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.
Click Here to Get a Free 30 Day IdentityGuard Total Protect Trial + $3.00 Off The Monthly Subscription Price ($16.99)
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.
If you haven’t noticed by now, there is a lot of talk about monitoring your credit when it comes to identity theft protection. There are some companies, however, that don’t offer any sort of credit monitoring services and instead focus on identity monitoring. For many people, this leads to some questions, like:
No, it is not. In fact, they are equally important. Credit monitoring focuses on exactly what it sounds like it focuses on - taking a look at your credit on a regular basis to make sure there aren’t any errors or suspicious activities occurring. Identity monitoring focuses on the information that makes up the core components of your identity, such as your driver’s license and Social Security number. This takes a look at these items to see if there is any suspicious activities occurring with them, such as applying for benefits you wouldn’t normally be requesting.
Do I Need to Have Both to Be Fully Protected From Identity Thieves?
Possibly. This all depends on your unique circumstances. Are you below the age of 25? Have you not had any open unsecured credit lines? Do you primarily use cash to pay for things instead of a debit card? If you can answer yes to any of those, then you may wish to put more emphasis on identity monitoring instead of credit monitoring or having both. On the other hand, if you have had multiple unsecured credit accounts, you use your financial accounts on a daily basis through a debit card, and you have or have had a mortgage and/or vehicle loan, you’ll want more emphasis on credit monitoring than identity monitoring… though my recommendation would be that you would want to have both.
Why? Because your core identity materials help to unlock your credit. Sometimes all it takes is a lost wallet for an identity to be stolen. Sometimes it is a complicated process of installing sophisticated software on your computer that will log all your information and allow a thief to sort through your keystrokes to identify passwords and core information. Most credit fraud doesn’t occur unless core identity materials have been stolen. When both are working in tandem together, you can proactively prevent a lot of credit fraud from occurring.
Is There Anything I Can Do to Limit What I Might Need to Purchase?
Of course there is! You can monitor your own credit by requesting your free credit reports that are due to you thanks to the FACT Act. You can also take preventative measures in your home that will help you be able to keep your core identification materials and financial accounts safe. There are even everyday things you can do to stop identity thieves that seem simple enough to do, yet many people don’t do them. It all starts with A) how much of a threat you feel identity thieves are; and B) what are you doing now, along with what more you could be doing, to be proactive against theft.
Identity thieves win when we simply push the issue to the side and believe that nothing is going to happen to us or our families. I thought that way once and it came back to bite me, so I get that a lot of people don’t feel like they’ll have their identity stolen. It can happen to anyone, however, at any time. With proactive home measures and an effective identity theft protection plan, however, identity theft doesn’t have to happen… or if it does, it can be stopped immediately.
So in short, credit monitoring monitors your credit, while identity monitoring monitors your core identification. Do you need both? Not always. But if you don’t have both, in my opinion, you’re leaving a flank in your identity wide open to attack.
What is Identity Theft? - Identity Theft
When your identity is stolen you must take immediate action to prevent the identity thief from causing serious harm to your good name. Get peace of mind with a professional identity theft protection service that monitors your identity 24 hours a day. Compare ID theft protection companies to find the best one for you.Compare Protection Services
Identity theft is when someone else steals the right information about you and does things to make others think he is you. One of the main goals of this crime is to get access to your credit cards, debit cards, and bank account in order to steal from you. Other times identity thieves will open new credit lines in your name, charge them up and then never pay them. And another form of identity theft involves using your social security number to efile federal taxes in order to claim your federal refund before you have had the chance to file.
The anonymous nature of the internet has made it much easier for identity thieves to steal and use your personal information. Many of our interactions these days are linked to a number such as a social security number or credit card number. We are so accustomed to using these numbers that we sometimes are too relaxed in protecting them. This is where the identity thief makes his living… thriving off of your unintentional mistakes in protecting your personal information.
How to Protect Yourself From Identity Theft
You can practice good identity theft protection by taking your own proactive measures to prevent it. The objective is to protect information that is potentially valuable to an identity thief. By being more careful with your sensitive, private information you will make it much harder for a thief to steal your identity. Start implementing these DIY ID theft tips today.
Protecting Your Documents
Shredding your documents is a good way to prevent identity theft from happening to you.
Protecting your documents means safely storing information that is either on paper or in electronic form. It also means destroying paper documents that you no longer need. Don’t let old bills, documents with personal information, credit card statements, and bank statements pile up because this makes them difficult to dispose of properly. Invest in a shredder that destroys documents through a crosscutting fashion. Crosscut keeps a would be identity thief from easily reassembling the shreds.
Securing your Phone Against Identity Theft
So many people these days are carrying around smartphones and iPads. Some use these devices to store all sorts of personal and financial information. Even a traditional cell phone (the non“smart” type) can be of value to an identity thief because of the stored phone numbers.The real danger is when you lose one of these devices and you will at some time in your life.
Any electronic mobile device that you use with sensitive information on it needs to be secured with a password. Check the instructions that came with your electronic devices and follow the instructions for securing them.
Identity Theft Protection and Your Credit Cards
If an identity thief has stolen your credit card number, the obvious indication of this will be when you see fraudulent activity on your credit card statement. Unfortunately, many do not look at their statements closely. Make sure to carefully review your monthly statements and look for any fraudulent charges. If you see a charge that you did not make you should contact your credit card or banking company and notify them of the credit card fraud immediately.
What happens if you lose your wallet? You should only carry the credit cards you need and lock up the other ones. Know which ones you are carrying and have the phone numbers for them in a convenient place. In the event you lose your wallet or purse you will need to contact all of the credit card and banks immediately to let them know.
Always cover your PIN number when purchasing an item at the cash register and using your debit card. Remember that debit cards these days are almost like credit cards except they are linked to your checking account. An identity thief could quickly empty your account with that debit card and your PIN number.
Protecting Your Mail
Most residential mail is unsecured and waiting for you to pick it up when you get home. There is really nothing to stop an identity thief from getting your mail prior to your arrival. Obviously, you should pick up your mail as soon as possible or consider getting a post office box (not everyone you do business with will accept a post office box address). But you should go one step further and track your regular mail from those whom you do business with.
If you find that you are not getting your regular mail then you need to find out why. It could be that an identity thief is grabbing your mail without your knowledge. Never go on vacation without getting a trusted friend to pick up your mail while you are gone. Another option is to ask the postal service to hold your mail at the post office until you return from your trip.
Online Identity Theft Protection
A common way for identity thieves to steal your credit card number, password, and other personal information is through phishing. Phishing is when you are asked through the email to verify some information like your password or credit card number on file. You are directed to a web page that looks exactly like the web page you do business with except it isn’t. Then, identity thieves trap the password and other information you enter and use it.
The best way to tell if a web page is used for phishing is to look at the URL. It should point to the legitimate website of the business it is representing. If you cannot tell that way, then either don’t go to the site or call the company’s support number to express your concern.
Be careful of the websites you visit. Shady websites sometimes introduce spyware which can capture your information. Always create passwords that are difficult to hack by using a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols.On Guard When on the Phone
The final way to protect against identity theft is to never give your credit card number over the telephone unless it was you who called the other company. Always be suspicious if someone calls you to make an offer and asks for your credit card number. You never know who really is on the other end of that telephone line
Have you Considered Identity Theft Protection Services
Taking your own preventative measures is a great start to preventing identity theft in this first place. But in this day in age with our
personal information spread over so many places it’s still possible that an identity thief could get a hold of your information. That is why we recommend that you look into enhanced identity theft protection from a professional provider as well. The two most popular providers are LifeLock and IdentityGuard®
LifeLock® is the most popular identity theft protection provider and many people have seen their commercials on TV or heard them on the radio. Their CEO, Todd Davis, likes to give out his own personal social security number as proof of his belief in the services that his company offers. They provide great coverage at an affordable price. To read more about their service check out our LifeLock Review and if you are planning on ordering you’ll want to make use of our exclusive discount by using our LifeLock promo code.Identity Guard
Next to LifeLock®, Identity Guard also receives top marks for being an all-around excellent identity theft protection service provider. They apply advanced tracking technology to monitor your credit files and provide you with a number of important software enhancements that help keep the personal information in your computer secure. Combined with an excellent reputation and competitive pricing when using the Identity Guard discount, you should be sure to look over our Identity Guard review before choosing a provider
Credit Monitoring Services
Sometimes identity theft protection services are confused with credit monitoring services. Indeed they share a lot of commonalities. Credit monitoring is almost always included in all identity theft protection plans. Some companies like, Experian and Credit Report specialize in only credit monitoring.
Usually credit monitoring does not include all of the additional benefits that some identity theft protection services may include. Things like identity recovery insurance and monitoring databases for your personal information. Still many find credit monitoring to provide exactly what they need. So it is up to you to investigate credit monitoring companies to check and see if they offer what you need.Protect Your Identity Now
The most important thing for you to do is to take action now. Start following the DIY ID theft tips above right away. You may also want to sign up for professional identity theft protection today for the additional peace of mind that it provides.
Reviews of Top Identity Theft Protection & Credit Monitoring Services
Which Service is Right for You?
There are many identity theft protection services that you can use to help you monitor and protect your identity. Our identity theft protection reviews cover: sources monitored, alert system, recovery assistance, ease of use, support, value and any additional tools or services available.
All of these companies provide excellent services and can effectively protect your identity in their own unique way. The most important thing isn’t that you choose a specific organization – it’s that you choose the right one for you and start protecting your identity before it’s too late.
With 5 points of protection emphasized from basic monitoring and scanning to response guarantees and tracking your credit score, your identity and your credit will be protected like never before. With a $1 million insurance policy to protect you if harm does occur, around the clock support, and an extra level of monitoring through payday loans and public records, LifeLock® identity theft protection service includes what it takes to keep your identity out of the hands of criminals.
You deserve the best, and that’s what Identity Force strives to provide you. From credit monitoring to internet monitoring to database deletion, the proactive services that Identity Force provides you with their theft protection plans are the cornerstone of keeping identities safe. Payday loans, public records, and other potential sources of identity theft are also monitored on a daily basis from the online dashboard. If suspicious activities are detected, then you are sent an immediate alert so that you can take action to prevent theft from happening, and you can see this directly on your front page.
Identity Guard utilizes a full feature dashboard for you to be able to access your protection products with one click ease. With plenty of additional features available with every program, Identity Guard covers your identity from your computer, to your bank, to your internet activities with ease. With a 30 day sign-up guarantee and a $1 million insurance policy against identity theft and fraud with every account, you can rest assured that Identity Guard will effectively guard your identity.
TrustedID gives you total vigilance against thieves trying to steal your identity. This is done through IDEssentials, which monitors the internet for potential intrusions on your identity through credit card use, Social Security number scanning, and bank account scanning. With $1 million in redemption protection and easy access to credit locking services to prevent a thief from committing fraud, TrustedID is your source of protection on which you can rely.
ID Watchdog begins the process of protecting your identity by creating a baseline profile. This allows them to see deviations from your baseline and alert you so that you can take proactive interventions if necessary. With an emphasis on preventing financial fraud, you can rest assured that your credit and bank accounts will be full protected. Any program with ID Watchdog comes with a full restoration insurance policy as well, meaning you don’t have to pay anything, no matter what the cost is, to restore your identity.
AllClear ID is an industry leader when it comes to providing affordable identity theft protection. A patented alert system gives you immediate knowledge of an intrusion into your identity and you are protected from intrusion with a $1 million insurance policy. With a free Basic plan available, it literally costs you nothing to start protecting your identity today. You can also include protection for your children, your wallet, your purse, and try out the paid plan for 30 days for free with no risk.
Part of the Experian family of services, ProtectMyID scans over 50 common threats to your identity on a daily basis to help you proactively prevent fraud from happening. Through e-mail and SMS texts, you’ll know if your identity is being bartered around on the black market or if someone is attempting to ruin you financially. With a $1 million insurance policy to assist in a recovery effort, lost wallet protection, and plans for your children too, ProtectMyID covers every part of your identity impeccably.
PrivacyGuard, which is part of the Trilegiant family of services, takes identity theft protection seriously. They monitor the internet around the clock for you to make sure your financial information or identification are not being used in nefarious ways. Should something fraudulent happen, you are protected by an insurance policy that provides up to $1 million in restoration services. Try it for a month for just a dollar and see for yourself if you like it… and if you don’t, then you can cancel and not paying anything else!
IdentityMonitor, which is a part of the Citi group, is a simple and straightforward identity theft protection plan. For $12.95 per month, you get daily monitoring of your credit reports and identity usage with alerts should suspicious activity be discovered. If you suffer harm while under the protection of IdentityMonitor, you also have up to a $25,000 insurance policy to help you with recovery costs.
Profinity provides a 24/7 credit monitoring system that checks your credit reports for inaccuracies, new accounts being opened, and for errors that might be on those reports. They also provide a credit education center that you can access to learn more about what your credit score means to your credit, ways you can improve your credit score, and methods that can help you proactively prevent identity theft from occurring to you.
The Credit Score Watch Plan lets you get your credit score twice per year, while both the Advantage and the Premier Plans from Equifax let you see all three of your credit scores from the major credit reporting agencies once every 12 months. With all 3 plans, you also get unlimited access to your Equifax credit score and around the clock monitoring of your credit reports for key changes that could be indicators of identity theft or credit fraud through an easy to navigate online dashboard. Continue reading the review…How to Compare Identity Protection Services
Protecting yourself against identity theft requires quick interception when someone is trying to use information stolen from you. These companies have all of the resources needed to stay on top of your identity, detect suspicious activity and alert you quickly. Many of these companies also have options to help you recover losses in the event you’re liable for the fraudulent activity of a thief.
There are many companies out there offering identity protection services. So which one should you choose? All of our identity theft protection reviews are based on the following criteria.
Identity theft agencies essentially monitor two sources of information for you: your credit history and your identification usage. By monitoring your credit history, identity theft protection agencies can determine if unauthorized changes have been made to your credit report, which can be an indicator of identity theft. Then, by monitoring the internet for your identification numbers on chat forums, blogs, and other websites, identity theft agencies can determine if your identification has indeed been compromised.
Identity theft agencies have different methods of alerting you to a potential threat to your identity. Many agencies offer text message [SMS] notifications or e-mail notifications as their standard protocol. Standard U.S. mail and phone calls are also common forms of alerting covered customers of a potential identity theft.
If your identity is compromised, you will want to have effective supports in place to make sure that you can get your identity restored quickly and effectively. Many companies market a $1,000,000 insurance policy that helps to cover costs and fees, like legal costs or lost wages. Other agencies offer a “do whatever it takes at whatever cost” approach, while others offer lower dollar amounts in their restoration policy, but have a wider range of covered costs.
Ease of Use
Some identity theft agencies are easier to sign up and use than others are. From online dashboards that give you one click convenience to no interactive tools at all besides website links to information that you can use, today’s identity theft protection agencies run the gambit of giving you very little in tools to giving you almost more than you need.
Additional Tools & Features
To entice you to join, many identity theft protection agencies will offer additional services, with or without fees, that can enhance the protection experience. From assisting with lost wallets and purses to protecting children to anti-virus and malware prevention software, there are many unique opportunities to make your subscription dollar go further than ever.Value
Not only is the price of the plan important, but the value that you get with a plan is important. Just because one company charges more than another doesn’t necessarily mean that the cheaper plan is the best one!
Finally, you will want to choose a company with good support agents and an easily accessible help line that is toll free. When action needs to be taken, there must be no delays in contacting the people and getting the support you need. After all — identity theft can happen at all hours, so supports need to be in place during all hours of the day.
Make Today the Day You Protect Your Identity!
Many of us believe that identity theft is something that happens to other people, but not to us. 8 million people last year thought the same exact thing and became victims of identity theft. Identity theft is an almost $40 billion per year business for criminals, and because it is so lucrative, they are not just going to stop because someone tells them to do so. Use the comparison summaries above to compare the best identity protection services and start protecting your identity today!