The best Identity Theft Protection service can help keep your identity safe and reduce the risk of fraud or theft if your sensitive information is compromised. These identity protection services monitor your credit files and personal data to notify you of fraudulent or suspicious activity. There are different ways you could be a victim of ID theft, whether it’s stolen credit card data or social security numbers. And resolving it can be a big headache, especially if you don’t realize it until months or years later.
Signing up for the best identity theft protection service will help detect potential fraud early enough, protect your identity and support you in the restoration of your identity. The best service also comes with an identity theft insurance service that helps you recoup some of the expenses incurred as you resolve identity theft. From reasons why you need to protect your identity to features you should look out for when choosing the best identity protection service and identity theft insurance, this article explains everything you need to know about identity theft protection.
Are You At Risk Of Identity Theft?
Identity theft can be time-consuming, stressful, and expensive for victims. Today, sharing personal information with colleagues or other people has become part of our daily life. It happens when looking for a new job, taking out an insurance policy, or applying for a debit or credit card. There are many instances when you willingly give companies sensitive information like social security number, date of birth, name, and more.
Since there are many instances when you share sensitive data with others, it’s natural to be concerned about the safety of the information you share. And there’s a good reason for you to be concerned. Although the definition of identity theft is pretty broad, research shows that about 30% of American adults reported being victims of identity theft.
Essentially, anyone can be a victim of ID theft. However, the elderly, children, and college students are often targeted. In the digital age we are living in today, where we pay bills, socialize, shop, and bank online, our personal information is everywhere.
In light of these issues, you must take all the necessary steps in order to protect your sensitive data from fraudsters. But do you keep a watchful eye for identity theft on your own or pay for identity theft protection services? There are costs and benefits to consider with every approach.
Identity theft protection helps detect ID theft immediately it happens, ultimately mitigating all your damages. Also, you need identity theft protection for theft insurance, with 24/7 support incase your identity is stolen and reimbursements of up to $1 million. Considering that there were more than 650,000 cases of identity theft reported to the Federal Trade Commission in the year 2009, this is a common issue, so it’s better to ensure you’re safe than sorry!
ID Theft Is More Common Than You Think
Wondering how common is identity theft? Well, the Federal Trade Commission Consumer Sentinel Network received over 650,000 reports of identity theft. Unfortunately, credit card fraud is the most common type of ID theft, with more than 271,000 reports. Technically, credit card fraud cases increased by a whopping 88% from 2018, an alarming number. Out of all credit card fraud victims, 10% lost money with an average loss of about $700.
Why is ID theft on the rise? In reference to the Identity Theft Resource Center, there was a 17% rise in the number of reported ID theft cases than the previous year. This means about 34 million people were exposed. This includes their passwords and usernames. Unfortunately, identity thieves don’t seem to be going away any time soon, nor are lost wallets or phishing scans, all ways that hackers can find your sensitive details. It’s for this reason why you need identity theft protection.
As mentioned earlier, identity theft affects about 3 out of 10 Americans every year. According to Javelin’s identity fraud survey in 2020, 13 million Americans were victims of identity fraud back in 2019, with total fraud losses of almost $17 billion. Also, preliminary data show that 2020 might have seen an increased rise in ID theft, something that has been attributed to covid-19.
According to the Federal Trade Commission ID theft report data, almost all categories of ID theft rose significantly in the third quarter of 2020 than the third quarter of 2019. In the Experian holiday survey of 1000 users, about 24% of the participants said they had been victims of fraud or identity theft during holidays, which was twice the number of participants who reported fraud or identity theft in the 2019 survey.
According to GVB’s 2020 identity theft report, the rise of identity theft cases has started dampening consumer’s trust that companies will keep their sensitive data safe. The report also noted that more people are transacting online today, especially during the coronavirus pandemic. A third of consumers conducting transactions online are over 75 years old. Nevertheless, despite the increased cases of identity theft and other cybersecurity threats, most businesses aren’t prioritizing security on their sites where consumers conduct these transactions; instead, most of them focus on ease of use.
Moreover, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, phishing attempts pose more risk to your identity. Phishing attempts are suspicious emails, which fool users into sharing sensitive data on fake portals. Another common technique of identity theft is to use malware to attack computer networks or mobile devices to steal data, but this type can be halted with the best antivirus program.
Although ID theft protection services cannot prevent identity theft or data breach, they can monitor your financial accounts and any other information available on the Internet, like on social media. Furthermore, identity theft protection services provide three-bureau credit reports to help monitor any activity on your credit card. Depending on the data the service monitors, an identity theft protection service notifies you if someone is trying to steal your identity. You can then contact the financial institution with instructions on what they should do to limit the damage the cybercriminal can do.
How To Protect Your Identity
Protecting your identity is vital to keeping your sensitive data safe. Always remain vigilant in protecting sensitive details like your bank account passwords and logins, PIN, and Social Security number. Furthermore, always be very careful with all sensitive paper documents; you can shred the papers or choose to use paperless statements. Technically, you should not share valuable information with other people and ensure all vital records are locked in a secure safe. Following are more tips and advice you can follow to protect your identity.
- Regularly review your credit report for new accounts you haven’t opened or other suspicious transactions. Consumers are entitled to one free credit report from a credit card company every year.
- If a “bank representative” calls you requesting payment details – never provide them. This is because banks do not just call you without you asking them to contact you. Instead, hang up and call the bank to confirm if it was them.
- If you lose your debit or credit card, report it to the credit bureau immediately. Also, you should regularly check your accounts for any suspicious transactions. The best way to monitor your account is by setting up alerts on your Internet banking account.
- Don’t use the same passwords or usernames on multiple accounts.
That said, the best way to protect your identity is through the best identity theft protection service, which ensures your identity is always protected.
The Best Identity Theft Protection Services
You can easily become overwhelmed with the wide variety of identity theft protection options available. This is because most of the companies in this niche provide the same type of service. Nevertheless, there are features that stand out in some of the best identity theft protection services, so it’s important to take a closer look at each of them to see which provides the features you need most. If you’re finding it hard to choose the identity theft protection service to trust with safeguarding your identity, the tips below will help. Also, you can check out our identity theft protection reviews to find the best identity protection services for your needs.
How Do Identity Protection Services Work?
ID theft protection works in a simple way. After you’ve signed up and paid for the service, you’ll be asked to verify your identity with a few straightforward multiple-choice questions. You’ll then be asked to enter your personal information. After entering your personal details: name, email, bank account information, drivers license number, Social Security number, phone number, home address, and the like, you’ll be asked to set up alerts so that you can receive alerts whenever the Identity protection service detects your information where it should not be.
The service does this via artificial intelligence software that scans areas both online and offline for your information. If you receive any notification, you can check to see exactly what’s happening in the app. Also, you can speak to an identity restoration expert if you need to. If your identity gets stolen while on a paid subscription, the identity theft protection companies reimburse you up to $1 million. Following are some of the features you’ll find at the best identity protection services:
The credit monitoring service module notifies you if there are any changes to your credit information. In case there’s a new account that appears on your credit report or your score drops, the credit monitoring service will notify you. Credit monitoring helps you detect:
- Adjustments in your credit score
- Adjustments on your credit reports with Experian, TransUnion, or Equifax
- Someone uses your name to open fraudulent credit accounts
- Credit card applications or authorized load using your personal details
- Changes in the account balances or credit limits on your credit reports
You can then research whether changes in your credit information are fraudulent or valid and take the necessary action.
Tri Bureau Credit Monitoring
This makes it easier for you to monitor your credit reports through the three main bureaus – TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax. It also provides you with a broader outlook on your credit score. You might not get the same score across all three credit bureaus, mainly because each might have a different scoring model. Fortunately, you’ll find this service at the best identity theft protection companies. And we strongly recommend it.
This is another great form of reactive protection offered by the best identity theft protection companies. The identity-monitoring module notifies you about potential issues you would not necessarily see on your credit report. For instance, the identity-monitoring feature might find your stolen information for sale on the dark web. ID theft protection service may detect issues like:
- Personal details on the dark web
- Unauthorized loan applications using your stolen personal information
- Attempts to steal your existing bank accounts or credit cards
- Court records showing crimes that have been falsely reported
- Changes of address request
Another great feature you should watch out for is the dedicated support for a speedy recovery process. Check out whether the ID theft protection service you are interested in offers access to a specialist or counselor who will help through the process of getting in touch with attorneys and credit agencies and completing all the paperwork to retrieve your identity.
ID theft insurance might cover the costs of retrieving your identity after your identity is stolen. Repairing damages caused by identity theft could be expensive. For instance, Javelin reported that the overall cost of ID fraud in 2019 was $16.9 billion. However, you should understand that identity theft insurance might not cover as much as you want. For instance, if a criminal steals money from your bank account, the ID theft policy may not pay for the loss. Keep in mind that you’re legally entitled to dispute unauthorized debit card and credit card transactions. If you immediately report fraudulent transactions, you will not be liable to pay for these transactions.
Are Identity Theft Protection Services Worth It?
Identity theft is among the top consumer complaints in the United States. Although nothing can stop ID theft, identity theft protection services can help. They monitor aspects of your financial life and detect signs of identity theft for a small fee. The basic ID theft protection plans let you access your credit reports and score.
On the other hand, the most complex identity theft protection services alert you of any suspicious activities on your credit cards, debit cards, or bank accounts. Are Identity Theft Protection Services Worth It? Yes, but some ID protection services are better than others. The most important thing you should do before you sign up for anything is to check through our identity theft protection reviews. We’ve tested the best fraud prevention services, so you do not have to waste your money and time.
Identity Theft Insurance
Identity theft insurance covers the costs associated with identity theft. In essence, identity theft insurance reimburses victims for all money they’ve spent repairing their credit report and retrieving their financial identities. Some identity theft insurance policies cover time lost at eldercare, childcare, or work. Keep in mind that it doesn’t cover lost funds. Remember to check the identity theft protection service company’s terms and conditions to understand what their ID theft insurance covers. Some of the costs covered by most of the identity theft protection services include:
- Legal fees
- Postage and notary fees
- Credit application fees
- Child care
- Lost wages
- Other financial institution fees
Furthermore, identity theft insurance is different from renters or homeowners insurance. Although you can purchase identity theft coverage and cyber insurance from your renters or homeowners insurance company, the benefits of these policies vary based on their T&Cs. You can typically purchase ID theft insurance from a credit card company, identity theft protection service, or an insurance company. However, we recommend buying from an identity theft protection service because they offer ID insurance coverage as a service and not just as an add-on, as it’s the case with insurance and credit card companies.
Credit Monitoring as a Way to Protect Your ID
Credit monitoring is an effective way to know of any changes to your credit reports. This helps address any suspicious activity on time and reduce damage by identity thieves. If you don’t regularly monitor your credit cards, criminals could easily open new accounts or use your credit details for months without you knowing. Nowadays, your digital data is everywhere; therefore, credit monitoring is all about financial due diligence. Carefully monitoring your credit with an identity theft protection service or credit protection service is a crucial step to curbing identity theft.
Credit monitoring service sends you credit alerts if adjustments are made to your credit score or reports. This makes it easier for you to check your accounts for any fraudulent transactions. While credit monitoring will not stop identity theft, the sooner you find out that your credit has been compromised, the easier it will be to quickly freeze your account to prevent the thief from doing more damage to your credit. You can then file a report and start the process of recovering your financial identity. As you can see, credit protection plays a significant role in helping reduce damage to your credit and restore your reputation.
You can register for credit protection through any of the three credit bureaus, including TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian. Each bureau offers a credit alert service. Also, different identity theft protection companies provide credit-monitoring services. The services send you credit alerts if new loans or credit cards are registered under your name. You’ll receive credit alerts via email or text of adjustments to your credit, including bankruptcy filings, foreclosures, liens, late payments, and address changes. Because we are all exposed to identity theft, there’s no doubt everyone could benefit from credit monitoring.