I'm an identity theft victim. I hate having to say that, not only because it's embarrassing to admit that I allowed it to happen, but also because it caused me more grief and wasted time you can even imagine. I still don't know exactly how the id theft occurred, but I do know that if I had set up credit monitoring ahead of time, it wouldn't have taken almost 3 weeks for me to find out that someone had my drivers license number, social security number and had taken out a car loan in my name. Here's some helpful information about monitoring your credit that you need to consider. Don't be stupid like I was. Protect yourself and lower your risk.
A 2013 Bureau of Justice report suggests that in 2012, 7% of US citizens over the age of 16 were subject to some form of identity theft. This comes up to about 16.6 million people and that is not a small number. What's even more frightening is that this number is predicted to increase annually. The losses that these people faced totaled up to about $24.7 billion. This is why credit monitoring services are so important if you want to take proactive steps to protect your identity from theft and fraud. Credit monitoring services are not only meant for those people who want some protection against identity theft. They also help those who want to repair or improve their credit score.
Because of what I've been through, I did a great deal of research on id protection & monitoring companies. The following are the top 3 credit monitoring services out there right now. If you haven't started taking the protection of your identity seriously, it's not too late to get started.
IdentityGuard.com offers comprehensive monitoring, including access to credit reports, proactive protection from identity theft, and credit monitoring. The three top credit bureaus – TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax - are monitored by Identity Guard to inform subscribers about any changes in the credit report.
Apart from this, Identity Guard scans thousands of databases to monitor the personal information of their clients like SSN, accounts, name, contact information, etc. Every time an online account is changed or even accessed, account takeover and ID verification alerts are sent to the user. No additional fee needs to be paid for this service. It is included in the credit monitoring plan, starting at $14.99/month.
In case of ID theft victim hotline is provided to talk to an expert and help get the issues sorted out promptly.
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LifeLock also monitors various black market websites that are the hub of ID thieves for selling and buying stolen information. If the customer's personal information appears on these websites, alerts are sent immediately. They also have liaisons with a number of credit bureaus to take customers' names off annoying mailing lists offering credit card and bank loan offers.
LifeLock Junior is a service for children's ID protection. Because of this being an un-monitored area, ID thieves often target the minor population for ID theft.
Apart from the 30 days free period in all plans, subscription starts at $8.99/month. The following features are included in all LifeLock credit monitoring plans;
ID theft protection services include public records monitoring to check for any fraudulent activities. The "security freeze" feature is provided in case any ID theft is suspected which freezes access to TransUnion report by any lender. Thus, if anyone is posing to be their client, this feature will reduce the chances of credit being extended to the thief. To summarize, features include :
With major retailer data breaches happening with more regularity, nobody is safe from the threats of identity theft. As a cyber-security expert for over 15 years, I've seen the damage that can be done to a persons credit and finances when their personal information falls into the wrong hands. It's time to educate yourself about how you can better protect your identity. Get started with credit monitoring plan that you can afford and that has the features you need.