identity stolen.
Identity theft protection services can be of great help, because they can monitor our information and credit report, and alert us in case of any suspicious activity. They are also useful in case we already fell victims to identity theft, by helping us cleaning up the mess and rebuilding our identity.
There are several do’s and don’ts you should take into consideration before choosing a professional identity theft protection service.
In conclusion, the best identity theft protection companies are the ones that received good reviews, have been in business for enough time to gain experience, offer real-time fraud monitoring, effective recovery assistance, a quality customer support, a wide range of features and services, good privacy policies and are transparent about their programs, services and costs.
The best such services on the market today are LifeLock, ID Watchdog, IdentityForce, Identity Guard, Identity Fraud, ID Patrol by Equifax, PrivacyGuard and others.