Identity theft is a hot topic in the news and a real risk in our lives. While for some, identity theft might mean that someone has taken a credit card out in his or her name, others have their credit completely destroyed, while still others might find their reputations ruined when criminals use their personal information for illegal acts. Identity theft can cost thousands of dollars to resolve, not only in money directly lost, but also in lost wages, refiling fees for loans or even private investigators to weed out the worst of the fraud.
The first step to protect your identity is, of course, to stay on top of your financial records and to be aware of any transactions. However, if you have special concerns or simply want to be better safe than sorry, there are reliable identity theft protection services that monitor your information, alert you about potential fraud and provide restitution assistance. ID theft protection services don't only monitor your financial information; they also keep track of your medical information, Social Security number, address and more. Some of the best monitor more than credit records as well.
Identity protection involves more than just monitoring data. To find a service that will do the best job, you want identity theft protection that adapts to the new strategies criminals use to steal your identity. The best services for fighting identity fraud are LifeLock Ultimate Plus, IdentityForce and Identity Guard. Recently, LifeLock became the subject of a Federal Trade Commission investigation for allegedly failing to protect customers' sensitive personal data. For more information about the investigation and the company’s response, see our article on ID theft protection. If you'd like to learn more about Identity Theft Protection Services, visit our learning center.
It's essential that you use a trusted service for your ID theft protection that stands behind its service with a guarantee or insurance. The company should search multiple records for misuse of your personal data. It should also have convenient, helpful customer service for quick setup and assistance if you need it as well as someone who will work closely with you in the unlikely event that you are a victim of identity theft while under their watch. Below are the criteria Top Ten Reviews used to evaluate identity fraud protection services.
Identity protection services should be able to react quickly to potential threats. They should have one or more means to alert you of any potential issues. Many will post fraud alerts on your credit card as well.
Although it's best to never need recovery assistance, it's essential that you find a service that provides concrete and well-practiced procedures to help minimize damage in the event that someone steals your identity. The company should be able to provide you with the specific steps it takes to freeze your credit cards, alert your banking institutions, notify credit bureaus and so forth. It should also have a policy on how it helps you dispute unauthorized transactions and notify creditors. Look also for those that back their service monetarily with a guarantee or identity theft insurance to reimburse you for your losses.
Losing your wallet – or having it stolen – puts you at greater risk of identity theft, so many companies offer stolen wallet assistance.
Some identity protection services protect more information than others do. While most companies monitor credit reports, some offer additional services to protect other documents and data. All the services we reviewed cover the basics, including credit cards and Social Security Number. However, many go beyond by looking at high-risk payday loans.
Identity theft is more than a financial concern. Criminals can use your personal information to hide their own identity. If this is a concern to you, check for ID theft services that also cover criminal and public records. Many companies have also added a service that gives you a list of registered sex offenders in your area. This ensures a criminal isn't using your address; plus, it makes you aware of potential threats in your neighborhood.
Help & Support
An identity protection service is only as good as its customer support. The service should have prompt and helpful support that you can reach at any time. Information and education on its website about identity theft issues is a plus. Some also provide quizzes or assessment tools to help you determine your personal risk.
Most identity protection services include extra features to help you prevent ID theft, such as removing your name from mailing lists. Others seek to be proactive in protecting you from cyber theft by providing a suite of computer security programs as long as you use their service.
Some protection services offer specialized plans to help you keep your entire family safe from identity theft. Children are 30 to 50 percent more likely to have their identities stolen, and seniors are also at risk, so if you have family at home, look for these plans.
Identity theft protection services put your good name under lock and key. If you are concerned about the safety of your identity, these reliable services can relieve you of some of the worry. Find the identity protection service that best suits your needs right here.