Identity theft or Identity fraud is a dangerous situation that many people find themselves in. While identity theft complaints have decreased by 3 %, it is still a pervasive crime that is estimated to affect over 9 million Americans per year. It can happen to anyone, and no one is immune to it and can have a grave impact on your future. To better understand this concept, let’s explore some of the best solutions for this problem.
What Precisely is Identity Theft?
It is when your details are taken and used without your consent for financial gain. Your identity credentials or rather private identification data are all the information such as your full name, social security number, birth date, credit card numbers, home address and more that identify you.
Recovering your lost identity can be a daunting and grueling process. So, to reduce your chances of becoming a victim of personality theft, it’s vital to equip yourself with proactive and preventive measures including identity theft prevention and credit monitoring services. The identity theft prevention services are in high demand, and everyone needs to sign up for these services.
How Identity Theft Protection Services Safeguard Your Identity?
Identity theft prevention providers cannot shield you from becoming a victim of identity theft. Proactive identity theft protection is difficult, and no single service can adequately shield your data from theft. Therefore, it is essential to take some preventive or precautionary measures to reduce identity theft cases.
Primary Services of Identity Theft Protection Provides
Here is why you need Identity Theft Protection:
The Identity theft protection companies’ primary function is to help supervise your identity and credit data.
The two basic categories of monitoring solutions that identity theft protection providers offer include monitoring credit and identity services.
1. Credit Information Monitoring
Identity theft protection companies’ provide credit monitoring services where they track unusual activities on the credit reports generated by either one or all of the leading credit bureaus. These bureaus include Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian. The identity theft services providers alert you if:
- Your name is used to open a new debt and credit card request.
- A firm request for the credit report and history.
- A lender claims you have a delayed payment.
- There is a change in your credit limits.
- Records in public domain indicate that you have a bankruptcy filed.
- You have a legal suit filed not in your favor.
- Your credentials such as your name, phone number or address change.
The credit monitoring main aim is to warn you of any credit report activity that appears suspicious, though in most cases, the identity theft may go unnoticed.
2. Financials Monitoring
Identity theft and fraud may go undetected even when you watch your credit details, though any unusual activities on your credit report is a big sign of potential identity theft. Most identity theft protectors also watch other financials details including credit cards, bank accounts, and search for any loan or credit requests that imposters are using faking your identity.
3. Personal information Monitoring
Good identity theft Protection Company will also look into your social security number to ensure that nobody is using it apart from you. Some other providers will also follow your public records, medical records, and driver’s license or look for any address change that you may have never authorized.
4. Offer security software to guard your computer
Hacking is one way of stealing personal data. A number of the known identity theft protection providers will offer you antivirus for your PC to prevent hacking. The antivirus will include features such as encrypted details for bank sites logins and anti-keylogging programs to protect you.
1. Identity Recovery
The purpose of an identity theft recovery is to assist you to reclaim your status control and financials after an identity fraud occurs. Professional analysts or case handlers help you in a step-by-step process of recovering your identity. They can help you generate letters that you can send to lenders and loan collectors, create a credit report freeze to prevent anyone else from opening accounts using your name and also advice you the documents that you need to review. A few service providers will also act as your representatives to help deal with your creditors or any other institution if you officially grant them the right to work for you.
2. Identity insurance
A majority of identity theft prevention services offer identity theft insurance services as well. The insurance company covers only personal expenses from your pocket that associate directly with restoring your identities such as postage, printing, making copies and other solicitor costs. In a few cases, the payments might also include wages lost or legal charges. The insurance cover does not compensate any money stolen or any financial loss that you may have incurred from the personality theft situation.
Deductibles, plus limitation and exclusions, may apply as it happens with an insurance policy. It’s also good to note that most insurance policies don’t reimburse you if your renter’s or homeowner’s insurance cover it. It is essential to ask for the terms and policies copy of the company.
How Can You Protect Yourself From Identity Theft?
Another course of action besides the use of the identity theft protection companies include taking personal measures and utilizing other free resources like the government resources.
Below is a list of Preventive and Proactive Measures to Reduce Identity Theft
Here are a few of the measures that you can take to prevent identity theft:
- First, you can consider getting subscribed to an identity theft protection service. Several companies offer identity protection solutions to help you if you fall victim to identity theft.
- Keep all your sensitive documents in a safe place and make a few copies of your credit cards, ID cards, and all other personal documents that you keep in your wallet.
- Unsubscribe from junk emails with open credit card offers or prescreened offers of credit and insurance.
- While using online services, use strong passwords that nobody can manage to guess like a random combination of unique character, letters and numbers work best.
- Protect your computer with anti-spyware and anti-virus software and ensure they are up to date.
- Do not reveal any personal information to unverified sources or insecure websites.
- Monitor your credit frequently even up to 4 times a year to check for suspicious or incorrect information like a substantial or unexplained change in credit score and place fraud alerts on your account for greater protection.
- Shred personal documents before throwing them away including mail, credit card, bank statements, and even receipts.
- Freeze and lock your credit account in all the major credit bureaus. It limits any pass to your files, and so no one can open new credit accounts until the account is unfrozen. You will have to pay a small freezing fee for your credit, which usually varies by state.
- Have a limit to the amount of information you share in social media personal profile pages
- Be careful when doing shopping in different stores and hide your credit or debit card.
- Create long passwords on your mobile devices and also use the two-factor identification when available. Switch off your Bluetooth when not in use. When using a public Wi-Fi, be careful since others may be able to access your data and don’t download free apps, since they may contain malware.
- Monitor and read health insurance claims, credit card, and bank statements.
- Visit the IdentityTheft.gov website if you are sure that you’ve been an identity theft victim, or if the personal credentials have been exposed or stolen.
What is IdentityTheft.gov?
IdentityTheft.gov website is a free government’s collective resource that helps with identity theft and fraud reports and recovery. The gov website offers you a personal and an interactive plan of improvement customized to your identity theft issues. IdentityTheft.gov has a collection of recovery plans for more than 30 types of identity theft, including tax-related identity theft and identity theft involving a child’s information. It guides you in recovery steps such as:
- Gathers letters that are pre-filled, forms, and affidavits that you mail to the debt collectors, credit reporting agencies, enterprises, and the Internal Revenue Service.
- Adjusting to your dynamic needs, offer follow-up notices, and assist you to trail the progress.
- Assist with the steps to follow when a breach of particular data impacts you.
Where Can You Get Identity Theft Prevention Services?
4 Examples of Identity Theft Prevention services and their features
Some of the Best Identity Theft Prevention Services include:
It’s the single service that lets you get monthly updates about your credit score. Lifelock offers essential monitoring services, and it’s an identity theft protection company that can unsubscribe you from all junk lists of mail and monitor your extensive information including your driver’s license number and address changes. Lifelock offers a trial period free for 30 days.
IdentityForce provides the extensive identity theft programs for a family with their Child Watch add-on at an affordable fee. It charges only $18/month for protection for you and all your children and is ideal for people with huge families. IdentityForce usually monitors all of your financial information, such as social security details and all financial accounts. It offers a 14-day free trial.
- Identity Guard
Identity Guard provides a robust identity theft prevention services including credit monitoring and protection for the credit reports from the three credit bureaus, software for computer protection, and encryption software and supervision of the public records and online financial tools. It charges almost the same rate as Lifelock.
- Credit Sesame
Credit Sesame is an excellent provider to those who are unwilling to give out their information of the credit card to acquire identity theft prevention. It’s 100% free. It makes a monthly credit score updates and monitors your suspicious activities on your credit report. Credit Sesame is a perfect choice if you want an open and straightforward identity theft protection solution.