So we hear ads about Identity Theft Protection pretty much every day now. But what’s ID Theft Protection, and what is the benefit?
Why should you care?
Because this is happening every day to people you know…causing stress, anxiety, problems at work and with family, and sleepless nights!
First, identity theft is not entirely avoidable, but there are things you can do to protect yourself. An Identity theft protection service can alert you to potential fraud and restore your identity if it gets stolen.
Identity Theft providers do the hard work for you. They do this by searching for your personal information on the dark web, social media, and other databases that can indicate bad actors have your information. Victims who are protected with an Identity theft protection program can turn to recovery advocates. Recovery advocates work for the provider and are specialists in Identity Theft Recovery services. The advocate will take over and complete tasks on behalf of the victim to ensure all concerns and steps are taken care of properly. Many services also offer insurance that can offset legal fees and other expenses related to restoring your identity.
What is identity theft protection?
Identity theft protection services monitor websites and databases for signs of your personal information, such as your social security, driver’s license number, medical ID, and bank account numbers.
When the provider finds your information where it should not be, they will send an alert suggesting a variety of actions. Monitoring will include a variety of places including sources such as, but not limited to:
- Dark web
- *Credit Monitoring
- Social media
- Change of Address Monitoring USPS
- Home Title Changes
- Court Records
- Utility, cable, or wireless services
- Payday loan applications
- Public Records
*Many identity theft protection services also include credit monitoring features. This generally provides notifications when credit is pulled and for changes to your credit report. Changes such as an increase in a credit card balance or a new account opened in your name, can indicate fraud.
And if your information is compromised, identity theft protection services kick in and help you resolve the issue. Most providers also include identity theft insurance, which offers up to $1 million for eligible expenses associated with resolving and restoring your identity, plus assistance from experts.
Buy or not to buy?
Identity theft protection services provide “Peace of Mind with a Place to Turn”. They help you detect fraud early, making it easier to stop the damage before it becomes an even bigger headache. These services are not free but they are a proactive solution to securing your personal information.
Before you sign up for one of these services, take time to understand how these services work to spot fraud and help you restore your identity. Just like in any industry, not all programs are the same. Pay close attention to the Recovery aspect of the service specifically!
Mitigate, Insure against losses, and be a resource when identity theft happens. The peace of mind comes with a nominal fee. Ask your employer if they offer Identity Theft Protection as an employee benefit!